I was originally tasked to do a review of the Pro Era mixtape that just dropped, and that’s still coming. But midway through writing it, I began to hear rumblings of one of the members taking his life. Initially, I thought nothing of it and just continued to write, but as the story finally tumbled out on every news outlet from MTV to Complex (to AllHipHop.com, of course), it became clear that something terrible had happened… and it was an instantly sobering moment, where the important things came into focus, more now than ever.
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My first time ever hearing Capital STEEZ rap was on Joey Bada$$’ “Survival Tactics.” Being that I was already impressed with Joey and the Pro Era crew, I honestly began to wonder who would be the weakest link in the team (because that’s what we do! We compare, lol). After hearing his verse, I didn’t think it was STEEZ, exactly, but I still had my doubts. I felt his talent was raw, but I didn’t know enough to formulate an opinion on him.
That turned out to be a good thing, because after playing the aPROcalypse project and hearing his verses, he impressed me the most, arguably more than the lead man himself. It was refreshing, and the chemistry he had with the other members was notable in its own right, to me. And literally, as I’m still amazed to what I’m listening to (but honestly, still not quite comprehending that I stumbled onto someone great and brimming with talent), I read the note from Statik Selektah.
Capital STEEZ was dead via rumored suicide, on Christmas Eve of all days.
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The horrific event should matter, not the date, I know. But I also know that anything can happen to anyone at any time; Newtown can attest to that, and so can Chicago if you’ve been paying attention… But even still, the fact is that the consumerism side of Christmas is themed around giving. It truly messed me up that after finding a member of a team that I was beginning to rock with, it’s done. Over before it began. That gift I had discovered while perusing music had a depressingly somber string attached. All of the potential, just… Dead.
From a musical standpoint, it’s one of the worst feelings I’ve had since I began writing for AllHipHop.com, because it hits too close to home.
I’ve been in the same unfortunate situation, where someone close to me did the same thing. It puzzled me to the core, and all I could think of to answer my questions… were more questions. How could I have been there? How I could’ve prevented that from taking place? How could I have stopped it? Were there signs? Was he trying to tell me? How in the hell did I miss it? How come I never really told him how much I appreciated him?
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But with that being said, there’s no way to know how those connected to him feel right now. Statements don’t do it justice, and everyone reacts differently to things like this. Words can’t convey exactly what was lost, but maybe it can help us to understand that now’s as good of a time as ever to let people know you love them. What’s the point of places roses by tombstones when you have a chance to just hand it to them?
As a culture, we have a tendency to take things for granted. We make assumptions on the daily that when children go to school, they’ll be safe. We automatically think that a quick late night run to Taco Bell won’t end in us being injured or killed in a car crash, but instead with us plopping back down in front of our TVs to watch SportsCenter and wait for a Josina Anderson sighting (maybe that’s just me). Thankfully for a lot of us, we have a chance to eliminate some of those assumptions and be more appreciative over the course of the holiday season, especially to the ones we care about. Some people won’t get that courtesy, and that in itself should be the wake-up call to do better.
As for the Pro Era crew and everyone else affected by this… again, words can’t really put into focus how I feel about this. I hope it means something when I say that I’m truly praying for you all. I wish nothing but the best.
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Rest in Peace, Capital STEEZ.