Family Members Remember Slain Chicago Rapper Lil’ JoJo

Family and friends packed the Jones Funeral Home in Chicago to pay their respects to 18-year-old Joseph Coleman, affectionately known to many as Lil’ JoJo.

Englewood resident Lil’ JoJo was murdered in a hail of gunfire in a drive-by shooting as he was riding on the back pegs of a friend’s bike. Witnesses described the vehicle as a tan, older model, four-door Ford Taurus that was riding low in the back, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

Authorities believe members of the Black Disciples street gang are responsible for Coleman’s death.

Coleman’s home going service proved to be very tough for the slain rapper’s family. Coleman’s mother Robin Russell cried heavily as her son’s casket was lowered into the ground at Mt. Hope Cemetery in the Morgan Park Neighborhood, according to the Sun Times.

John Coleman, Lil JoJo’s half-brother, was pleased with the support for his deceased brother at his funeral.

“Today’s a rough day for me. We grew up together. I’m not feeling right. I’m feeling crazy right now. But sh*t you see all the people supporting him. He was loved,” John Coleman said, according to the Sun Times. “Everyone wanted to see him. That didn’t make me mad. It makes me feel good. He was respected. He was known and appreciated.”

Lil JoJo’s cousin Charles Swift, however, was unhappy with the crowd the funeral attracted. Swift told the Sun Times the groups of young men who lingered near his cousin’s grave were not Lil’ JoJo’s “family.”

“They say they’re family, but they’re not,” Swift said, according to the Sun Times. “You see all these shirts and you think JoJo must have been a big-time gang-banger because of all the people wishing him off to rest in peace. It’s the total opposite. This was a kid who was respectful and had his family behind him.”

Lil JoJo’s aunt revealed to the Sun Times that the family has received death threats since his demise.
“We’re scared. There have been threats. I can tell you that,” she told the Sun Times. “And no one has been arrested for killing JoJo … Maybe people feel like they have to defend themselves.”

Lil’ JoJo allegedly had a hit out on him due to his highly publicized beef with the Black Disciples street gang, namely rappers Lil’ Durk and Lil’ Reese. The rapper posted a video “3HunnaK” to Youtube attacking the Glory Boyz Entertainment affiliates.

“These ni**as claim 300, but we BDK,” he rapped.

BDK is short for Black Disciples Killers and “300” is the gang numeric code for the Black Disciples street gang.

Lil’ JoJo, John Coleman said, wrote “3HunnaK” to expose studio gangsters whom he felt were frauds, according to the Sun Times.

John Coleman said the rap was made against opposing rappers and not the street gang. Lil’ JoJo actually knew and went to high school with newly signed Def Jam Recording artists Lil’ Durk and Lil’ Reese. The fallen artist may not have thought rap beef would escalate the way it did.

“That BDK sh*t was for the opposing rap team,” John Coleman said, according to the Chicago Sun Times. “The song was a Lil Durk diss. It was more music . . . killing them with rhymes.”

Coleman said he was with Lil’ JoJo before he was murdered. The two appeared in a Youtube video taunting Chief Keef’s associate Lil’ Reese. This event occurred just hours before Coleman was murdered. The video may serve as evidence for authorities in pinpointing Coleman’s murderer.

“I’ma kill you! I’ma kill you!” Lil’ Reese can be heard on the footage saying.

John Coleman told the Sun Times he is not fazed by the threats and will continue spreading Lil’ JoJo’s legacy.

“These threats have been brought up a lot by my family,” he said, according to the Sun Times. “I keep telling them don’t worry … what happens will happen anyway. I just lost my brother so I have to finish this dream of his, accomplish his mission with this music. I gotta feed my family.”

But the question many people in the urban community are pondering is whether the fate of young men like Lil JoJo is determined before they even leave their mother’s womb? African Americans are faced with many obstacles, including unemployment, single- parent households, incarceration and black-on-black crime.
Swift said Lil’ JoJo fell victim to the negatives influences of the street.

“He was a kid that came home and played Xbox and had to watch his brother. And then he’d sneak out of the house,” he said, according to the Sun Times. “You gotta remember in Chicago there’s a lot of single mothers. And the streets have more to offer than these mothers can. Unfortunately, he had the influence of some neighbors and whoever was around him that made him feel like he was gonna chase this dream this way.”

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