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R.I.P. Stevie “Low Key God” Loney

March 21, 2013
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Information has been sparse so far, but the news has been going around town that Steven “Low Key God” Loney, a ubiquitous figure on the Baltimore hip-hop scene for the past two decades, passed away on Sunday, March 17th. Though not a recording artist himself, Loney seemed to show up anywhere grimey underground hip-hop thrived in Charm City for years, from the infamous mid-‘90s ciphers on Eutaw Street to the countless events he promoted with his Team Fifty crew at clubs like 5 Seasons. Wheelchair-bound since 1990, when a gunshot took him out of the street life, Loney had an endless passion for music, but had been less visible on the scene in recent years as his health worsened.

Low Key God nurtured the careers of dozens of rappers in Baltimore, most notably his good friend Ray Lugar. I interviewed them both for a feature on Team Fifty for City Paper in 2006, and Jefferson Jackson Steele photographed the two with another old friend, DJ Scottie B. Loney was one of the most exhausting conversationalists I’ve ever interviewed, a fountain of passionate self-aggrandizement and shit-talking – he was famous for staying on the mic at his own events, filibustering while MCs waited to perform. But he was also a funny, magnetic presence, a true one of a kind individual, who cared about his community and his peers.

“When I speak, you know I mean what I say,” he told me in 2006. “I might cry, I might choke up, break down, I gotta get it together. But I’m’a look you right in your eyes and say I know what you’re goin’ through, because I went through everything you’re goin’ through.” Check out this 2007 episode of Deep Flow TV, which captured Low Key celebrating his birthdays and being paid tribute by many many local artists at 5 Season.

  • Debbie Smith

    You have to try the fresh salsa at the Baltimore Farmer’s Market and Bazaar. They are in craft corner so they are little obscure but you’ll see their white and green banner fixed on their tent. I tried it and now I’m hooked and so are my friends as I went back for more and took it to a party. Now we can’t wait until next Sunday to get more! Fresh is only the beginning …..

  • http://twitter.com/etothemajor Σ ▲▲ @ j ° R

    I was designing flyers for him and Team 50 for a little while there. It was always a trip to get his voicemail message “E Maje… It’s Low Key.” Every time the message started the same.