In today’s fickle rap industry, thick with social media and trendy quick-fixes, it’s incredibly hard for an emcee to make a lasting impression. Capital STEEZ, rhyme affiliate and crew member of Joey Bada$$’s PRO ERA collective, left a small legacy with his short time on this earth. This past Christmas eve, the 19-year-old rapper signaled his suicide with a tweet that read,“The end.”
Early on Christmas Eve morning, hip-hop Twitter reacted to his death. Hip-hop critic and Hot 97 host Peter Rosenberg tweeted,“I am so shocked and saddened to hear about Capital STEEZ from Pro Era..just sickened..love those kids.what a horrible way to start Xmas. RIP.” Crew leader Joey Badass ended the day on Instagram with a picture of the two together above a quote from Nas’s “One Love”.
Earlier this year, PRO ERA showed incredible promise at a packed album event for a Flying Lotus’s event at a small venue in the LES. The crew is definitely more about spreading a message and bringing a dose of lyricism back to the stage. They ripped freestyles at radio stations bringing a collective flavor that’s helped us deem this period a resurgence of the Golden Era. When Joey Badass had just entered the New York scene with his debut album/mixtape 1999, critics slammed his performances at local events for being too crew based. Now that STEEZ is gone it portrays a different story to those who critiqued the squad before.
“Survival Tactics” was the beginning of what STEEZ wanted to represent on his new tape, AmeriKKKan Korruption, a revolutionary ode to overthrowing the government and opening up the third eye. This year was a successful year for the PRO ERA camp who’d just got off a couple tour dates overseas as well as on the release of a new mixtape aptly entitled, PEEP: The aPROcalypse. Though the late emcee didn’t have time to make as big of an impression as we would have hoped, he made a lasting impression on his circle and penetrated the hip-hop underground with his vocals. In the future, they say everyone will have 5 minutes of fame but this just seems like a light too bright to dim so early. Rest in peace, Jamal Dewar.