Hundreds packed the Jonesboro-Hodge High School auditorium Saturday to pay their final respects to slain rapper Lil’ Snupe.
The service was initially scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. but was pushed to 1 p.m. late in the week because of the family’s request.
Lil’ Snupe, whose real name is Addarren Ross, 18, was shot and killed June 20 in Winnfield. Police responded to a shots fired call in the Maplewood Apartments at 1901 S. Jones St. and found Ross with two bullet wounds to the torso. Paramedics responded, but Winn Parish coroner investigators pronounced Ross dead on the scene.
Mourners began to arrive three hours before the service, and rapper Meek Mill entered shortly prior to the service beginning.
Clearly still shaken up, Mill sat dejected in the third row with dark sunglasses over his eyes for the majority of the service.
“I’m never one to talk (at funerals),” Mill said when presented with a resolution from Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson. “I saw something in him. His demo tape spoke to me. I saw myself in him.”
Perhaps the most emotional part of the service was when a letter was read from Ross’ biological father who is incarcerated.
“He came from nothing,” Charlie Brown wrote. “He taught the young to never make excuses. When the doors open for me, the world will forever hear Lil’ Snupe!”
Ross, who is originally from Jonesboro, was signed to Mill’s DreamChasers record label hours after meeting him after Grambling State University’s homecoming concert in October.
“He was in a van, and I knocked on the window,” Ross said in a February interview with MTV. “They let the window down, grabbed the mix tape, and about 10 minutes or 20 minutes later, they called me.”
The moment Mill heard the struggle in Lil’ Snupe’s lyrics, he noticed somebody who reminded him of him.
“He was spitting so much pain,” Mill said of his protégé. “He’s from the South with a flow like an East Coast guy. He really can spit, and he was talking that talk that I can really relate to. I seen potential in him.”
It’s surprising how in such a short period of time, a rapper who was 18 for seven days and is from a town of fewer than 5,000 people could have an impact on such a wide group of people.
After news of Lil’ Snupe’s death, hip-hop legends sent Twitter into a frenzy. Celebrity fans took to the site to pay their respects.
“RIP @LilSnupe. Prayers to his family. Some of the saddest news you ever hear…rise up and be leaders for the future. Lives depend on it,” hip-hop mogul Diddy tweeted.
“This Is Crazy He Was A Talented Kid! May He RIP #LilSnupe,” rapper Trina tweeted.
Although Lil’ Snupe had made it to the top, he never forgot where he came from or the “little people.”
Grambling State senior Peter Dorsey has been an MC in North Louisiana for the past five years and reminisces on the time Lil’ Snupe spent “grinding” to make it to the top on campus.
“After putting him in a (rap) battle, he had every student on the campus captivated in less than two minutes,” Dorsey said. “Every time we saw each other, he said, ‘Keep grinding.’”