Lor Scoota was killed shortly after hosting a charity event in his hometown of Baltimore. At age 23, he had emerged as one of the few Bmore rappers with a chance of making it out.
Yet another inspiring young artist has been taken too soon. Yesterday (June 25) at around 7PM, 23-year-old Tyriece Watson, aka Lor Scoota, was fatally shot while driving in his hometown of Baltimore. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:30PM. Just minutes before the shooting, Scoota had been at Morgan State University, where he hosted a charity basketball event called "Touch the People: Pray for Peace In These Streets."
Admittedly, I was not aware of Scoota's music, though going off the many posthumous essays and tributes that have already been written in his honor, it seems like he was one of the most popular rappers in Baltimore, a city that rarely gets any industry attention. Because of the city's isolation -- countered with his impoverished upbringing, Scoota was forced to build a sound and movement from the ground up. Everything about his music was reflective of his hometown -- the place that, tragically, ended up taking his life.
Scoota was most known for his 2014 hit "Bird Flu" and its accompanying dance. He enlisted DMV rapper Shy Glizzy for the "Bird Flu" remix, which has accumulated almost 2 million plays on SoundCloud. He is credited as being one of the first artists to bring the dance-ready sounds of Baltimore club music into street-oriented hip-hop, an approach that has been taken by rappers like Tate Kobang, perhaps Baltimore's leading rap artist at the moment.
T.J. Smith, the chief spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department, remarked that there is an "eerie irony" about the timing of Scoota's killing "that should just absolutely tick us all off." As mentioned, Scoota was targeted just after he had led a rally for peace.
"There are many that are going to scrutinize the lyrics in his songs and some of the activity he might've been involved in in the past, but the reality is he's a victim, and there's a murderer on the street," Smith said. "A lot of young people knew him and looked up to him, and whatever he might've been doing in the past, it appears he was doing some things to change his life and use those experiences to help empower other young people in our city of Baltimore."
Many well-known rappers, including Meek Mill, The Game, Tate Kobang, Shy Glizzy, and Yo Gotti, have gone on social media to pay their respects to Scoota and express their grievances, as have former Ravens WR Torrey Smith and Baltimore-hailing Nuggets guard Will Barton.
Earlier today, a large crowd took over a major intersection in Baltimore in an effort to protest his killing. Speakers were set up at the opposite corner, blasting Lor Scoota's music. R.I.P.