Last night, our friend Lil Buzz was gunned down in Richmond, CA.
Buzz first caught my attention with his single “Jungle” – I was immediately drawn in by the hook, which had unique flow & subject matter for a Bay Area artist. Nowadays it feels rare for a rapper to talk honestly about the downside of the street life, especially in a way that’s actually catchy and appealing, but Buzz did it effortlessly.
Shortly after that, Buzz dropped “Nobody”, which was a banger too, but a little more traditional. It’s a lighter, more accessible song, and I’m sure that for a lot of people pressing play it’ll be in heavier rotation than “Jungle” – but there’s still something about the darkness of “Jungle” that makes it my favorite Buzz song.
Some time later, Buzz came by the HQ for an interview, and from that a relationship grew. For a minute, he would slide through every other week or so, dropping off new music, talking strategy, planning music videos. We ended up dropping his EP Ballads of a Young Playa through On The Roof Records earlier this year, and we had him on one of the first ever episodes of First Listen to celebrate it. But after a while, Buzz stopped coming through as often. He would stop by to drop off a song here and there, but more often than not if he had something he would just email it over. I got the sense that he was caught up in his personal life and didn’t have as much time or energy for music anymore, which was really too bad because he could have had something if he stuck to it.
And last night, I got word that Buzz had been killed in Richmond, making him the 7th murder in Richmond this year, after a long stretch of peace in the city. Even though I know I didn’t have much pull in his personal life, I still feel like I let Buzz down. Maybe I could have pushed a little harder & talked him into spending more time in the studio and pursuing music as a career – but even then, I know that the slow grind of getting money as an independent artist is a pretty hard sell when someone has seen fast money. It’s just sad seeing talent wasted, cut short at 21 years old, when it could’ve gone the other way.
Rest In Peace Lil Buzz, we’ll miss you.