Drakeo the Ruler Essentials

Apple Music Hip-Hop

Drakeo the Ruler Essentials

Before his untimely death at the age of 28 in December 2021, Drakeo the Ruler was unequivocally the voice of Los Angeles street rap. The man born Darrell Caldwell earned his first round of buzz from 2015’s I Am Mr. Mosely tape, but established himself as a force whose impact would be felt far beyond Los Angeles city limits with 2017’s Cold Devil. Drakeo’s rap style was both menacing and conversational, the MC rarely emoting beyond a sort of ransom-call whisper. His reign as the voice of LA was marked by intervals of incarceration, Cold Devil having been recorded in 10 days of freedom that followed a nearly year-long stint in jail. Another bout with incarceration, ending in November 2020, sparked a remarkably consistent creative tear for the MC, with Drakeo releasing, in the span of a year’s time, We Know the Truth, Because Yall Asked, The Truth Hurts, A Cold Day in Hell, Ain’t That the Truth, and So Cold I Do Em 2. Drakeo the Ruler’s voice could be found alongside any number of his LA contemporaries (03 Greedo, Bino Rideaux, Remble, Blxst), but he also counted some of the biggest names in hip-hop among his fans—like Drake, who, in learning of The Ruler’s fatal stabbing, posted a picture from the MC’s time modeling for his OVO clothing label, writing that his “Talk to Me” collaborator had “always picked my spirit up with your energy. RIP Drakeo.”