The 64th Annual Grammy Awards took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday (April 3). Opening performances from Silk Sonic and J Balvin initially kept the energy high until Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas brought it down to a somber level with their rendition of “Happier Than Ever.”
The melancholic undertones continued throughout the evening with a tribute to late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins and the ensuing “In Memoriam” segment of the program. While the Recording Academy remembered to include Young Dolph, Force MD’s Jesse D, Biz Markie and DMX, they noticeably left off Drakeo The Ruler, who was fatally stabbed last December backstage at the Once Upon A Time In L.A. Festival.
— Recording Academy / GRAMMYs (@RecordingAcad) April 4, 2022
Now, the late rapper’s brother Ralfy The Plug is speaking out, making it clear just how unhappy he is with the Recording Academy’s perceived oversight.
“On behalf of Drakeo The Ruler, Ketchy The Great and The Stinc Team, it comes off as a spit in the face disregarding the facts that we’ve created an entire movement that generated the momentum for underground emerging L.A. artists to have a platform,” he told TMZ. “Let alone the reality that we lost my Brother, Drakeo The Ruler, the poster child for systematic prejudices against rappers by law enforcement using lyrics against our culture and violating what they call our constitutional rights of freedom of speech- The First Amendment.”
He added, “Leaving Drakeo out of their tribute and by not giving him any acknowledgment of his existence sums up exactly what we feel the industry has been trying to do. Erase us.”
Drakeo The Ruler was found not guilty of murder and attempted murder in July 2019 but was kept in jail due to two gang-related charges that relied on the assumption his Stinc Team rap group constituted a gang.
The jury was hung 10-2 and 7-5 for acquittal on the gang-related charges, but the District Attorney’s office opted to retry Drakeo for those charges, holding him for a year in jail without bail. Despite the acquittal on the murder and attempted murder charges, he was still facing life in prison if convicted.
But in a strange turn of events, he was released from prison in November 2020 after accepting a sudden and unexpected plea deal from prosecutors, only to be killed just over a year later.