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Monday, December 14, 2015

Rapper Swagg Huncho of 3 Problems Shot Dead in St. Louis

Posted By on Mon, Dec 14, 2015 at 3:20 PM

Swagg Huncho (left) was killed on Sunday, just seven months after he and Lil Tay were featured in the Riverfront Times. - PHOTO BY BEN WESTHOFF
  • Photo by Ben Westhoff
  • Swagg Huncho (left) was killed on Sunday, just seven months after he and Lil Tay were featured in the Riverfront Times.

An 18-year-old Ferguson rapper once featured by Rolling Stone was gunned down on Sunday morning in north St. Louis.

Police found the lifeless body of James Johnson Jr., better known as Swagg Huncho, shortly after 10 a.m. in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood. He’d been shot in the head at least twice by an unknown killer, authorities said.

Johnson, who lived in Ferguson, was one-third of 3 Problems, a talented St. Louis-based group featured over the summer in Rolling Stone and the Riverfront Times. The trio put its music out over social media without the backing of a major label. One of their most popular, “For a FCKNIGGA,” has been watched more than 425,000 times on YouTube.

SEE ALSO: Rap Group 3 Problems Could Be St. Louis' Next Breakout Act. Here Are Their Best Videos

When one of the members, Relly Rell, was sentenced to a decade in prison for second-degree murder, Johnson and Lil Tray pushed on as a duo.

Their songs focused on the roughneck life and desperate choices they and other young men faced in north county neighborhoods. 

“As far as bein’ in the streets,” he told the RFT in May, “we really in the streets.”

In an eerily prophetic comment, the group’s Spanish Lake producer, Playboy, told the RFT in the same story that the violence of St. Louis had stopped many local performers before they could make it big. “They either got killed or fell off,” Playboy said.

Swagg Huncho is now another sad casualty.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.

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