The trappings of inner-city life are evident in many of those who have had to experience it. Growing up in or near a housing project can lead to many tumultuous situations. The terrain of public housing is a breeding ground for congregation. Factor in the extreme poverty, and public housing projects have become hubs for all kinds of illegal drug and gang activities.
It doesn’t take much to falter in those conditions and for some, making it out without succumbing to the influences of the streets can feel like walking in quicksand. With that in mind, when someone does have a chance to escape the repetitive cycle of implodement, it is met with contrasting feelings and behaviors. Some live vicariously through the impending defect-ee, while it breeds contempt within others.
Such was the case for up-and-coming rap star, Stack Bundles. Hailing from Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway, Queens, one of the most dangerous housing projects in New York, where death had become the norm, according to the New York Times.
Mourning the murdered has become a familiar routine at the Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway, Queens. First there are the makeshift memorials, with flowers and candles and a smattering of personal items. Then, the dead often get more permanent epitaphs scrawled on the walls of the apartment house they called home.
Born Rayquon Elliott, the slain rapper had made a name for himself with his “compelling raps, magnetic personality, and unique fashion sense.” Which gave him the attention of Dipset general, Jim Jones. Along came ByrdGang (Jones’ crew) affiliation and a prominent feature on Jim Jones’ “Weatherman,” with Lil Wayne.
The record’s success meant Stack Bundles was invited to go on tour with Lil Wayne, where he began to cultivate relationships with Wayne and other important figures in the music industry. He already had strong ties with Jones, Wayne, DJ Clue, Lupe Fiasco and Funk Flex, amongst others. It seemed as though a record deal and a major-label debut was inevitable.
Unfortunately, not every rags-to-riches tale comes to fruition. And on June 11, 2007, a 24-year-old Stack Bundles was fatally shot as he was heading into his apartment building at 5 a.m. Having spent the night out with friends at a Manhattan nightclub, he was approached by an unknown number of assailants and shot in his head and neck as he entered his building, according to relatives and acquaintances.
Per routine, a small memorial was set up outside Stack Bundles’ building and included candles, copies of CDs he had recorded and a White Castle bag he had been carrying when he was killed.
Stack Bundles is recognized as a Far Rockaway legend, yet his legend serves as a harrowing reminder that no matter how close one is to making it out, the drawbacks of the inner-city wait for no one.