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Lil Marlo, a Rising Atlanta Rapper, Is Shot and Killed at 30

2020-07-12 19:54:54
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Rudolph Johnson, the up-and-coming Atlanta rapper known as Marlo, who loomed large among his city’s rap heavyweights even as he remained an underground figure and ambivalent local celebrity, was shot and killed there on Saturday night, the police said. He was 30.

The Atlanta Police Department said that officers had initially responded to a single-vehicle accident on I-285, west of downtown, around 11:30 p.m. and discovered the driver deceased, with gunshot wounds.

“At this time, investigators believe the victim was the intended target of the gunfire and they are working to determine the circumstances surrounding the shooting,” the police said in a statement.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed on Sunday that Mr. Johnson had been killed. The shooting came amid a rash of gun violence in Atlanta in recent weeks, following a turbulent period of protests against the police killings of Rayshard Brooks there and George Floyd in Minneapolis. “It has to stop,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said last week.

“I ain’t tripping,” Marlo said of his gradual rise toward the mainstream. “I had to be new to the block before. So it just is what it is.” As his partner Lil Baby racked up industry accolades, Marlo told his fellow rapper, “No matter what I’m doing, you keep going.”

Marlo is survived by his mother, Santresa Maxey; his cousin, Denise Hill-Love, who helped raise him; and his two sons, R.J. and Marlo Jr.

Lil Yachty said in an Instagram post announcing Marlo’s death that the two rappers had been recording on Friday night. “We just did a song [at] 4 this morning smh rip brother,” he wrote.

Jacoby Hudson, a longtime friend and Atlanta defense lawyer, said in an interview that Marlo had just left a Bankhead block party late Saturday when he was killed.

“It’s heartbreaking, because I told Rudy it would end like this if he didn’t change the people he was around,” Mr. Hudson said in a phone interview. “He didn’t let the music save him. He still wanted to be in the neighborhood. He cared about people and he took care of people. He loved too many people, and his loyalty is probably what got him killed.”


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