Rapper Dies After Police Standoff: What We Know About the Death of Coca-Kazi

A person allegedly involved in a police standoff in North Little Rock, Arkansas on Jan. 18 has died, police said. The police have not released the person’s name, but the person is reportedly Joseph Seriale Smith, a rapper who performs under the name Coca-Kazi. A Twitter user who claimed to be Coca-Kazi’s cousin confirmed the rapper died.

Just before 2 a.m. on Jan. 18, North Little Rock police were called to North Locust Street to respond to a “disturbance with a weapon,” the police department said in a press release. Authorities were told a person involved had a weapon, reports the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. They “quickly” located the suspect and removed a victim from the residence.

The suspect allegedly shot at police officers from inside the house. The person then came outside, reportedly pointing his weapon at the police, authorities said. A North Little Rock officer shot their weapon and the suspect ran back into the house. The Special Operations Unit and Crisis Negotiation Team arrived to help, but they could not contact the suspect, police said.

When a SWAT team entered the home, they found the suspect deceased. Police said it is unclear if the suspect was fatally shot by a police officer or died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Detectives arrived to begin their investigation, and the officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave. The officer’s name was not released.

North Little Rock police did not release the gunman’s name. However, HopHopSince1987 connected the shooting to Coca-Kazi, noting that he posted a 39-second video on his Facebook page that shows him barricaded inside a bedroom. “What you say now?” the person filming the video, possibly Coca-Kazi, says before it ends.

Twitter user ABG Rocky’s tweet on Jan. 19 seemingly confirmed that Coca-Kazi died, notes HipHopDX. “Lost another cousin today. That’s 2 in less than 7 days. This s– brazy. Damn [Coca-Kazi],” ABG Rocky wrote. Coca-Kazi’s record label, Hunnafield Records, also appeared to confirm his death by sharing reports on its Facebook page.

Coca-Kazi was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and raised in Camden, Arkansas. He started his music career at 15 and relocated to Atlanta in 2006. He scored a deal with producer Wonder Arillo, but was released from his contract after legal trouble, notes Exposed Vocals. He then signed with Hunnafield Records and released a mixtape in March 2022 and three singles in the weeks before his death.

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