The son of Drakeo the Ruler filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday against Live Nation and others over his fatal backstage stabbing in December at a Los Angeles music festival, seeking $60 million in damages over the rapper’s “completely preventable” death.
The lawsuit, announced last week, claims Live Nation and two other organizers could have prevented Drakeo’s “unnecessary and untimely murder” if it had employed sufficient security at the Once Upon a Time in LA Music Festival.
The rapper’s “lynching and eventual death” was the result of “a complete and abject failure of all defendants to implement proper safety measures in order to ensure the safety and well-being of the artists,” the family’s attorneys wrote.
Notably, the lawsuit made pointed reference to rapper YG, who was also scheduled to perform at the festival. The lawsuit said he was a member of the Bloods street gang and had an “ongoing public feud” with Drakeo – meaning the organizers should have been better prepared for trouble.
“While there is no evidence to indicate that YG had anything to do with the events that would lead to Mr. Caldwell’s murder…, it was clear that other members of the Bloods gang may take issue with him,” attorneys for the family wrote, referring to Drakeo’s legal name Darrell Caldwell. “It was widely known that members of the Bloods gang were actively targeting Mr. Caldwell following his acquittal.”
The acquittal referenced in the lawsuit occurred in 2019, when Drakeo was cleared on murder charges over the death a reported member of the Bloods.
A representative for YG did not immediately return a request for comment.
Earlier Story From Jan. 27:
Family members of rapper Drakeo the Ruler said Thursday (Jan. 27) they would file a wrongful death lawsuit against Live Nation and others over his fatal backstage stabbing last month at a Los Angeles music festival.
The lawsuit, which has not yet been filed, will the accuse concert giant Live Nation and two other festival organizers of failing to provide sufficient security in the lead up to the attack at the Once Upon a Time in LA Music Festival, which left the up-and-coming L.A. rapper dead at the age of 28. The family’s attorneys said the case would be filed next week and seek at least $20 million in damages.
At the time of his death, Drakeo was stepping up as a prolific artist and had released five music projects since 2020. His most recent was a 17-track mixtape, titled The Truth Hurts, featuring Drake on the chilled-out song “Talk to Me.”
In a press conference announcing the case, family attorney James Bryant said Drakeo, whose real name was Darrell Caldwell, had been “essentially lynched” because there had not been enough precautions taken to protect him.
“His life was taken way too soon,” Bryant said, adding that Drakeo had “no security” and that physical barricades had been insufficient. “This should never have never happened if those promotors had actually had the proper security protocols. This was a preventable death.”
A criminal investigation by local prosecutors into who is directly responsible for the murder is ongoing, Bryant said, but “those who failed Drakeo the Ruler, they’re going to be held accountable.”
When reached for comment, a spokeswoman for Live Nation referred Billboard to a statement from festival organizers: “Once Upon a Time in LA joins Drakeo’s family, friends, and fans in grieving his loss. The festival is continuing to support local authorities in their investigation as they pursue the facts.”
The lawsuit will also name C3 Presents, a subsidiary of Live Nation, as well as Bobby Dee Presents. A spokeswoman for Bobby Dee Presents did not immediately return a request for comment.
Drakeo had been scheduled to perform on Dec. 18 at Once Upon a Time, but was stabbed around 8:30 pm amid a large fight backstage. The melee was captured on video, which was displayed by the family’s attorneys on Thursday. The rapper was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but he later died from his injuries.
The event was also expected to feature such artists as Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Ice Cube, YG and The Game, but was shut down after Drakeo’s death.