The family of 16-year-old Justin Johnson is speaking out against gun violence after the rising rapper was shot and killed in Southeast D.C. last week.
Known as 23 Rackz, the up-and-coming emcee released his first album, Rookie of the Year, in 2021 and was signed to a label by the name of MGE in 2020. According to reports, he was gunned down while shooting a music video.
“Nobody could get him to stay off the streets,” said his father, Michael Johnson, in an interview with Fox 5. “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. 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.”
According to Mr. Johnson, Justin was an “A” student at J.O. Wilson Elementary and Stuart-Hobson Middle school in Northeast D.C. He also used to box and received tuition offers to attend private school as he grew older.
“He was an honor roll student. They skipped him a grade,” said Justin’s older sister, Jamesa Hall. “A lot of people had different perceptions of him, but at the end of the day, with us at home, he was just a regular 16-year-old.”
His family reports that Justin was shot after posting the location of his video shoot on Instagram.
Fellow DMV rapper, Wale, took to Twitter to share his condolences for the rising rapper. He previously joined the 37-year-old emcee onstage during the Broccoli City Festival held in Washington, D.C. back in May.
“I don’t even know what to say,” wrote the “Lotus Flower Bomb” emcee in a Tweet. “I’m so sorry little brother.”
💔 I don’t even know what to say . I’m so sorry little brother . pic.twitter.com/K8uv60raAC
— Wale (@Wale) May 26, 2022
Police are reportedly offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the teen’s killer.