February 5, 2023

PnB Rock, a Philadelphia rapper known for his melodic style and songs like “Fleek” and “Selfish,” was killed on Monday afternoon in what the police said was a robbery at a restaurant in South Los Angeles, his lawyer confirmed.

PnB Rock was the stage name of Rakim Allen. Atlantic Records, his label, described his death as a “senseless loss.”

“PnB Rock was more than an artist,” the company said in a post on Instagram on Tuesday. “To many, Rakim Allen was a great friend. He was also a wonderful father to two beautiful little girls.”

One of his attorneys, Paul Lang, confirmed on Tuesday that the rapper was the man who was killed in a restaurant robbery. A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department said early Tuesday that the shooting occurred at 1:15 p.m. on Monday at the address of Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles in South Los Angeles.

The spokeswoman said a male suspect entered the restaurant and demanded the property of the 30-year-old victim. The police did not immediately identify the victim by name, but news outlets rapidly did so. The suspect fled after the shooting, and the victim was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The police spokeswoman said an investigation into the shooting was taking place.

Mr. Lang did not have an immediate comment beyond confirming the death of the artist.

A number of burglaries and robberies targeting actors, musicians and athletes have occurred in recent years. Bashar Jackson, who performed as Pop Smoke, was killed in a home invasion in early 2020. Fans noted that the day before he was shot, he had posted photos on Instagram showing a stack of cash and a gift bag label with his Los Angeles address.

A little more than a week before PnB Rock was killed, he spoke about being targeted in Los Angeles and recalled a situation in which he was followed. “Where I’m from, we like sneaky criminals,” he said in a YouTube interview with DJ Akademiks. “In L.A., it’s like they bold.”

PnB Rock was part of a wave of rappers whose popularity and unique sound was partly built on their ability to effortlessly switch between singing and rapping.

“It’s like what do you label yourself, when you still infuse rap” into your songs, he told Paper Magazine in 2017. “People can’t say I’m a rapper, but I don’t feel like I’m a singer either. I’m not hitting super high notes and going crazy. I can’t give you Chris Brown singing. I just got good melodies.”

He said that Drake had inspired him to start a career in music and that at 19, while serving time in prison for what he described as “robbing, stealing, drilling,” he got hold of a keyboard.

“I never heard anybody sing, rap, and making it smooth for the girls,” he said about Drake. “If I had a choice to only make one type of music, it would be some melody” songs.

PnB Rock’s career began to rise in 2015 with his song “Fleek.” Then came “Selfish,” which peaked at No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

He collaborated with some of hip-hop’s most touted acts, including Lil Baby, City Girls and XXXTentacion.

One of his biggest hits, “Dangerous,” a collaboration with Meek Mill and Jeremih, reached No. 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 2018. The following summer, PnB Rock appeared on Ed Sheeran’s “Cross Me” alongside Chance the Rapper. That song remained on the Billboard Hot 100 for several weeks, peaking at No. 25.

The rapper released his latest song, “Luv Me Again” on Sept. 2.

In the recent YouTube interview, PnB Rock said that while it was common for rappers to be robbed, “I never got robbed. Never in my life. I ain’t gon’ say never, cause I don’t like saying never.”

The rapper said he was not superstitious but intentionally kept a low profile while in Los Angeles. “Ever since my brother got killed, like my oldest brother, I been moving different since,” he said, adding that he had been on alert.

“I done seen people die,” he said. “Anybody can die.”

Christine Hauser contributed reporting.

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