Updated: November 11, 2013 12:28PM
Tavache “Trife” Kizer was a man who made sacrifices.
Although his passion was hip-hop music, he made being a husband and a father to his four kids his top priority.
Although his heart remained in the neighborhood where he grew up, he moved his family to the suburbs.
Although he wanted to be in front of a crowd spreading a positive message about the ’hood, he went to work every day at a transportation company his older brother founded.
So Monday was probably one of the happiest days in the 38-year-old’s life. He was just hours away from making the final edits of his video, “Respect the Youth.”
But before the video was finalized, Trife was gunned down in the 7300 block of South Dorchester where he had returned to his old neighborhood to have his car repaired by an alley mechanic.
“It was 2-something in the afternoon. Who would think that a 38-year-old man could not walk down the street in our neighborhood?” asked Larry “Shaciaren” Kizer, the victim’s brother.
Shaciaren is Kizer’s stage name. The close brothers shared a love of music. In fact, growing up they were so engrossed in music, their mother put a recording studio in the basement.
The day before Trife was killed, he stopped by his brother’s house to watch the video.
“He said it was ‘good.’ But he wanted to show the true pain of the violence. He wanted it to be a tribute to Hadiya Pendleton, Trayvon Martin and the kids at Sandy Hook [Elementary School],” Kizer said.
So Kizer stayed in the studio from 7:30 p.m. until 5 in the morning trying to complete Trife’s requested edits.
“I was tired. I told him I would finish the video later. My sister called me at 4 p.m. That is when I found out he had been shot,” Kizer said.
“It was ironic that the last thing he wanted in that video were scenes of emptiness — empty playgrounds, basketball courts, swings and school hallways. Now, he has become a victim of the violence.”
Police do not believe Trife was the intended target of the shooting. No one has been charged.
But Trife is the latest hip-hop artist to be gunned down on the city’s streets.
Last month, 17-year-old Leonard Anderson, known as “L’A Capone,” was killed outside of a recording studio in the 7000 block of Stony Island.
In May, two hip-hop promoters, Antwone Price, 30, and Trevin Hullum, 22, were abducted from the West Englewood neighborhood. Their beaten and bound bodies were later found in the car’s trunk and backseat.
Jeffrey Morgan, 21, aka ‘Lil Jeff” was fatally shot on the South Side on May 16 — Mother’s Day.
In 2012, the shooting death of 18-year-old Joseph Coleman, known as “Lil JoJo” was blamed on an alleged feud with rival Chief Keef. The teen rapper was killed in a brazen drive-by shooting as he rode on the back of a friend’s bike.
It is as if the rappers’ violent lyrics spring to life on the streets.
“These young people have got guns. They’re emotional and have murder on their minds,” Kizer pointed out.
“Trife just happened to be a victim of what is going on in our community.”
The brother said Trife strived to create a positive vibe with his music. They created a nonprofit, “Royalt2y” to reach out to young people.
“My brother understood that hip-hop is one of the most influential tools in America. ‘The power of life and death is in the tongue,’ he used to say, quoting Scripture.”
As Kizer sees it, most people doing hip-hop music are in it for self-preservation and are not really putting positive messages in the community.
Indeed, most hip-hop videos on YouTube glorify alcohol, drugs, guns and sex.
Still, dreams of being a hip-hop star don’t fade easily.
But Trife’s legacy won’t be found in the beats he left behind. His legacy will be found in the efforts he made to bring a message of hope to a seemingly dying generation.
“In losing him, I’ve come to realize we have to stir up the pot,” Kizer said.