Music

Pivot Gang Producer Squeak Has Reportedly Died At The Age Of 26

Update: According to local Chicago platform The TRiiBE, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified Squeak (born Javunte Wheeler) as the victim of a shooting around midnight in the North Austin neighborhood, along with his uncle, Darion Hood, who was 27. Both were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and pronounced dead a little after 1 o’clock. The report lines up with the Chicago Tribune report of the shooting published earlier this morning. Police say the shooter is unknown and that detectives are investigating.

Chicago indie rap crew Pivot Gang mourns the loss of their producer and friend Squeak, who has died of as-yet-unknown causes at 26, as confirmed by Pitchfork through the group’s representative. Squeak was one of the group’s three producers along with Daedae and Daoud, crafting beats for the group’s first group album You Can’t Sit With Us in 2019, as well as for its individual members Frsh Waters, Joseph Chilliams, MFnMelo, and Saba. Most recently, he and MFnMelo released En Route, an eight-song EP featuring Rexx Life Raj, in June.

Squeak also doubled as DJ for the group’s live shows, including their 2019 John Walt Day concert in Chicago in honor of another of the group’s fallen members who was killed in February of 2017. Squeak also engineered for the group, recording the offerings that allowed them to go from an upstart crew of rap freshmen at the tail end of the blog era to a fixture of Chicago’s flourishing rap scene.

Squeak’s passing drew a wave of appreciative and sorrowful tweets from that scene, as well as many from outside it, as friends, fans, and peers mourned his loss. Among the well-wishers was Chance The Rapper, who came up alongside Pivot member Saba in a student creative group in high school and recorded with him on his 2016 mixtape Coloring Book. Rest in peace, Squeak. You’ll be missed.

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