We will never know what type of rapper, or man, Lil JoJo, born Joseph Coleman, would have developed into since he was gunned down on September 4th in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. The 17-year-old's funeral was held yesterday (September 14th), and tensions were high with a heavy police presence at the Jones Funeral Home where his wake was held. Plenty of supporters came to pay their respects, but the Chicago Sun Times reports that a group of youth eager to get a last look at JoJo pressed forward, almost knocking over the white casket his body was in. The music that was playing stopped, with JoJo's mother, Robin Russell, getting on the microphone and angrily telling everyone to, "Get the f--- out."
Chicago police cleared the room and according to the Chicago Tribune, plenty of attendees, including family, were not thrilled with the way things were going down.
The commotion drew outrage from relatives of the slain 18-year-old and several hundred other mourners, including one who picked up a microphone and exclaimed, "Y'all being disrespectful!"
Another family member took record labels to task for signing young Chicago acts whose lyrics are steeped in violence; Chief Keef and Lil Reese being a couple of examples who are signed to Interscope and Def Jam, respectively.
"These kids were reaching for a false dream, and these record (companies) are coming to our city … and telling them that they're going to be superstars. And they're not looking at giving these kids guidance or artist development," Lil Jojo's cousin Charles Swift said to applause at the wake.
Outside the funeral home, at 3240 W. 79th St., hordes of Lil Jojo's friends — many clad in T-shirts emblazoned with "R.I.P. LIL JOJO" and an imprint of his face — danced around a car as one of his songs blared from its radio. The potent smell of marijuana wafted through the air.
Unfortunately the procession to the burial site, Mount Hope Cemetery, did not go any smoother. Police raced to the front of vehicles and momentarily stopped its progress, acting on a tip that someone in car was packing a gun and had fired a shot in the air. No weapons were found but police drew their guns on an SUV at the cemetery after suspecting their were gun in the vehicle. There were not any, but an individual who allegedly attended the funeral was arrested at a separate location, where about 30 people are lined up and searched, after a handgun was found in their car.
"People are showing zero tolerance for (this behavior at) these gang funerals," said Cmdr. James Gibson, whose Morgan Park police district covers Beverly and Mount Greenwood, predominantly middle-class neighborhoods where many police officers, firefighters and other city workers live. "There's a constant dialogue (with the community) to come up with fresh ideas to help keep this under control."
Authorities are investigating JoJo's death as a gang related murder. The cops believe JoJo was affiliated with the "Brick Squad" crew of Gangster Disciples that are at odds with the Black Disciples that Chief Keef and company are allegedly affiliated with. Nevertheless, antics like these (peep attendees reciting JoJo's raw and uncut lyrics in the video below) are not the type of home going anyone deserves.
Check out photos from Lil JoJo's funeral, featuring a lot of law enforcement, in the gallery.
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Photos: Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune