MoneySign Suede, a fast-rising Mexican-American star who amassed tens of millions of streams for his propulsive rap music, has been killed aged 22 following an attack in a California prison.
Officials from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said the rapper, real name Jaime Brugada Valdez, died on Tuesday evening “with injuries consistent with a homicide”. He was being held at a prison in Soledad, where since January he had been serving a 32-month sentence on gun charges.
A lawyer for Valdez, Nicholas Rosenberg, told the LA Times that officials had said Valdez had been stabbed, and that an investigation was under way. “People are very shocked,” Rosenberg said. “He was a very popular guy, very mild-mannered. People loved him.”
Valdez was born to Mexican immigrant parents and raised in the Huntington Park area of Los Angeles. He began recording and uploading rap tracks from the age of 16, and was signed to Atlantic Records while still in his teens. His breakthrough track Back to the Bag was a rap scene hit after its release in 2020. In 2022 he had a busy year of releases, with a self-titled EP in March followed by his debut album Parkside Baby in September.
His prison sentence for two counts of firearm possession in Riverside County, California, was exacerbated by Valdez breaking parole from an earlier conviction, when he served a 10-month sentence between 2020 and 2021. At the time of his death he was also facing another gun charge conviction from Los Angeles County, and was expected to serve that sentence concurrently.
Rap journalist Jeff Weiss was among those paying tribute to Valdez, calling him “a young regional hero embodying the hopes & aspirations of the unsung and overlooked”.
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