Rapper 23 Rackz has been fatally gunned down in the Southeast section of his hometown of Washington D.C. The budding rapper, born Justin Johnson, was 16 years old. The shooting, which occurred last week, comes as those close to him say they were attempting to move him from D.C. to Georgia, but according to his father, the hold of the streets proved to be too strong.
“Nobody could get him to stay off the streets,” his father, Michael Johnson, told FOX 5 News. “It takes a lot to get a kid out of that setting.” Johnson, who had minimal knowledge of his late son’s burgeoning rap career, says he couldn’t bear to listen to his music after hearing it for the first time following his death.
“I heard a rap, one of his raps for the first time the other day,” she shared. “I didn’t even want to listen to it because I wanted him to go to school. He said, ‘I got one foot in and one foot out,’ in one of these raps, and, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ ‘Cause they were saying, ‘Justin come with us,’ his managers and them, ‘Come with us, you’ve got to put that behind you.’ But he said no, no. I’m better off right here.”
He continued, adding, “I’d go to work, and he’d be gone when I come home. So we had a relationship of me trying to get him off the streets and him thinking, once he got money off his hands, he was gone. And as far as guns on the street, he had been arrested one time for a gun, but D.C. won’t hold those kids. I begged the judges, P.O., keep him. Just keep him. But the next day, he was home. It’s so easy for these kids to get guns, it really is.”
Jamesa Hall, the rapper’s older sister, spoke glowingly of her younger sibling but touched on the cruel comments made online after his death in response to his lifestyle. “It’s hard to see on social media that you know, he’s really gone and I see a lot of comments on social media saying like, ‘Oh well he was in the streets at 16 and he didn’t go to school, and this and that.’ He was an honor roll student,” said Hall. “They skipped him a grade. Like he was street smart and book smart. He was well before his time.”
“A lot of people have different perceptions of him, but at the end of the day, with us at home, he was just a regular 16-year-old. It was never 23 Rackz in the house.”
No suspects have been arrested and no motive for Rackz’s murder has been revealed by the police. A candlelight vigil for the public to pay their respects to 23 Rackz is planned for this Friday (June 3) at 6:30 p.m. at Savannah Terrace and 23th St. in Southeast D.C., the same interaction where the shooting occurred.