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Rapper 23 Rackz, 16, Killed In D.C., Family Says He Couldn’t “Stay Off The Streets” • HHL

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A teen rapper on the rise was gunned down in Washington, D.C. last week and now, his family has stepped forward with messages about gun violence. Justin Johnson, 16, was developing a name for himself within his city and he had aspirations of being the next rapper to take over the charts. However, it has been reported that his dreams were cut short last week after he became a fatal victim of the violence plaguing many youths on city streets. 

Last year, Johnson, known as 23 Rackz, dropped his Rookie of the Year project and even signed a record deal with a label, but his father, Michael Johnson, reportedly told FOX 5 News, “Nobody could get him to stay off the streets.

“It takes a lot to get a kid out of that setting,” he added, admitting that he didn’t have much knowledge about his son’s developing rap career. 

“I heard a rap, one of his raps for the first time the other day,” Mr. Johnson said. “I didn’t even want to listen to it because I wanted him to go to school. He said, ‘I got one foot in and one foot out,’ in one of these raps, and, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ ‘Cause they were saying, ‘Justin come with us,’ his managers and them, ‘Come with us, you’ve got to put that behind you.’ But he said no, no. I’m better off right here.”

“I’d go to work, and he’d be gone when I come home. So we had a relationship of me trying to get him off the streets and him thinking, once he got money off his hands, he was gone,” he added. “And as far as guns on the street, he had been arrested one time for a gun, but D.C. won’t hold those kids. I begged the judges, P.O., keep him. Just keep him. But the next day, he was home. It’s so easy for these kids to get guns, it really is.”

The rapper’s older sister, Jamesa Hall, is not only grieved about the loss of her brother, but with the remarks she has been seeing online.

“It’s hard to see on social media that you know, he’s really gone and I see a lot of comments on social media saying like, ‘Oh well he was in the streets at 16 and he didn’t go to school, and this and that.’ He was an honor roll student,” said Hall. “They skipped him a grade. Like he was street smart and book smart. He was well before his time.”

She added, “A lot of people have different perceptions of him, but at the end of the day, with us at home, he was just a regular 16-year-old. It was never 23 Rackz in the house.”

According to the teen’s manager, he was trying to move 23 Rackz to Georgia to further his career, but because the rapper was fashioned with an ankle monitor due to a previous infraction, they were unable to change locations. We send our sincerest condolences to Justin Johnson’s loved ones during this difficult time. 

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