Thessy Modekwe, left, and her son Ernest “Kosi” Modekwe are seen in this undated handout photo. Friends and family of two men gunned down in Toronto’s Entertainment District over the weekend said the two emerging rappers in the city’s music scene will be remembered for their talent and ambition. Jahvante Smart, 21, known as Smoke Dawg and Ernest (Kosi) Modekwe, 28, known as Koba Prime, were fatally shot Saturday evening. Police said a woman was also shot, but she is expected to recover.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Chinasa Modekwe *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Two men from Toronto rap scene shot dead

Smoke Dawg and Koba Prime were fatally shot Saturday evening

Friends and family of two men gunned down in Toronto’s Entertainment District over the weekend said the two emerging artists in the city’s rap scene will be remembered for their hard work and ambition.

Jahvante Smart, 21, known as Smoke Dawg and Ernest (Kosi) Modekwe, 28, known as Koba Prime, were fatally shot Saturday evening. Police said a woman was also shot, but she is expected to recover.

Canadian record producer Shane Lindstrom, also known as Murda Beatz, said in an interview Monday that he was close with both Smart and Modekwe.

He said on the weekend before the shooting, Modekwe texted him at about 3 p.m. saying, “I love you, baby.”

“He would say stuff like that when he was out having fun,” said Lindstrom. “It’s heartbreaking. I didn’t see (the text) right away.”

RELATED: Man, 21, charged in Toronto playground shooting that injured 2 young girls

Modekwe was the brand manager for a hip-hop collective called Prime, said family and friends. In April, billboards of the group towered over Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square when they released their song “Sopranos.” The group also launched a clothing line last year with, which Modekwe modelled for.

Lindstrom said when he found out about the shooting, he kept trying to reach Smart and Modekwe.

“When I heard what was going on, I knew (Kosi) was with Smoke, so I texted Kosi saying, ‘I love you bro. When you get this call me, please, please, please,’” he said.

The two men were rushed to hospital following the shooting, but both succumbed to their injuries, police said.

Smart released his first single in 2015 and was on Drake’s Boy Meets World tour. Drake posted on Instagram a photo of him and Smart performing together with the caption, “Rest up Smoke.”

“Kosi was one of my best friends,” Lindstrom said. “Smoke was like a brother to me. It’s definitely a loss for Toronto, they’ll always be remembered.”

Smart’s family released a statement Sunday saying that he leaves behind a one-year-old daughter and 13 siblings.

“As a young man from Regent Park, he overcame poverty and grew into a responsible caring grown man who took care of his friends and family,” the statement said. ”He helped people wherever he could and will be remembered for his huge smile and glowing personality.”

Lindstrom said he met both Smart and Modekwe in Toronto about four years ago and they instantly became friends. He said they would get together when Lindstrom would visit Toronto about once a month.

RELATED: Man faces 48 charges in string of random Toronto shootings

Modekwe grew up in Toronto’s west end with his single mother and two younger siblings.

“He was the oldest so he was always trying to take care of me, my brother and my mom,” said his sister Chinasa Modekwe in an interview.

She said Modekwe worked multiple part-time jobs to help pay the bills and later bought the family laptops and took their mother on her first vacation.

“He was a good man, with a lot of dreams, a lot of aspirations,” Chinasa said. “He had so much life in him, he had the biggest heart.”

A basketball star growing up, Modekwe played his the high school team and then for fun while he studied criminology at the University of Toronto.

He wanted to be a lawyer, Chinasa said, but her brother’s real passion was music as he was inspired by Kanye West, The Notorious B.I.G. and Drake.

One of the Prime members posted on Instagram on Sunday that he and Modekwe met in 2004 and were best friends for 14 years.

“His energy was like no other, he made everyone smile, made people feel happy, he would light any room, no matter how dark it was. It was very easy to be Kosi’s friend, he was a definition of friend,” Jermane Prime said in the post.

“Kosi was everything to Prime, everything to my career, my life, if it wasn’t for Kosi, I wouldn’t be alive, he literally saved my life once.”

There has been a string of shootings in Toronto in the past few weeks. On Sunday night, four people were injured after shots were fired downtown, and last month two young sisters were wounded during a shooting at a community playground.

Police statistics for 2018 indicate there were 199 shootings in the city as of June 25, and 22 people killed by gun violence. This time last year, there were 170 shootings and 16 killed by gun violence.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford released a statement on Monday expressing his condolences to the victims.

“This has been a very difficult summer in our city, and thoughts and prayers just aren’t going to cut it anymore. We need action,” he said.

“I am looking forward to meeting with representatives from the Toronto police in the near future so we can get to work on a strategy to end this senseless violence.”

A vigil for Modekwe took place on Sunday night and a vigil for Smart is planned for Monday night.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File)
Two more Kelowna flights flagged as having COVID-19 aboard

A flight from Vancouver to Kelowna and a flight from Kelowna to Edmonton have been identified

Kelowna City Hall has been vandalized overnight. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna City Hall hit by anti-pandemic vandalism

Graffiti condemning the virus appears overnight on City Hall

Aberdeen Hall and St. Joseph Catholic School have confirmed cases of COVID-19. (Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School - Facebook)
COVID-19 cases confirmed at two private Kelowna schools

Aberdeen Hall and St. Joseph Catholic School communities have been made aware

DriveBC camera.
Vehicle into ditch on Highway 97C

The crash happened about 8:15 a.m. Tuesday

Pringles.
Morning Start: The inventor of the Pringles can is now buried in one

Your morning start for Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

Spallumcheen's Lloyd Main stands behind his record-breaking 1,000 pound pumpkin at the weigh-in of the annual Pumpkin Growing contest, part of the Armstrong-Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce's Harvest Pumpkin Festival Saturday, Oct. 17, at the IPE Grounds. (AS Chamber Photo)
1,000 lb pumpkin tips North Okanagan scale

Spallumcheen’s Lloyd and Erma Main finish one-two with a pair of gourds totalling almost a ton

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The ‘new normal’ for hockey parents in Chilliwack and elsewhere in B.C., watching their kids from outside of the arena due to COVID-19 protocols. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack hockey parents petition to be let back in the arena

Refused access due to pandemic protocols, parents are now applying pressure to loosen the rules

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Remembrance Day Ceremony at Kal Tire Place will not take place this year due to COVID-19. (Morning Star file photo)
Remembrance Day closed to public in North Okanagan

Traditional events cannot take place under current health rules

Photo courtesy of DriveBC twitter.
Vehicle incident on Highway 1 west of Field

According to DriveBC, crews are en route to a scene just west of Field along Hwy 1

Most Read