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Saturday, December 10, 2016

By Peter Nickeas, Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — A Chicago rapper who recently signed to a major record label and was a cousin of Chief Keef was shot to death Wednesday night in the Englewood section of Chicago.

Mario Hess — who went by Big Glo at the time of his death and Blood Money before being signed — was the oldest member of the Glory Boyz Entertainment crew and was Chief Keef’s second cousin.

Glo’s manager said he was trying to get the 33-year-old musician out of Englewood and the city. “It’s a lot of crime and violence in Chicago, these rap guys are being targeted, so you know, just trying to get him outside the neighborhood. He’s from the streets,” Renaldo Reuben Hess said early Thursday morning.

“He was basically trying to just get his rap career together because that’s a good opportunity,” he said. “They gave him some money up front. It was a good chance for him to get himself out the hood.”

Police said two shooters opened fire just south of 56th Street on Elizabeth Avenue around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, leaving more than two-dozen shell casings in the street.

Hess was shot as many as 10 times and pronounced dead at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County. A 28-year-old man was wounded and taken to Stroger by a family member, Police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro said. He was in serious condition.

Hess said he didn’t know the second person who was shot or his relationship with the rapper.

Police had a hard time keeping track of the shell casings at the scene. Ripped up index cards served as evidence markers until police were able to get plastic ones to the scene. But when the plastic markers were set next to the casings, they scraped across the pavement in the wind.

Hess was found south of a newer model dark red Cadillac Escalade. Four vacant lots bordered the crime scene.

Hess was a relatively minor but long-standing figure on a scene with its share of artists who have signed record label deals in recent years, including Chief Keef, Lil Reese, Young Chop and King Louie.

He was considered the elder statesman on Keef’s local imprint, Glory Boyz Entertainment, and had released several mix tapes of hard-core street rap that won a following on the local “drill” scene. Hess’ 2013 mix tape, “Drug Wars,” for Glory Boyz, reportedly led to his recent signing to Interscope Records, the same label that had signed Keef two years ago.

The rapper had a long arrest record, appearing in Cook County courts in at least 36 separate cases, according to records.