CHICAGO — Hip-hop star Twista is still reeling over the death of his bodyguard, Davy Easterling.
"It's definitely something you don't want to happen to someone you love," the Chicago rapper said of Easterling — who was shot, had his throat slit and then was set on fire.
"I'm real upset, man. How long I've been repping this city, and right now I hate that violence is the notoriety we've got," Twista said during an interview with DNAinfo Chicago. "Definitely I think everyone should be a strong advocate for ending this whole 'Chiraq' thing."
Justin Breen discusses his interview with Twista:
Twista, 40, who grew up in K-Town in North Lawndale, still lives within the city limits in what he described as a "low-key neighborhood."
"Let's just say I live ... where I feel safe," he said. "In K-Town, this is something you see on a regular basis. It's just unfortunate it happened to someone so close."
Asked if he was scared to still reside in Chicago, Twista said: "Hell, yes."
"Even now the only reason I'm able to survive is knowing how to move," he said. "I was blessed with the personality where I could get along with people. When my buildup and hype was so big, I would have to watch what areas I would live in.
"At some point, I might be ready to move out of the city, or I'll pick out another spot to stick around. So far, I'm glad I'm able to stay here."
Easterling, 31, of Chatham, who was found dead in a burned-out building, had been drinking the night of Feb. 20 with two women, one of them the girlfriend of his alleged killer, Matthew X. Jackson, prosecutors said.
Jackson, 25, who lives only a few blocks away from Easterling in the 8000 block of South Champlain Avenue, was charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery in the case.
"The details came out, the females he was hanging out with, it's real unfortunate," said Twista, whose real name is Carl Mitchell. "The only positive is they caught the person, and there will be some type of closure."
Twista said a key to ending Chicago's violence will be keeping busy and off the streets.
"A lot of this boredom is not having any income or money," he said. "One of the biggest shocks to me is seeing gangbangers who are able to kill each other playing in a basketball game and not killing each other. Activities and things to do can help people stop doing the wrong things."
He pointed to his co-hosting duties with Chance the Rapper at the Sole Expo, which will take place July 19-20 at Lacuna Artist Lofts, 2150 S. Canalport Ave, in Pilsen. The event will feature more than 100 vendors selling exclusive, customized shoes.
"I look at the shoe expo as something positive to get [kids'] minds off the streets, and to check out fresh new kicks and see something different," Twista said. "Definitely what I don't want to see happen is violence created from someone having nice shoes. People should be able to purchase their shoes and be able to take them home in a safe way.
"I don't want to see violence coming out of this event and want to keep it positive."
Coming Tuesday: Twista discusses his customized Chicago-themed kicks for the upcoming Sole Expo.
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