Release: Erica Kane single
Producer: Speaker Knockerz

This past thursday, South Carolina rapper/producer/songwriter Derek "Speaker Knockerz" McAllister, was found dead of a heart attack in his garage at 19 years old.

It's probably best not to speculate on why a 19 year old would die of a heart attack. But if the toxicology report confirms that that his death was caused by codeine syrup (as Internet rumors suggest), then perhaps it might be time for rappers/producers/managers who are old enough to know better to stop posting pictures of Sprite bottles & styrofoam cups on their Instagram accounts every day? Of all the confusing paradoxes contained in rap music, perhaps the most baffling one is the glorification of a drug that, at best, has turned a plethora of great rappers to into washed-up wrecks of their former selves, and, at worst, is responsible for the untimely demises of DJ Screw, Big Moe, and Pimp C, and Lil' Wayne being hospitalized for seizures. (Complex editor Rob Kenner has written about this phenomenon on the past; now's as good a time as any to read it again.)

In his 2 year career, Speaker Knockerz racked up production credits for Coke Boys, Shy Glizzy, Jose Guapo, Young Dolph, plus Gucci Mane & Young Scooter. He also released two mixtapes of his own material, with 2012's Married To The Money and 2013's Finesse Father. The latter spawned his biggest song(s) in the "Rico Story" trilogyYo Gotti's "Rico" rewritten in the style of Kool G. Rap's "A Thug's Love Story (Chapter I, II, and III)"—as well as a personal favourite of your author with "Check." Both mixtapes are worth checking if you're looking for some post-swag rap that's the missing link between Travis Porter at their trifest and Lil' Durk at his most melodic.

But it was in the past 3 or 4 months that Speaker Knockerz really began to flourish as an all-talented auteur, releasing a string of killer singles including the Vine twerking-anthem "Freak Hoe" and "Lonely," an Auto-Tune ballad which sounds like it was played on the piano from the "Purple City Brydgang" video by Arnold Schwarzenegger during the final scene of Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Today's Deep Cut, "Erica Kane" ("These n***as is all of my children, I'm Erica Kane") was the latest edition to this string of singles. It was also the final song Speaker Knockerz released, hitting the Internet a mere 2 days before he was found dead. As swan songs go, "Erica Kane" serves as an accurate summary of the bricks & mortar of the Speaker Knockerz style, with its half crooned Auto-Tuned rapping and surreal nursery rhyme production recalling some of his best tracks. But it's also a tragic glimpse into what his future material had in store as he continued to develop his own voice by playing around with words and sly little melodies. 

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