Rapper Shawty Lo killed in car crash aged 40

The southern hip-hop star had been promoting his latest single, a tribute to his deceased father, in a strip club and was killed in a road accident on the way back

The Atlanta rap star Shawty Lo was killed in a fiery car crash in the early hours of Wednesday after his vehicle left a freeway and struck trees.

The artist, whose real name was Carlos Walker, came to fame as a talented force in the southern hip-hop movement that rose up to rival the rap scenes of New York and Los Angeles in the last 20 years.

He formed the group D4L in 2003. Their hits, such as Laffy Taffy, helped fuel the snap dance craze, then became an award-winning solo artist.

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Tributes began pouring in, especially from the music world, on Wednesday, as the news spread that Shawty Lo was at the wheel of his Audi when it was involved in a fatal crash.

RIP to a real one, hip-hop artist Ludacris posted on Twitter.

Rapper 50 Cent, with whose record company Shawty Lo had worked with, posted: My condolences to his family, he had a lot of mouths to feed. The rapper had 11 children with 10 women.

Authorities reported that Shawty Lo was driving on a freeway near south-west Atlanta when the car left the road, Interstate 285, and struck trees before bursting into flames.

The driver was thrown from the car and killed, Fulton County police corporal Maureen Smith said on Wednesday.

Despite some initial reports of a hit-and-run incident, it later emerged that no other vehicles had been involved.

Two female passengers were taken to hospital, but their injuries were not deemed life-threatening, the police added.

Smith said the driver was later identified by the Fulton County medical examiners office as Carlos Walker, 40, confirming that he was known by the stage name of Shawty Lo.

He was a good person. He was a friend. Lo was a legend he is definitely going to be missed, his manager Johnnie Cabbell told the Guardian on Wednesday afternoon.

He said he did not know why the accident had happened, but he had been told that the rapper lost control of the wheel and went over a guardrail.

We are trying to find out what happened, he said.

Cabbell said Shawty Los father had died earlier in the month and his funeral had been held just four days prior, on Saturday.

The artist had just recorded a new song in tribute, Letter 2 My Father, and had been preparing to release the song and the video.

Cabbell said that just before the crash, Shawty Lo had been at the Blue Flame, a strip club in Atlanta, promoting his new single.

Despite his recent bereavement, Cabbell said Shawty Lo was in good spirits when he spoke to him Tuesday evening.

I talked to him before he went to the club. He asked me to come with him and I told him I was too tired. Maybe if I had gone with him it would have gone differently he might have left a little earlier, Cabbell said.

He thought the rapper had left the club around 3am, he said, although reports estimate the accident happened closer to 2.20am.

Shawty Lo won the rookie of the year prize at the BET hip-hop awards in 2008, as well as solo hit of the year with his single Dey Know.

He was also very open about the more controversial parts of his life.

He mentioned in interviews and social media posts that he had been arrested 28 times in his life and had four convictions.

At one point he said he believed the fact that some of the crimes were violent and drug-related had cost him a spot on VH1s reality series Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.

Shawty Lo had also come close to having his own TV spot on the Oxygen channel, called All My Babies Mamas, that was planned to feature the 10 mothers of his children.

But there were strong protests and the program was scrapped before it aired.

He left 11 kids behind and he took care of all of them. He had just lost his father, and now he goes. We are just praying for his mother, Cabbell said.

Shawty Lo also talked about his struggles with diabetes.

Carlos Walker was born in the Bankhead area of Atlanta in 1976. Fans posted clips on social media Wednesday of his interviews and performances.

The snap craze was controversial with some hip-hop purists, but its influence on the sound and spread of the genre in the 2000s was significant.

He collaborated along the way with many hip-hop luminaries and is particularly remembered for his vibrant rap with Gucci Mane and Soulja Boy on the latters number Gucci Bandana.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/sep/21/shawty-lo-rapper-dies-car-crash

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