D.C. rapper Swipey, who had amassed a dedicated fan base in the region and thousands of followers online, was shot and killed early Sunday in Prince George’s County, police said.
Swipey, whose real name was Douglas Brooks, was found shortly after 1 a.m. outside a home in the 3600 block of Parkway Terrace Drive in Suitland. Police had responded to a call of gunshots and found Brooks, 18. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Police said Sunday that they do not believe the shooting was random but that they were still working to determine a suspect and motive. They are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment in the killing.
The young rapper’s death triggered an outpouring of grief on social media, where friends described him as a promising rapper whose life and career were cut short.
His manager, Kevin Baldwin, chief executive of the record label M.O.P3, said that at 18, Brooks had already performed alongside big-name acts including rappers Wale, a D.C. native, and Fat Joe. His videos collected hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, and his Instagram following was upward of 40,000. One of his songs “Money Money Money” featured producer Jazze Pha, known for his work with Usher, Missy Elliott, Ciara and Lil Wayne.
“He only had been signed with me one year, and he accomplished all of that,” Baldwin said.
Brooks graduated from high school in the District and at one point planned to attend college at Morgan State University, Baldwin said, but ended up deciding to pursue a career as a rapper.
“Music, to Swipey, is everything,” Brooks said of himself in a recent radio interview with WPGC-FM (95.5). “I’ve got a tattoo on me: Music is life.”
The circumstances of Brooks’s death were not clear Sunday afternoon. Baldwin, who was grieving with family members Sunday, said they recalled an argument erupting following a party Saturday night. Later, a vehicle drove up and shots were fired, he said, according to family members’ recollections. Police did not confirm those details.
In the interview with WPGC, Brooks said his passion for music began when he was about 14 or 15. Following the radio appearance, he boasted, “I’m from Southeast (Washington). I got a song with Jazze Pha — yeah, what?”
Baldwin said Brooks was raised in a home that was at times unstable but overcame his circumstances, emerging as a bright student who was “very intelligent.”
After signing Brooks a year ago, Baldwin said he filled in as a father figure.
“Basically, I was teaching him,” he said. “He’d never been on a plane — the first time he went on a plane was with me. He’d never been out of town.”
But Baldwin, 47, sometimes clashed with the young artist over the company he kept, he said.
“The issue was he was being successful on every level, but the hardest part was to get him away from his friends — the negativity,” he said. “That’s where him and I bumped heads.”
Brooks’s mother, Freda, was overcome with grief Sunday, surrounded by family as she coped with the news of her son’s death.
“He was a good guy, he was a nice guy, he never tried to start no trouble,” she said in brief comments to The Washington Post. “I’m crying. I’m crying because I love my son.”
On social media, friends and fans posted tributes. Among them: Grammy-nominated artist Wale, who was born and raised in the Washington region.
“God bless DMV,” read, in part, a tweet from Wale, using a moniker for the D.C., Maryland and Virginia region. It was followed by the hashtag #ripswipey.