May 17 In Hip-Hop History: Chinx Shot & Killed At 31

By Tony M. Centeno

May 17, 2024

Photo: Getty Images

It's been nearly a decade since the rap world lost Chinx.

On May 17, 2015, Lionel "Chinx" Pickens was shot and killed in Briarwood, Queens, N.Y. around 4:00 a.m. The artist, who was the co-founder of French Montana's Coke Boys, was found next to another victim Yemen Cheese inside a parked vehicle by the intersection of Queens Boulevard and 84th Drive. Cheese survived the shooting, however, Pickens was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was only 31. A few months before his death, the rising rapper had just released his mixtape CR5 featuring French, Jadakiss, Velous, Migos and more.

“Who would of thought I’ll ever get that call!” French wrote on Instagram at the time. “The devil comes in all shapes and sizes and he’s ruthless. Life here is temporary. They will kill you for this lifestyle, if they can’t afford it jealousy is a m**********r. Protect yourself, protect the people you love. I’m sad to see my brother go out like this, one of the realest people I met. This s**t’s not right. These streets don’t love us. My prayers go to his kids and family. We going to finish off what we started.”

Chinx, formerly known as Chinx Drugz, got his start in the music industry as an MC with the Rockaway Riot Squad with his friend Stack Bundles. In 2005, Chinx was sentenced to five years in prison. While he was locked up, Stack met the Wave God Max B and joined Jim Jones' Byrd Gang. Unfortunately, Stack was shot and killed a year before Chinx was released from prison in 2008. Upon his released, Chinx met Max B, who eventually introduced him to French Montana. All three artists joined forces under French's Coke Boys crew.

Chinx went on to drop numerous mixtapes including his Hurry Up & Die and Cocaine Riot series. Following his death in 2015, Chinx's estate released his debut studio album Welcome to JFK via Coke Boys/eOne Music. The album came with songs like "Far Rock" with a posthumous verse from Stack Bundles, "Pray" featuring Lil Durk, "Hey Fool" with Nipsey Hussle and "Die Young" with French, Zack and Meet Sims. His family also released other posthumous projects like Legends Never Die (2016), CR6 (2022) and Cocaine Riot 7, which dropped last year.

Rest in peace, Chinx. Listen to his most recent LP Cocaine Riot 7 below.


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