By: SlausonGirl (@slausongirl)
Since the murder of rapper Drakeo The Ruler a few months ago, Tianna Purtue has been left with the burden of trying to get their 5-year-old son to understand that his father is never coming back.
Drakeo The Ruler, born Darrell Caldwell, 28, was set to perform at the Once Upon A Time in L.A festival on December 18th, 2021, when he found himself involved and outnumbered in a melee before he could hit the stage.
The incident happened in an alleyway adjacent to the Banc of California Stadium in South Central near the University of Southern California (USC).
There are currently no suspects in custody for his death.
The Cochran Firm filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Drakeo’s son, Caiden. C3 Presents, The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), Jeff Shuman, Live Nation, and Bobby Dee Presents were named in the lawsuit.
Drakeo The Ruler’s murder questions the measures taken by venues to ensure the safety of both talent and patrons at large rap concerts.
Ten people were killed one month before Drakeo’s death after attending Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival in Texas.
His death also highlights the trend of violence that surrounds African-American rappers in the U.S. This energy not only cuts short the lives and artistic expression of these Black rappers – but it also threatens to affect the healthy development of their loved ones who also are traumatized by their murders – especially the children they leave behind.
AllHipHop: How have you been coping during this time?
Tianna Purtue: It has been hard, honestly because I just think of Caiden. My main concern is him. He will see me crying and ask, “Mommy are you ok?” And I don’t want to cry in front of him so I’ll say, “yeah I’m just thinking.” Then he’ll ask me what I was thinking about. When I’m thinking, I’m like, wow, he’s five. How many times am I going to have to repeat this before he actually understands ok, my dad is really not coming back.
AllHipHop: How Did You Meet Drakeo The Ruler?
Tianna Purtue: We met on Instagram and were not together at the time of his death. Before we had Caiden we were together a little over three years, and that is when we brought our beautiful son into the world. I met him when I was getting out of high school. He’s 28, and I’m 26. I know what the public sees, but he really has a sweetheart for his family and loved ones and takes care of what he needs to take care of. He was big on that, making sure everyone who was around him and supported him, they got that in return. That’s how Caiden came to be because the love between us was strong.
He always took care of me, especially since he was older than me. He knew what was going to happen. I do appreciate that, and that is why there will always be love in my heart for him because, at the end of the day, we brought Caiden into this world together.
AllHipHop: The family hired The Cochran Firm to announce the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your son. Why is this important to you?
Tianna Purtue: It is important to me because I think of what happened to Darrell and also now our 5-year-old he left behind—and that was not by choice. It was a major tragedy on how this happened and the lack of security at the venue. No one has any answers for his son. I’m sitting here constantly trying to talk to my son and let him know that everything is going to be ok even though you won’t see your dad again. The last things that we have to hold on to are our memories with him and his music which is one of Caiden’s favorite things to listen to all the time. He is always asking to watch his dad on youtube performing.
I have to deal with the fact that he asks me sometimes daily when he is going back to his dad’s house, or is his dad still gone, or is he coming back. He’s not really grasping that his dad is actually gone and he is never going to be able to see him again. It is a big challenge for me and I feel like this is a real big deal for me today. Especially for Caiden because we are going to step up and we are going to let them know that no one is able to bring Darrell back or give him an answer on why his dad is gone and he can’t come back to him.
AllHipHop: How did you feel watching Drakeo The Ruler being railroaded by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and fighting for his freedom?
Tianna Purtue: If we bring it back to the beginning, the day that I was giving birth to our son he was getting his home invaded by the police and he actually had to miss our son being born. That was really hard. After that he was released, only to be put back in jail, with the D.A’s coming after him.
All I wanted was for him to be there with his son. While they were spending time railroading him, trying to accuse him of things, he is missing out on valuable time with his son. That’s what hurt the most is they didn’t get to really have that connection but we always tried to keep it over the phone or through Darrell’s mom to make sure it never failed just because he was away.
He always took care of Caiden while he was in jail and made sure he got whatever he needed although he wasn’t physically there to give it to him. Before Covid started we would go see him to make sure he had those memories. It was different when his dad was incarcerated because he was still here on this earth.
AllHipHop: What is your biggest hope and wish for your son?
Tianna Purtue: I always pray for him. I pray that he finds peace and the Lord just watches over him and answers all his questions if I feel like I am not answering them correctly. I get repetitive questions daily from him asking can I go back to my dad’s house now? Or is my dad still gone? It hurts and then I start crying because I have to repeat myself like yes, he is not going to be here anymore. But it’s ok because you still have your grandmother, you still have your uncle and cousins.
Caiden still tells me sometimes, I’m going to my grandma’s house and my dad is going to pick me up, because that’s what he is used to. A father and son have the closest bond and I feel that was just ripped away from my child. When he goes to middle school and high school or his first football game he is not going to be able to say my dad is here to support me. It is just going to be me and the rest of the family.
Every son needs his dad and that is a major thing today where the dads are being taken away from their families. It’s really hard. There are things his dad can teach him that I can’t show my son but I will try my best to make sure he is always on the right track.