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Koba Prime & Smoke Dawg killed in Toronto shooting

Smoke Dawg and Koba Prime killed in Toronto shooting
Koba Prime & Smoke Dawg (Photo: Jake Kivanc)

It’s one heartbreaking story after another. The reoccurring theme is the senseless loss of young life and incredible talent.

Canada’s hip-hop community is in mourning today after news broke of a brazen Saturday shooting in Toronto that took the lives of 21-year-old Smoke Dawg and Koba Prime (aka Kosi) (28 or 29) – members of the closely connected groups, 878 Halal Gang and Prime. The attack also left another unidentified woman injured.

The two prominent members of the Toronto rap community were outside of Cube Nightclub, near Queen St. W. and Peter St. when they were shot. Police have released little information about what they’ve uncovered in the investigation other than a witness seeing a black SUV leaving the scene of the shooting.

After being rushed to a local trauma centre, rumors began flowing online and members of the victim’s inner circle posted messages of prayer and disbelief. Sadly, just before midnight, a friend of Smoke’s named Mustafa The Poet revealed that he had passed away.

“Smokey is gone, may our prayers follow him to heaven.”

Several hours later, Koba’s passing was also announced.

Truly a sad day for the Toronto scene and the loss has taken a very apparent toll on other members of the music and hip-hop communities. VICE Canada was one of several publications to acknowledge the pair’s roles in helping shape the identity of the Toronto hip-hop scene:

“It’s impossible to factor how much of a loss this is. Smoke Dawg and Koba Prime were instrumental in the rise of current Toronto rap.”

Social media has been flooded with messages of grief and condolences including posts by several other artists and producers including Drake, Murda Beatz, Boi-1da and Jimmy Prime.

These guys had the backing of the biggest names coming out of Toronto Canada, and were destined for much bigger things.

Halal Gang and Prime are two separate entities, but often came together as a supergroup known as Full Circle. The self-titled single below was produced by Bo1-1da (with co-production from Murda Beatz) and featured Donnie, Puffy L’z, Smoke Dawg, SAFE, Jimmy Prime and Jay Whiss.

Jimmy Prime posted about the loss on Instagram earlier today:

“2 of my closest friends lost in one day…. words really cant describe how i feel so im not even gonna try to explain i just wish you guys were still here 💔 R.I.P Kosi and Smokey”

Drake – who brought Smoke Dawg out on his Boy Meets World Tour in Europe – also took the time to speak on the loss of his friend:

“All these gifts and blessed souls and inner lights being extinguished lately is devastating. I wish peace would wash over our city. So much talent and so many stories we never get to see play out. Rest up Smoke.”

Kosi’s Prime collective has been instrumental in shaping the current state of Toronto hip-hop, and their crew is also credited with coining the popular term now used to reference Toronto, The 6ix.

Smoke Dawg was just starting to promote his new “Fountain Freestyle” which was shot partly in front of the Atkinson Housing Co-operative (aka P.O.) – a neighbourhood not considered to be on good terms with the Regent Park rapper. This has lead many people online to believe that this played a role in promoting the attack; of course they’re just speculating and the timing could be coincidental.

Another disappointing aspect of this tragic story is that it features another instance of someone feeling the need to pull out their phones and capture someone’s final moments for social media clout. We’re not going to post the footage or even describe it. We also ask that people stop tagging us in the video – and any future videos like this.

It’s disappointing that Instagram knows enough to mark the content as ‘sensitive’ but is cool with making it available on their platform.

Our condolences to the families and friends of both victims of this senseless act.

Rest In Peace, Smoke Dawg.
Rest In Peace, Koba Prime.

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