Rising Wisconsin rap star Big Wan was killed in a shooting in Milwaukee on Friday. The artist was just 19.
The city police department is investigating Big Wan’s death as a homicide, reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and he was shot at approximately 9:05 a.m. Friday morning on a residential block, according to a police report seeking leads on the shooter.
A longtime family friend, Hilda Alayeto, said Big Wan — born Dawan Turner — was staying at the home with his mother and grandmother. He was in an upstairs bedroom at the time of the shooting, the Journal Sentinel reported based on a Milwaukee County medical examiner’s findings.
Big Wan’s tragic death comes just months after Pitchfork included him in a profile of Milwaukee’s growing street rap scene last March.
“Big Wan is the city’s finest s–t-talker,” the publication praised Big Wan. “He’s behind some of the most fun rap in a city that has no shortage of it right now.”
With help from his mentor, local rapper Wonderbread Rie, he began recording music as a preteen and quickly developed a reputation for being easygoing, fun and kind, said Alayeto.
“He was just so humble,” said his manager Will Norton, better known as Baggz, according to the Journal Sentinel. “He just picked up on everything and he never disagreed. He listened. He was just focused on really making it.”
Family friends recalled Turner as a charismatic sweetheart.
“He liked to make people laugh and smile,” said Alayeto, who was the best friend of 30 years to his mother, reported the Milwaukee paper. Alayeto knew Turner his entire life and even planned his baby shower. “Dawan was very lovable. He’s always the kid to hug you, to make sure you are OK. He was almost like a big teddy bear,” she remembered.