January 11, 2019
The rapper and outspoken advocate for the LGBT community Kevin Fret has been shot dead in Puerto Rico aged 24.
The musician, described as Latin Trap music’s first openly gay artist, was killed in the capital San Juan on Thursday morning, police said.
Fret was shot at eight times while riding a motorbike in the street, and he was hit in the head and hip.
His death brings the number of murders in Puerto Rico this year to 22, police added.
Confirming his death, Fret’s manager Eduardo Rodriguez said: “There are no words that describe the feeling we have and the pain that causes us to know that a person with so many dreams has to go.
“We must all unite in these difficult times, and ask for much peace for our beloved Puerto Rico.”
Fret was out in the Santurce neighbourhood of San Juan at 5:30 local time (9:30 GMT) on Thursday when he was fatally shot.
He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was declared dead.
Police are now searching for another man on a motorcycle who was with Fret when he was found, but quickly fled the scene.
There is no immediate indication of a motive, and an investigation is under way.
Puerto Rico has seen a rise in street crime in recent weeks, which has been described by police on the Caribbean island as a “crisis of violence”.
Who is Kevin Fret?
The Puerto Rican was a rising trap artist in the Latin trap scene, and his debut music video, Soy Asi (I’m Like This), has more than half a million views on YouTube.
Mr Rodriguez described the rapper as “an artistic soul” who had a passion for music. “He still had a lot left to do.”
“[Now I see] young gay guys or young lesbians that are looking at me now like a role model, like wow, if he did it, and he don’t care what anybody else has to say, I can do it.”
However, Fret’s rise to prominence was not without turbulence – while living in Miami last year, he was charged with battery after a fight, media reported.
He said he had been attacked because of his sexuality, and threw a metal bottle at the man.
Fret has also responded strongly to homophobic threats in the lyrics of a rival musician, making some of his supporters wonder whether his murder was motivated by hate.
What is trap music?
Trap is a style of Southern hip hop, popularised in the late 90s and early 00s. It is characterised by its use of multilayered energetic and hard-hitting sounds, and overall dark atmosphere.
The word “trap” refers to where drug deals happen, and the lyrics, which are both sung and rapped, often reflect the poverty, violence and street life that artists have faced.
The Latin variant of the genre gained popularity in the Caribbean in the 2010s, and is typically sung in Spanish.
It mixes American trap, rhythm and blues and local sounds like Puerto Rican reggaeton.
Well-known Latin trap rappers like Bad Bunny, Messiah and Ozuna have collaborated with mainstream hip hop artists like Drake and Cardi B.