Dec 31, 2007 Staff Writer Uncategorized
Another Syracuse gangsta rapper is dead.
Tramarra Harrell, a.k.a. Booga, was apparently stabbed to death during a closing-time altercation Dec. 29, at The Wet Spot, 950 Spencer St.
Harrell, 24, had reportedly performed some of his original hip-hop songs there on Friday Dec. 28.
He was the city’s 21st murder victim of 2007. The previous year saw 14 slayings.
As of late Sunday night, Dec. 30, Syracuse Police investigators still had no suspects and no known motive.
Among Harrell’s survivors are his three children.
A show hosted by G-Rollin Studio had been advertised for Dec. 28 at The Wet Spot, a relatively new bar and restaurant specializing in tropical drinks and Caribbean fare, such as jerk chicken and coconut shrimp. The Spot presented live music most Friday and Saturday nights.
G-Rollin Studio is a multi-faceted shop at 1918 South Ave., which offers recording services, as well as sales of hip-hop-style clothing and accessories.
The Dec. 28 performances featured special guest Kaz-Lethal, plus Lino Cordova, Electric Relaxation and Shameka B-Day, along with music by DJ M.U., according to online ads.
It wasn’t clear whether Harrell performed with one of those acts or as a solo open-mic performer. Four other Wet Spot patrons were slightly injured in the 2 a.m. melee. They were treated at University Hospital and released.
Unlike many gangsta rappers whose lyrics glorify misogyny, drug use and violence, Booga’s music stressed positive messages, according to his friends.
An earlier murder
On the other hand, police pointed out that the stabbing victim had several previous brushes with the law including one on Dec. 10 when he failed to fully cooperate during a murder investigation.
Nineteen days before his murder, Harrell was charged with felony hindering prosecution following the Nov. 26 gunshot death of 28-year-old DuUwezo Ross.
Courtney J. Saunders, 21, was charged with murder and weapons possession after he allegedly shot Ross in the back outside a South Geddes Street store on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
Police believe the Nov. 26 shooting occurred after a drug deal went bad.
Harrell, who was driving a car in which Saunders was riding Dec. 10 at Great Northern Mall in Cicero, allegedly provided investigators with an incorrect identification for Saunders, who was arrested anyway.
Over the past six years, police said, Harrell had been arrested twice on drug charges.
Is it possible the Wet Spot stabbing might be related somehow to the Nov. 26 murder of DuUwezo Ross? No doubt, SPD detectives are considering such connections.
Skiddy Park shooting
Two years ago, according to police records, Harrell had been shot in the leg on Fitch Street.
Around that same time, on May 21, 2005, another aspiring rapper and father of three, 22-year-old Joseph Tirado Jr., was fatally gunned down in broad daylight outside his apartment at the corner of Tully and Tioga streets, right across from Skiddy Park playground.
Two other local gangsta rappers — Francisco Jimenez, 23, and Tony Cepeda, 22, (a.k.a. FlacO and Wuano) — were jailed on murder charges after that shooting.
Jimenez and Cepeda made demos of Spanish songs at KD Records here while Tirado’s family said he had recently been signed to Jive Records. Tirado’s stage name was Ace & Vegas.
Will Wet Spot recover?
While news of another young life being snuffed out is bad enough, the news could get worse for local nightclubbers. A murder at a club inevitably threatens the nightspot’s future.
The Wet Spot, co-owned by Jennifer Russo and Allessandro Bortoloni, aspired to offer CNYers something truly different, Caribbean and Latino food in a colorful setting along with cutting-edge hip-hop, R&B and reggae music.
It would be a shame if Booga’s untimely death leads to the demise of this adventurous Spencer Street venture.
While the West Spot’s downstairs bar and performance space has a reported capacity of 237, police believe no more than 60 people were in attendance at the time of the Dec. 28 stabbing.
The location had previously housed Claudia’s 950 Club and, for many years before that, it was home to Sauro’s, a popular Italian eatery and banquet facility.