Next week, a number of New York rappers will hold a benefit concert in the aftermath of the death of up-and-coming rapper Mike Beck, who was gunned down on October 30 in Brooklyn, New York. Former Diplomats member Hell Rell, Grafh, Littles, Saigon, Maino, Papoose and Webstar are just a few of the people who plan to come out and support their fallen soldier, with proceeds going to Beck's young son.
"Mike Beck was a good friend of mine outside of music," Maino said. "It's sad because it's hard making the transition from the streets to the music industry, so this could have been me five years ago when I didn't have a deal. When I was coming up I fought the same demons trying to convert from one lifestyle, which was my street upbringing, to the next, that being entertainment ... living right and steering clear of the streets, roadblocks and downfalls."
The show, which takes place Monday at the Imperial nightclub in New York City, will be hosted by radio DJ Kay Slay and Fuse TV personality Dee Vasquez. Prior to the lineup of artists slated to perform in Beck's honor, a number of speakers are expected to address the ongoing violence that continues to plague the community.
"I felt doing this show was the least I could do for a friend," said Maino who alongside club promoter Littles organized the event, told MTV News in a statement. "I'm raising money to send his 10-year-old son to college. What's the point in me making it out of the same web he was fatally trapped in if I can't give back? This is what real people are supposed to do: give back.
"I met Mike Beck for the first time when he performed at the 2006 [Urban] DVD Awards, an event I put together," said Maino. "Mike reached out to me on many other occasions through many good friends, but timing didn't allow us to build the friendship I know he built with some of my closest friends. Once I heard the news, me, Maino and a friend of ours agreed it was a must. We had to do something for his son."
Rapper Saigon echoed the same sentiments: "I'm just doing whatever I can to support a fallen comrade. He was a good brother. Anything to help support his family, I'm all for it. R.I.P. to the homie."
Beck was a member of the Fat Joe-associated K.A.R. (Kill All Rats) group and an aspiring rapper who was well known in New York's underground circuit. News of his death sent shockwaves throughout the industry.
"Rest in peace. He was a real dude, Mike Beck," rapper Noreaga said via Twitter. "I did records for him n he ate in my crib, n drank too. F---ed up my weekend. R.I.P. Rest in peace Mike Beck, our running challenge is now dedicated to his memory."
Fat Joe also remembered his friend on Twitter, simply writing, "R.I.P. Mike Beck!!!!!"
After a five-year stint in upstate New York's Coxsackie Correctional Facility, where he met Maino, Beck pursued a career in hip-hop on the advice of then-manager Bill Blass, who died shortly after Beck's release. The young rapper aligned himself with K.A.R., most notably rapper Pistol Pete, who, along with Fat Joe, released the independent street album K.A.R., which featured appearances by Jadakiss, DJ Khaled, Sheek Louch and more.
This summer MTV caught up with Beck, who came out to support Maino on the set of his video for "A Million Bucks," where the Brooklynite expounded on his sound.
"We doing music. At the end of the day, people gotta recognize what we doing and respect what we doing. 'Cause we doing music," he said. "We ain't just doing the battle stuff. We doing respectable stuff. Music, it brings emotion. It brings feeling. So they gotta respect what we doing."