R.I.P. The Jacka

CBS reports that the Jacka, the veteran cult-hero Bay Area rapper, was killed last night in East Oakland. He was shot several times around 8PM on MacArthur Blvd., and no suspects have been identified. He was 37.

The Jacka was born Dominic Newton in Pittsburg, California. At a young age, he converted to Islam and took the name Shaheed Akbar. He first rose to prominence in the late ’90s as part of C-Bo’s Mob Figaz crew. He released Jacka Of The Mob Figaz, his first solo album, in 2001, and he stayed prolific ever since then, releasing a long string of solo and collaborative albums and mixtapes. Last year alone, the Jacka released two albums: The solo album What Happened To The World and Highway Robbery, a collaborative album with Freeway.

The Jacka was a regional star, a guy who might be a near-complete unknown in New York but whose songs resonated as street anthems up and down the northern half of the West Coast. His rap style was a hard mutter, a sort of Bay Area equivalent of the matter-of-fact mastery we might hear from a Queensbridge rapper like Cormega. In a constantly-changing rap climate, he was a reassuring presence, a case study in how a thoughtful, writerly, low-key tough guy could maintain a certain level of local fame based on word of mouth alone.

Below, watch some of his videos.

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