BY STEFANO ESPOSITO & JON SEIDEL
South Side rapper Big Glo — cousin to fellow musician Chief Keef — finally had the big-time record deal he craved, along with a $50,000 advance.
But something had him on edge.
Big Glo — gunned down Wednesday night on the South Side streets he intended to leave behind — had, in recent days, been calling his manager to let him know he’d arrived home “safely.”
“When he would eventually make it home, he would just call me,” said the manager, Renaldo Reuben Hess, also his client’s cousin. And, “that wasn’t something he would normally do,” Hess said.
The manager never got to the bottom of what had Big Glo concerned. Hess learned Wednesday night that Big Glo, whose real name was Mario Hess, was shot multiple times in the 5600 block of South Elizabeth Street. He was taken to John H. Stroger Hospital Jr. Hospital of Cook County, where he died at 10:29 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
“They were standing in front of Mario Hess’ truck and they were talking to some girls, and somebody came up and started shooting,” Hess said.
Big Glo — who’d also performed under the name Blood Money — had just recently signed with Interscope Records, Hess said.
“He was thrilled, so happy that he signed,” said his attorney, Leah Starkman.
Performing as Blood Money, he collaborated with Chief Keef on a number of tracks, including “F–-k Rehab,” a Chief Keef single released in March that has netted more than 13 million views on worldstarhiphop.com in less than a month. “Thought He Was,” a Blood Money track featuring Chief Keef, has nearly 2 million views on YouTube.
About two weeks ago, Big Glo was in Los Angeles and was given recording time with Interscope, his manager said. After recording 27 songs, Interscope decided to sign him to a record deal, Hess said.
The performer changed his stage name because another artist had the legal rights to the Blood Money name, his manager said.
Big Glo had a lengthy criminal history, including guilty pleas in drug cases in Cook County in both 2003 and 2013, but he was planning a fresh start in Los Angeles, his manager said.
Big Glo — who had five children in the Chicago area — would have celebrated his second wedding anniversary Thursday, Cook County court records show. But he filed in July to divorce the woman he married on April 10, 2012, citing irreconcilable differences and, in one document, “mental cruelty.”.
Since signing the record deal, Big Glo hadn’t been shy about showing off his newfound wealth — including displaying thousands in cash, as well as a big diamond bracelet and a gold chain, Hess said.
If Big Glo had concerns about his safety, so did his manager.
“I pretty much had a funny feeling a couple of days ago,” Hess said. “I called him and pulled his coattails and told him, ‘You need to stay off these streets. We need to try to get Interscope to get you the rest of your money so you can move.’”
As word of Blood Money’s death spread, friends, family and fans took to social media to express their condolences:
R.I.P. Glo Gang Affiliate Rapper Blood Money, He Was Shot Multiple Times And Passed Away At A Nearby Hospital pic.twitter.com/ejwMcWTFbc
— DJ Faze (@DigitalDripped) April 10, 2014
Rip Blood Money ima miss you cuzo
— FREDO SANTANA SSR (@FREDOSANTANA300) April 10, 2014
A 33-year-old man also wounded in the shooting was taken to Stroger Hospital in serious condition with a gunshot wound to the abdomen, police said.
Nobody has been charged in the murder.
Area South detectives are investigating.
— Contributing: George Slefo and Mitchell Armentrout