Chicago-bred producer and artist SqueakPIVOT has died at the age of 26 from a fatal shooting.
A representative for Pivot Gang, the hip-hop collective, which joined the aforementioned talent with Saba, Chilliams, MFnMelo, daedaePIVOT, and Squeak’s older brother Frsh Waters, confirmed the loss to Pitchfork.
According to Chicago-based news platform The Triibe, on Tuesday morning (Aug. 17) the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified Squeak, born Javunte Wheeler, as the second victim in a fatal shooting that took place the night before. Associates of the producer confirmed the news to the outlet that same night. Squeak’s uncle, 27-year-old Darion S. Hood, also died in the event. Both victims had gunshot wounds to the body and were transported to a local hospital before being pronounced dead.
During an interview on TRiiBE TV’s online show We Real Chicago in September of 2020, Squeak shared how his brother, Frsh Waters, encouraged him to join Pivot Gang and get into music and how he began making beats and DJ’ing to pass time while legally restricted to his home.
“I make beats and I DJ. I made beats because I needed something to do while I was on house arrest. I just started making beats with gang [Saba and Dae Dae],” Squeak recalled to the show’s host Rome J. “I got into DJ-ing because my homies ain’t have no DJ. Like Walt, I was the first person to DJ for him.”
He added, “I DJ’d for all of them. They ain’t have DJs, so I said f**k it. I’ll just teach myself how to DJ and then I started getting booked.”
In June, Squeak and crew member MFnMelo released En Route. The project follows Pivot Gang’s 2019 album You Can’t Sit With Us, which featured a heavy roster of midwest talent including Mick Jenkins, Jean Deaux, Kari Faux, and Femdot alongside the resident gang.
“I’m about to release my first body of work outside of the Pivot album. I just got through shooting my first video…I’ma be rapping,” Squeak said of the project during the TRiiBE TV interview. “I ain’t on no P. Diddy sh*t neither. I won’t be dancing. I’ma lowkey ni**a and I like being low key.”
Unfortunately, Squeak is not the first member of Pivot Gang to lose their life to violence. At the age of 24, founding member John Walt, born Walter E. Long Jr., who also performed under the moniker dinnerwithjohn, was killed after being stabbed during an altercation in February 2017. Kevin Alexander was later arrested on two counts of murder.
In 2019, Pivot Gang performed John Walt Day, an annul tribute concert, as part of the Red Bull Music Festival in Chicago in his honor. His mother, Nachelle Pugh, founded the John Walt Foundation to “support inner-city artists” by providing them with resources and mentorship.
Tributes to the musician rang out on social media from his peers, friends, family, and fans. Squeak is survived by his brothers, Frsh Waters and Jaw, daughter, Zhuri, and other family members.
VIBE sends our condolences to Squeak’s family, friends, and fans.
Rest in power Squeak.
Love to all of Pivot Gang.
— Thelonious Martin (@KingThelonious) August 17, 2021
God bless squeak and every one that loves him Great man ?
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) August 17, 2021
Rest in Heaven Squeak. Pivot Gang my whole heart witchu family
— Young Purple ? (@JoeyPurps) August 17, 2021
Rest In Peace Squeak. Truly a great person.
My love goes out to Pivot Gang, his friends and family. ?? ?
— Andrew Barber (@fakeshoredrive) August 17, 2021
Mannnnn……RIP Squeak. Omg. Prayers to the family.
— Sángo (@SangoBeats) August 17, 2021
I took this the night I met squeak. I told him I managed some artists and he as always showed the most love and immediately threw their music into the set he was doing. pic.twitter.com/C0hWol3S4C
— PJ Gordon (@ThePhlashGordon) August 17, 2021
Listen to SqueakPIVOT and MFnMelo’s album En Route below: