COLUMBIA, SC — Large crowds are expected this weekend as friends and family say goodbye to local rapper Speaker Knockerz.
The rapper, whose given name was Derek McAllister, was found dead March 6 in his garage. The cause of death has not been determined but Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said there were no signs of trauma.
His weekend memorial features a Saturday afternoon visitation at a funeral home, a party at a Vista nightclub and a homegoing celebration at a church.
Cynthia Hardy, a Columbia talk radio host, is representing the family, and she tweeted earlier this week that thousands of people are expected to attend the various events.
Speaker Knockerz was not well-known in mainstream music, but he had a large following online. His Twitter account has more than 72,000 followers and hundreds of thousands of people have watched his YouTube rap videos. His video for the song “Rico Story Trilogy” has nearly 3.5 million views.
His parents, Mesha Wilson and Derek McAllister Sr., released a statement through Hardy, thanking the public for the calls, text messages and other acts of kindness shown after their son’s death.
“The love and respect shown by his awesome fans and supporters, industry icons, publications and websites are humbling to us,” the statement said. “We take comfort in knowing Derek’s hard work and dedication brought him so much joy and connected him to millions throughout the country and around the world. We also find great joy in knowing how far, wide and deep his efforts resonated throughout the music industry.”
Fans are selling $15 T-shirts online to wear to the events.
The event schedule:
• Viewing and visitation, 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Leevy’s Funeral Home, 1831 Taylor St.
• Music industry and fans memorial tribute and celebration of life, 6-9 p.m., Lucky 13, 920 Lady St.
• Homegoing celebration, 2 p.m. Sunday, Bible Way Church of Atlas Road, 2440 Atlas Road.
Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.