OG Cuicide Takes His Shot At Redemption

Darnell Price nearly killed himself 22 years ago. Now he raps about it

He has released a total of three albums—his last being 1999's Wonder Why, which focuses on the natural state of war faced by those who manage to survive in LA's poorest neighborhoods.

Though there were a handful of mixtapes in the early 2000s, the rapper says he's just now putting the finishing touches on his first album in 14 years, The Storyboard. With or without a ton of album credits, his rep as a streetwise mentor to local up-and-comers is intact. But talking to young people about his struggles with suicide hadn't become a calling until after he was nearly killed twice—in '07 and '08—during two separate drive-by shootings in Compton. The first one left another bullet lodged in his body—his back this time—after he was shot in the stomach with an AK-47 by unknown assailants.

After surviving three near-death experiences, Cuicide's desire to share his story led him to reach out; he was soon contacted by schoolteachers and youth-program coordinators. Videos of his lectures can be seen all over YouTube. His advocacy extends to just about every public-media outlet, including KDAY-FM 93.5; at the end of a recent segment with the station, he gave out his personal phone number (as he always does). [It's (310) 938-9376. He insisted we print it.] By the end of the day, he'd gotten three legitimate calls from people who had heard his message on the radio.

OG Cuicide now lectures on suicide prevention
OG Cuicide now lectures on suicide prevention
Troubled? Cuicide will take your call: (310) 938-9376
Troubled? Cuicide will take your call: (310) 938-9376

Cuicide says it's not uncommon for him to be contacted by strangers at all hours asking for real advice on how to deal with depression and suicidal thoughts. It's a service he's proud to offer, he says, one that reminds him that every distressed phone call is a chance to give someone the help he should've gotten all those years ago when he felt like no one would listen.

"Twenty-two years ago, I didn't even want to look at myself in the mirror," Cuicide says. "But now when I look in the mirror, I'm looking at a person who's trying to create a way and make it better."

"People were recognizing my music because I was speaking about what everyone was going through," he says. "I'm not the only one who walked in this lifestyle."

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