The man who was shot last week in Minneapolis and died a day after turning 24 years old was an aspiring rapper with plans to shoot a music video on his birthday, his sister and a business associate of his said Tuesday.
Dwante B. Benson, who has been recording as “Poppy Loco” since 2013, died Saturday at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC).
Benson and a 21-year-old Minneapolis woman were shot about 9 p.m. on Sept. 12 in the 4300 block of 4th Avenue S., according to police. The woman was wounded in the arm and taken to HCMC for medical attention.
No arrests have been made as of Tuesday, and police have yet to address a motive for the gunfire. Benson is the city’s 29th homicide victim of the year, compared to 24 at this time last year.
Benson “has been ... one of the top urban underground artists in the city as far as YouTube views,” said Santana Smith, whose MinnesotaColdTV has been producing videos for Benson for nearly three years. “He was one of my first artists getting on the channel. He was a pretty promising artist.”
Benson’s videos often touched on themes of violence and race, and they collected hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. “The Number 1 Gunna” has drawn some 165,000 views in the past year.
Smith said Benson was about to drop a mixed tape of songs in mid-October for download on the hip-hop and R&B site DatPiff.com.
In an interview posted on MinnesotaColdTV in March, Benson said he moved to the Twin Cities as a baby with his mother from Chicago after his father died.
“My mom wanted a better life for me,” he said.
Lexi Benson said her brother was arranging to rent a house online for his birthday “and have a get-together and play his mixed tape and shoot a video.”
Benson’s sister said he was the father of seven children and expecting an eighth.
In his music “he talked about everything from his life,” Lexi Benson said, “all the things he went through, his kids and making it [as a rapper] one day. His music was his life.”
Benson, described by his sister as a devout Muslim, will be remembered Wednesday at the Burnsville Masjid, 1351 Riverwood Drive. Viewing begins at 11:30 a.m. and will be followed with daily prayer at 12:30 p.m. and a service at 1 p.m. While everyone is welcome, the memorial announcement read, the wearing of Islamic attire by attendees is preferred.