featured performances by virtually every nationally known hip-hop artist from St. Louis, including local legend Nelly and his crew the St. Lunatics.
But as the near-sellout crowd filed into the Delmar Loop venue, they were informed that 21-year-old St. Louis rapper Huey
, best known for his 2007 hit single "Pop, Lock & Drop It"
had been scratched from the line-up at the last minute.
According to the concert's promoter and organizer, Huey was asked to not perform because he may have been the target of a triple-homicide that occurred in downtown St. Louis earlier this month.
In that incident, three men were gunned down
at the intersection of 18th and Market streets at about 2:30 a.m. on Friday, May 8. They had just left a concert by rapper Yo Gotti at Club Society, located near Union Station and were idling at a stoplight when another car pulled up alongside them and fired multiple times, killing them instantly.
DJ AJ of St. Louis radio station The Beat
(100.3 FM), the organizer and promoter of Sunday's show, says the decision to remove Huey from the bill was made on Saturday night when Pageant management told him that St. Louis police believe Huey (real name: Lawrence Franks Jr.) was in the vicinity of the May 8 drive-by.
"I had no idea his name was even being thrown around on good side or bad side," AJ says. "He was supposedly a car behind or two cars behind the car that got shot up. The police are saying he was the intended target."
Schron Jackson, a spokeswoman for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, ruled out Huey as a suspect in the case but offered no further details and would not comment about whether the rapper was the intended victim.
"Nobody on the bill or that was scheduled to be on the bill on Sunday night is a suspect in the triple homicide," Jackson says. "I'm very limited about what I can say about the case because it's an ongoing investigation."
Police have yet to make an arrest in connection with the shooting and Jackson says she is unsure if detectives have any suspects.
Pageant manager Pat Hagin declined to comment when asked if he spoke with police about their investigation.
"All I know is the organizers pulled him from the bill," Hagin says. "Anything done that night by the promoters and the venue was basically a safety concern."
Huey could not be reached for comment. Neither his booking agency nor representatives from his label, Jive Records, returned phone messages inquiring about their client's connection to the shooting.
DJ AJ says Huey's management "agreed his was best for him not to show" at the concert on Sunday and that the rapper also canceled a scheduled appearance on Saturday night at a listening party to promote his new album Strictly Business, which is slated for release later this year.
A concert at the Pageant this past