It’s always a shame when the hip-hop world loses a promising young artist. Such is the case with South Carolina’s Speaker Knockerz. The talented underground rapper, born Derek McAllister, was only 19 years old and on the cusp of blowing up when he unexpectedly died. This past March, on the anniversary of Speaker Knockerz’s death date, he began trending on social media. Fans praised the body of work he left behind, leaving many of us to wonder what heights he could have reached. Find out Speaker Knockerz’s cause of death, and learn about the short-lived rap career that has people still mourning over him.
Speaker Knockerz Was An Inspiring Young And Upcoming Rapper
Speaker Knockerz’s life is a rags to riches story cut short. Born Derek McAllister Jr., he was born in New York but raised by his mother in South Carolina after his father was sentenced to ten years in prison.
McAllister began making beats on his computer when he was 16 years old. In the course of a year, he sold 250 of them to serious rappers, including Meek Mill and Gucci Mane. Not bad for a kid who couldn’t get a call back for a job at Zaxby’s.
When he began rapping himself, it was only a sales tactic. The end goal was to sell more beats.
“The whole purpose of me rapping is that I knew I could make a good song,” he said in 2013. “I knew how to promote myself, so that would bring more people to buy beats from me.”
He had no idea his bars would blow up as big as his beats. Speaker Knockerz’s music videos have generated anywhere between 200,000 and 3 million-plus views on YouTube. His 2013 single “Lonely” was so big that there’s a video of Fetty Wap and Drake singing the lyrics.
What Happened To Speaker Knockerz?
Speaker Knockerz had 53 videos on his YouTube page and 49 tracks available on iTunes. However, he never met his full potential because he was never signed by a major label. He was reportedly in talks with Atlantic and Universal Republic, but things were cut short by his untimely death.
When Did Speaker Knockerz Die?
Speaker Knockerz died on March 4th, 2014. He was discovered by police and his father in his garage, holding his chest. He died next to his Chevy Camaro—a luxury he earned by selling his beats.
According to Billboard, his mother Mesha Wilson posted that he was missing days before his body was found.
“It’s not like him not to communicate or come home for this long period of time,” she wrote on Facebook. “I pray that my son is ok.” She later followed up to confirm the bad news.
Speaker Knockerz was only 19 years old.
What Was Speaker Knockerz’s Cause Of Death?
Coroner Gary Watts of the Richland County Coroner’s Office confirmed that when McAllister’s body was found, no foul play was suspected, and there were no signs of trauma.
Speaker Knockerz’s official cause of death was a heart attack. But how did a 19-year-old suffer a cardiac arrest? Rumors suggest that it was caused by lean. Often referred to as “purple drank,” the addictive codeine and soda mix is known to slow heart rate and breathing.
Speaker Knockerz’s Legacy Is Still Alive Today
Years after his death, Speaker Knockerz remains a significant influence in hip-hop. His 2014 album Married to the Money II was released posthumously; Pitchfork praised its production and compared it to “memorable pop music.”
“Speaker Knockerz sounds like an entity of his own, no matter how heavily inspired he was by everything popular to a teenager, in the early 2010s, stuck in their bedroom on the internet,” wrote critic Alphonse Pierre.
Fans on social media believe the world lost a talent too soon.
“Dude literally is a goat though,” wrote one Twitter user. “One of the most influential rappers of all time, you can see his influence in the new rappers coming outta new york like Tjay and Tecca.”
“#RIPSpeakerKnockerz,” wrote another. “Would do anything to bring this man back, he’d be at the top right now. No doubt.”
Even if you’ve never heard of Speaker Knockerz, you may be familiar with the artists he influenced. Lil Uzi Vert, Denzel Curry, and Kodak Black have referenced him in their singles, while Roddy Ricch and Lil Mosey have given him props in interviews.
He was gone too soon but not forgotten. It’s a tragic end to an unsigned but incredibly influential young artist.