Earlier this week, 23-year-old up-and-comer Johnny 'Boy Da' Prince, born Johnny Taylor, had been planning a trip to New York, where he was meeting with several major labels, including Universal, Epic and Atlantic Records. Instead, he was gunned down shortly before midnight on Wednesday (Jan. 9).
Police say they found the rapper lying wounded in an alley in the Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago. Attempts to save his life via emergency surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital were unsuccessful, and Taylor was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.
"The doctors first said he was going to be OK. Then the surgical doctors came out and said he didn't make it," explained his manager, Dillard Florence, who had recently convinced Taylor to leave the streets. "Word is it was mistaken identity ... He didn't deserve this to happen."
Taylor had just finished a song called "Just Like You," denouncing gun violence. "It was about people killing people without any reason. This could really be a hit," Florence said. "Johnny, he was against violence. That's why he was pursing the music."
Perhaps the most heartbreaking statement about the young rapper's death comes from his 13-year-old cousin, Chakira Walker, whom he had just written a song for, and promised to take under his wing.
"He said as soon as he got a record deal, he was going to help me," said Chakira Walker, 13. "He told me the song was going to be a hit ... But I didn't get a chance to see it."
Listen to Johnny Boy Da Prince's "Love Sosa Freestyle"