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'Up-and-coming' Baltimore rapper Nick Breed fatally shot Sunday

A rising Baltimore rapper whose lyrics often reflected the pain and trauma he’d seen in the city was fatally shot Sunday in west Baltimore’s Allendale neighborhood.

Nick Breed, whose real name was Dominic Gantt, was found with gunshot wounds in the 500 block of Normandy Ave. around 7:30 p.m. Sunday, police said. The 24-year-old was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and was pronounced dead soon after arriving, officials said.

Baltimore Police have not identified a motive, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Gantt, whose music videos garnered thousands of views online, collaborated with some of the city’s biggest names, including YBS Skola and Young Moose. On his Instagram account, he posted photos with Chino, the well-known dirt-bike rider, and YoungBoy Never Broke Again, the Louisiana rapper who headlined at MECU Pavilion last month.

He is one of Baltimore’s latest fatalities in a recent surge of gun violence. In the past 30 days, the city has recorded more than 40 homicides.

Gantt’s sister Ebony Palmer was struggling to grasp her brother’s death, she said through tears Tuesday.

“He took a big piece of my heart,” Palmer said. “I’m so heartbroken.”

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While Gantt was growing up in Edmondson Village, music became his way of expressing himself, Palmer said.

“That’s all he wanted to do,” she said. “He just wanted to bring it back to the city and help the city. He wanted kids to know that you can still be something.”

Gantt filmed music videos on the blocks near where he grew up. One features a group of children — who Gantt’s girlfriend, Jordan Frink, said were mostly family members and neighborhood kids — surrounding him as he rapped.

Online court records reveal a checkered past: gun and drug charges, even accusations of assault and first- and second-degree murder. Days before he was killed, he was charged with harassment. Attorneys who represented him in the past could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

But Frink said Gantt had recently become involved with a church and was finding his faith in God — an experience he was determined to work into his music, she said.

“He tried so hard to tell the truth,” she said. “He was not an average Baltimore rapper. He didn’t pick up a pen and paper to try to make money. He rapped because he had a gift.”

Baltimore director James Jones helped Gantt produce several videos under his stage name Nick Breed. Jones re-watched some of his work with Gantt on Monday after hearing the rapper had died.

“He was my friend,” Jones said. “We had a real bond. It was love.”

Jones said the rapper had plans for a new music video set in a church.

“He was growing. He was up-and-coming,” Jones said of the rapper’s career. “He definitely had a following on Instagram, Twitter and Youtube. He had a good fan base.”

Many of Gantt’s social media accounts, under the name Nick Breed, showed an outpouring of love and grief Monday from friends and fans.

Gervonta Davis, the rising boxing star from Baltimore, mourned Gantt on his Instagram story with “RIP King” as the caption. Creek Boyz, the Baltimore County rap group, posted on Twitter “RIP Nick Breed.”

Gantt was a street rapper whose calm delivery made his vivid details of street life that much more jarring.

“When my mother had me she had dope in her veins,” Breed, who released the mixtape “Most Wanted in February,” once rapped.

Yet he had a melodic side, too, sing-rapping his own remix to Ella Mai’s hit R&B single “Boo’d Up.”

Local media such as radio station 92Q and Jay Hill, host of the YouTube freestyle series “No Ghostwriter,” featured Breed.

Last year, 92Q posted his video “The Purge” from the mixtape “Most Wanted” that he released in February. Then, three days ago, his turn came on the “No Ghostwriter” series — a rite of passage for buzzing rappers in the city. His video there has more than 5,000 views, and the comments section has become a place where local fans are mourning his loss.

“I follow Christ, that’s my shining light / Dropping jewels to cop diamonds / All of my life I’ve been grimey, I gotta keep it beside me / Don’t like my past but somehow it define me,” he raps.

Gantt had also advocated for nonviolence, as seen in an Instagram photo at a Baltimore Ceasefire event. Last month, he tweeted:

“I wanna see the murder rate in Bmore drop. Words worse than bullets spread that message Rt if you agree if ppl mind their business they a live longer.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Christina Tkacik contributed to this article.

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