Lil Lonnie was not much for the street life, with the 22-year-old rapper saying he wanted to focus more on making music and caring for his ailing father.
But violence caught up with the Mississippi rapper this week, as he was shot and killed while driving in a car in his native Jackson. The up-and-coming rapper, whose real name is Lonnie Taylor, spoke often about his desire to take care of his family and to stay away from the violence that he often saw growing up. As the Clarion Ledger noted, Lil Lonnie took over in taking care of his family, especially his father, after the death of his mother.
When asked by an interviewer where he got the money to put up a billboard in Jackson as he was looking to get signed, Lonnie said he wasn’t being sucked in by the fast money he could make on the streets.
“What are you doing, selling drugs or some sh-t?” the interviewer asked.
“I don’t do none of that,” Taylor responded, and later said, “I’ve got morals that I stand by.”
Lil Lonnie often lamented the violent life that seduces many other young men in his situation. In a 2016 interview with DJ Smallz, Taylor said there was sometimes little else for those in Jackson do to make a living.
“There’s nothing… nothing to do. Nothing but a whole bunch of robbing,” Lil Lonnie said. “Everybody’s just, I mean that’s all it is, just robbing and killing and all this, that’s all that’s going on.”
And the Mississippi rapper was determined to maintain his morals. In a 2016 interview about his breakthrough track “Change Up,” Lil Lonnie said he did not want to let his newfound fame or money change anything about him.
“You know when somebody gets a little bit of money that they didn’t have before then they start acting differently? No matter now much money or fame I get, it won’t change the person that I am,” he told Billboard.
That has made Lil Lonnie’s death that much more tragic. After reports of his murder spread early this week, many fans took to social media to mourn a promising life cut down short. Condolences also came in from across the music world, including rappers LL Cool J and Juicy J.
Police said there is no suspect in the murder of Lil Lonnie, and they are asking for anyone with information about his slaying to contact the Jackson Police Department.