Franklin Amobi, known to many rap fans as Frank Diggy, wanted to make a change when he first met promoter Huwey Kelly about a year ago.
Amobi, 24, had a series of drug arrests, but the Silver Spring man also had a promising musical career, something Kelly said he hoped could motivate him to change his ways.
On Dec. 27, Amobi was found shot to death on Stewart Lane in Silver Spring, near the same White Oak apartments he used in some of his rap videos, many of which can be found on YouTube and other music websites. Friends said they don’t know why Amobi was killed, and Montgomery County Police said they don’t know why he was targeted.
“What happened to him was really crazy,” Kelly said. “It really hurts. Everybody’s still trying to figure it out.”
Police responded to reports of gunfire around 6:45 a.m. Dec. 27 in the 11400 block of Stewart Lane and found Amobi dead from multiple gunshot wounds to the upper torso. Amobi lived in the nearby Enclave Apartments on Columbia Pike, police said.
Chico Kelly, who is unrelated to Huwey Kelly, became friends with Amobi when the two met in seventh grade at Glenmont Alternative Middle School, a public school for sixth- to eighth-graders with attendance or behavior issues. They eventually became rap partners. Chico Kelly was featured on Amobi’s “Get Out The Way,” a track from the mix tape Amobi released last summer.
“Don’t nobody know what the situation is really about. All we can do to is wait for the circumstances to unfold,” Chico Kelly said. “He didn’t bother nobody. He was a very humble dude. All he wanted to do was get his music out there. That’s what we were working toward.”
Chico Kelly said the two planned to buy a house together and focus on their rap careers. Both Huwey Kelly and Chico Kelly characterized Amobi as a well-known figure in the local rap scene. He had a release party for his fourth mix tape, titled “Better With Time,” in July at the Cuzco Bar and Night Club in Hyattsville, and performed throughout the area.
In December 2006, Amobi was sentenced to eight years in prison for drug distribution. He served two-and-a-half years, and upon his release violated parole when he was charged with possession of marijuana, which led to three months of supervised probation.
Police said they do not know if Amobi’s criminal history had anything to do with his death.
“There is not much information because cooperation has been limited,” 3rd District Montgomery County Police Lt. Michael Price said last week. “This man was involved in a myriad of things, from his criminal arrest record to his aspiring rap profession.”
On “Ball Like Rondo,” one of his most popular tracks and an ode to Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, Amobi raps about money and his lifestyle. The YouTube page is full of RIP messages, as is his Facebook fan page, where somebody offered $20 Frank Diggy T-shirts to benefit the Amobi family. Huwey Kelly said he’s having a party to honor Amobi on Feb. 3 at the Pashion Restaurant and Lounge in Wheaton, where he hosts a rap showcase.
“I felt he was a really smart person who wanted to take his career and his business somewhere else. But he was a really quiet guy, very laid-back. He was a hard worker who knew how to play his position,” Huwey Kelly said. “The only time he was really loud was on the stage. You could tell it was really about to jump off for him.”