10:58am PT by Seth Abramovitch
Slaying of Lil Phat: The Hip-Hop Community Reacts
Police are still hunting for two men seen fleeing from the parking lot in Sandy Springs, Georgia, where rapper Lil Phat, born Melvin Vernell III, was shot multiple times and killed on Thursday night. The 19-year-old was a breakout artist signed to Trill Entertainment -- a hip-hop label based out of Baton Rouge, Lousiana -- whose biggest career success came as a guest-rapper on the 2008 song "Independent" by rapper Webbie, recorded when Lil Phat was only 14.
Webbie and other prominent hip-hop figures have since taken to Twitter with expressions of grief for the loss of the rising star.
"RIP TO MY LIL BROTHER PHAT! LIFE SO F***ED UP! TRILL4LIFE," Webbie tweeted on Thursday night upon learning of Lil Phat's murder. Later that night, a distraught Webbie added, "YOU STUPID B***HES THINK DEATH A JOKE UNTIL YOU LOSE SOMEBODY YOU LOVE! #RIPLILPHAT." The rapper has since been updating his feed with links to Lil Phat song collaborations.
Upon first hearing rumors of Lil Phat's slaying, Lil Boosie, who also appeared on "Independent," first tweeted, "My phone blowing up everybody asking me is my bro Lil Phat dead! Man I hope not!" When the news was confirmed, a shocked and saddened Boosie later wrote, "Sitting here thinking about them days & nights in Trill Studio and at my broLil Phat house making hits in the studio #RIPPhat."
Rapper Bun B, formely of duo UnderGround Kingz, tweeted, "Damn. RIP Lil Phat. Be strong Mel. This is so f***ed up. Known him damn near all his life," while similar expressions of senselessness and disbelief were paid by Mack Maine, an artist and president of Young Money Entertainment, and Atlanta-based rapper Future/Freebandz, who asked his followers to "Po a 4 for lil phat! #chuuch #RIP."
Gorilla Zoe, another rapper who moved in Lil Phat's circles, wrote, " #RIP Lil Phat Trill Ent Life's Crazy," while Washington D.C.-based artist Fattrel shared, "STILL CANT BLEAVE DA HOMIE LIL PHAT DEAD THO...DA TRAPz BEEN QUIET ALL OVA DA U.S!!! I KNO DEY HAVE."
In the radio world, Charlamagne Tha God, a morning DJ on Power 105, tweeted, "RIP Lil Phat #TRILL #breakfastclub105."