The East Bay rapper known as The Jacka — born Dominic Newton, though he converted to Islam at a fairly young age and went by Shaheed Akbar for much of his adult life — died Monday night of a gunshot wound in East Oakland, according to several Bay Area news sources. Neighbors reported hearing gunshots around 8:15 p.m. near the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and 94th Avenue, and police responded to the scene soon after.
[jump] No suspects have been identified as of 1 a.m. Tuesday morning. The MC was 37.
A native of Pittsburg, California, the rapper's first break came as a member of the group Mob Figaz, whose debut, C-Bo's Mob Figaz, dropped in 1999. He released the first of about a dozen solo efforts, Jacka of the Mob Figaz, in 2001, hand-delivering and shipping many of the 30,000 albums sold himself. Tear Gas, in 1999, featuring other Bay Area icons like Andre Nickatina, was the Jacka's best charting album to date. Other collaborators over the course of the rapper's career included a laundry list of Bay Area hip-hop stars, including E-40, Mac Dre, Mistah F.A.B., and more.
The MC's most recent album, What Happened To the World — released just under two months ago, in December 2014 — was hailed by critics as his best in many years, with Pitchfork declaring that the rapper should be recognized as one of “the last decade's strongest writers — both within and outside of hip-hop.” He had also recently founded his own label, called The Artist Records.
Below, just a few tracks from the Jacka's nearly 20-year career. We'll update this post when we know more.