PnB Rock, the Philadelphia rapper known for hits like “Selfish” and “Everyday We Lit,” is dead after a fatal shooting in Los Angeles yesterday, The Los Angeles Times confirms. The artist, real name Rakim Allen, was 30 years old.
Per Los Angeles police Capt. Kelly Muniz, a shooting took place around 1:15 P.M. PT, at Roscoes Chicken & Waffle House—Muniz did not identify the victim by name. Allen had been on a date at the restaurant with his girlfriend, who posted a now-deleted story of their dinner out with the location tagged.
Muniz states that the assailant entered the restaurant brandishing a firearm and demanded the victim hand over personal items. Per Muniz, the victim was shot almost immediately during the confrontation. “He shot the victim and ran out the side door to a getaway car and then fled the parking lot,” she tells The Times. The victim was officially pronounced dead at 1:59 P.M. PT.
Born in Philadelphia in 1991, Allen told Paper Magazine in 2017 that a passion for music first sparked within him when he heard Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” on the radio while in juvenile detention for a robbery—Allen was 17.
“I never heard anybody sing, rap, and making it smooth for the girls. If I had a choice to only make one type of music it would be some melody shit,” Allen explained. “I’m melodic. I give you personal shit.” Jailed again at 19 as part of a cycle he explained he was desperate to break, Allen listened to a lot of Drake’s 2011 album Take Care, especially taking to the moody sadness of “Marvin’s Room.” When he got his hands on a keyboard ahead of a penitentiary move, he finally tried his hand at writing his own music. By 2017, he was on the XXL Freshman List.
Allen’s smooth and often goofily sweet hits drew the rapper largely female audiences, something he was unabashedly proud of in the often misogynistic and male-dominated world of trap music. Terminology from his 2015 track “Fleek” went viral on Vine as a soundtrack for getting dressed up and feeling good about yourself.
“People don’t understand that [women] are the ones who really control everything,” he told Paper. “She’s the one in the passenger seat with the aux cord telling you what’s new and hot.”
Female or not, Allen was devoted to his fans and perfecting his craft for them, paying his way onto stages to perform before he could merit his own headlining set and staying in touch with some fans for years on end.
“I remember there was like a group of little girls and they were like cousins and shit. I still fuck with them to this day, but they just got so much older and I can’t just be keeping as much as we used to back in the day. But they used to be writing me some funny ass shit and they kept me in tune with the streets,” he told Billboard in 2019. “...I want them to know I definitely still remember that shit. I remember their handles on social media and everything.”
In one of Allen’s last interviews, a September 2 sit-down for DJ Akademiks’ podcast Off The Record, Allen spoke candidly about facing violence in LA, even mentioning getting robbed while with his girlfriend and young daughter. Allen said that after his older brother died, he became more superstitious.
“It’s just been something in me that just let me know, like this shit real life,” Allen said. “I done seen people die. I done been around people that died…. Anybody can die.”
Allen’s death is part of a troubling string of fatal violence against young, prominent rappers. In February 2020, rapper Pop Smoke (real name Bashar Barakah Jackson) was killed in a Hollywood Hills home invasion—authorities believe a location tagged social media post led the offenders to his home. Since then, countless more rappers including King Von, Young Dolph, Trouble, and JayDaYoungan have died in similar shootings.