Why is the internet so obsessed with rapper PnB Rock’s death?


News this week that US rapper RnB Rock had been shot dead during a robbery at a chicken and waffle restaurant in LA became the highest Google search in New Zealand, and one of the biggest topics of debate and conversation on social media.

The rapper, whose full name was Rakim Allen, had previously collaborated with Ed Sheeran and Chance the Rapper on the song Cross me, but PnB Rock was not a mainstream chart-topping artist.

Philadelphia rapper PnB Rock was shot inside a Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles LA restaurant on Tuesday, sparking debate over how he was targeted.

Owen Sweeney

Philadelphia rapper PnB Rock was shot inside a Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles LA restaurant on Tuesday, sparking debate over how he was targeted.

The father of two’s biggest hit was his 2016 track Selfish, which peaked at number 51 on the Billboard 100.

Chances are, if not for the fatal shooting on Tuesday, many people would not have heard of PnB Rock. So why has his death sent the Internet into a frenzy? When it comes to this particular story, it all comes down to debate around whether the rapper was targeted through social media, and the internet is going crazy for it.

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The girlfriend’s Instagram Post

Shortly before the shooting in LA, the rapper’s girlfriend Stephanie Bounheuan posted a since-deleted Instagram story tagging the couple’s location.

That story has become the subject of Twitter and reddit debates. One one side are those claiming the post resulted in the rapper being targeted, and the LAPD have said the Instagram post “may have led” to the killing.

Others, though are pointing out the insensitivity of casting blame on Bounheuan who had just witnessed her partner, and father of her child, be shot and killed. Many are also pointing out the couple were in a notoriously dangerous part of LA, and his vehicle and jewellery could have made him a target regardless of social media posts.

Even high profile artists in the RnB and rap world have entered the debate. Cardi B Tweeted on Tuesday, saying the killers would not have been checking Bounheuan’s Instagram.

“It’s very irresponsible and inconsiderate to blame her for something so tragic. We should be sending nothing but love to her and his family at this time,” she Tweeted.

Outspoken rapper Nicki Minaj, wrote a Tweet referencing Pop Smoke, a US rapper who was killed in 2020 after accidently posting his address on an Instagram story.

“After Pop Smoke there’s no way we as rappers or our loved ones are still posting locations to our whereabouts.”

The rapper himself, some users are pointing out, even posted a since-expired story on his own social media hours before the fatal shooting wearing the jewellery he was robbed for.

As for Allen’s girlfriend? Her Instagram account has been deactivated. An unverified account claiming to her backup account has been created.

The video circulation on social media

Disturbing footage of the rapper after he was shot, was taken by a patron at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Inglewood and posted and circulated on Reddit and Twitter shortly after the robbery.

The footage, which shows the rapper unconscious on the floor of the restaurant while staff try to help him, has been shared and debated countless times on Twitter, and continues to do the rounds.

“That video of PnB Rock shot and laying in his own blood should have never hit the internet,’ one user wrote in a Tweet that had been retweeted more than 20,000 times on Wednesday.

“We’re so numb to this shit and lack common f…… decency and decorum. He has a family that shouldn’t have to see that. Everything ain’t meant to be shared. Damn.”

PnB Rock’s interview talking recent robbery fears

A week before his death, the rapper spoke with DJ Akademiks in an interview about a recent brush with suspected gang members and his fear it could have turned dangerous.

Rapper PnB Rock spoke to DJ Akademiks in a recent interview about recent robbery attempts.

Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Rapper PnB Rock spoke to DJ Akademiks in a recent interview about recent robbery attempts.

“A week ago.. PNB Rock talked about a prior situation where he felt some people were trying to do something to him,” Akademiks Tweeted with the interview clip.

In the clip, PnB Rock says he felt he was being targeted and urged his girlfriend to escape the situation but she was not concerned. He also said he felt lucky to avoid being robbed throughout his life.

“I never got robbed, never in my life. I ain’t gonna say never ’cause I’m not superstitious or nothing like that, but I haven’t been robbed,” he said.

The interview has been gaining traction on social media, both for the timing, and the fact the rapper spoke of his girlfriend’s relaxed attitude to the gang members.

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