Family, friends and gang members on Friday bid farewell to slain teen rapper Joseph “Lil JoJo” Coleman in a gangster rap funeral that was tainted by tension and fear, and ended with cops confiscating a loaded .45-caliber pistol.
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While some mourners prayed in the Jones Funeral Home parlor — others smoked weed in the parking lot.
As family members paid their final respects, a crowd of young men eager to take a last look at Lil JoJo’s body surged toward his casket, nearly knocked it to the floor and pushed family members out of the way.
The music stopped. Lil JoJo’s mother, Robin Russell, screamed into the microphone, “Get the f*ck out.”
Minutes later, Chicago police cleared the funeral home at 79th and Kedzie in the Ashburn neighborhood.
Outside, police helicopters hovered overhead as several unmarked squad cars patrolled the streets.
Young men and women — some wearing “RIP JoJo” t-shirts and others flashing gang signs and exchanging gang handshakes — danced and sang along with Lil JoJo’s first song, “3HunnaK.”
The song taunts a violent street gang and may have lead to his murder, police say.
For John Coleman, the parking lot dance party — and even the crush of people who nearly toppled Lil JoJo’s casket — was a testament to how much his half-brother was loved in Englewood.
“Today’s a rough today for me. We grew up together. I’m not feeling right. I’m feeling crazy right now. But s— you see all the people supporting him. He was loved,” John Coleman said. “Everyone wanted to see him. That didn’t make me mad. It makes me feel good. He was respected. He was known and appreciated.”
While the mourners sang outside, pallbearers loaded the casket into a black hearse.
Lil JoJo was gunned down on Sept. 4 while riding double on a bike — standing on the back — when a car pulled up and someone in a car shot and killed him, witnesses said.
He had hoped to get attention from record companies by feuding with Chief Keef, Lil Durk and Lil Reese — rap rivals from the neighborhood who have landed record deals. He wrote “3HunnaK” to call them out as frauds. The song includes a reference to “BDK” — taunt that police say means “Black Disciples Killers.”
Police say Lil JoJo was affiliated with the “Brick Squad” faction of the Gangster Disciples street gang that’s in an ongoing conflict with a faction of the Black Disciples that Chief Keef and his rap associates refer to in their songs and Tweets.
Police believe the Black Disciples may have been responsible for the murder. They also are investigating possible connections between the slaying and Lil JoJo’s feud with Chief Keef, Lil Durk and Lil Reese that played out Twitter and YouTube.
While the funeral procession meandered south to Mt. Hope Cemetery in the Morgan Park neighborhood, police got calls of shots being fired from a white car near 115th and Kedzie. Others called to report someone waving a gun out of a car window.
At the cemetery, mourners gathered around the grave, where Pastor Corey Brooks — the “Rooftop Preacher” — prayed and again called for gang members to set aside their hurt, find God and walk away from the violent thug life that took Lil JoJo’s life.
As her son’s casket was lowered into the ground, Russell wept hard and crumbled into the arms of a friend.
Friends gathering around the grave sadly chanted, “JoJo, JoJo, JoJo.”
Family members pointed at groups of young men who lingered near the grave.
And now…the video.
This is EbenGregory.com…telling Satan to let me people go.