Oak Cliff rapper Deandre Conway’s career was turning a corner at the beginning of 2018. Better known as Yella Beezy, he was fresh off the release of a new album (Lite Work, Vol 2), had just signed a record deal with L.A. Reid’s Hitco and was finally generating buzz outside of Dallas. His album’s breakout hit “That’s on Me” generated enough to catch the eye of Jay-Z and Beyoncé, who invited Conway to open shows for them in Arlington and Houston this September.
Just a little more than a month after the biggest show of his career, Conway was shot three times early Sunday, Oct. 14, on the Sam Rayburn Tollway, Capt. Jesse Hunter of Lewisville's police department says. Conway survived and was hospitalized. They kept him through Monday for observation, Hunter says. No arrests have been made and a motive for the shooting has yet to be determined.
While on the tollway, a vehicle pulled alongside Conway’s and fired more than 12 shots at perhaps the biggest rapper to have ever come out of Dallas.
Conway put out a number of local hits throughout the 2010s. Tracks like “Trapped in Designer” and “Going Through Some Thangs” were known quantities in DFW when Conway started making headlines. He went from local sensation to national news in a relatively short period of time, largely due to his skill as a performer and rapper.
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No matter how deep you delve into his discography, Conway’s music sounds undeniably modern. Melding some of the more contentious rap conventions of the day with a unique, and distinctly Texan, drawling delivery, Yella Beezy rises above the drama of modern rap. In an era when bashing mumble rappers with rapid-fire, multi-linear, internally-rhymed couplets has become a diss track conceit, Conway’s music illustrates that a rapper can both: be lyrical without necessarily enunciating and generate a vibe without repeating the same line for a minute-and-a-half.
“I wanted to be bigger than where I was … I actually want to be somebody,” Conway said in a Rolling Stone interview less than a week before the shooting.
Just nine months after debuting on Dallas radio station K-104, “That’s on Me” was being played across the nation and broke into the top 10 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart at the beginning of October.
The song was still in the top 10 the night before Conway was shot.