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.

Just Posted

Sultans of String to bring a musical Christmas Caravan to the Valley

World music to launch Christmas in the Columbia Valley

Columbia Basin Trust announces grant for technology upgrades

The deadline for organizations to apply is Dec. 17

Second-story pot shop snuffed out

Invermere marijuana shop must revisit site proposal

Sultans of String swing into town

Show at Pynelogs November 29th

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Kootenay music mentor crushed by stolen sax, sheet music

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers or the Trail RCMP at 250.364.2566

Most Read