- 1 Who was Speaker Knockerz?
- 2 Early Life and Education: From New York to South Carolina
- 3 Career Beginnings: Flight Delayed, Getting Noticed and More
- 4 Becoming a Star: Collaborations with Meek Mill, Gucci Mane and The Release of Lonely
- 5 How Did Speaker Knockerz Die?
- 6 Legacy and Homage Paid to Him
- 7 Personal Life: Did Speaker Knockerz Have a Girlfriend?
- 8 Net Worth: How Rich Was Speaker Knockerz?
Who was Speaker Knockerz?
Born on 6 November 1994, in New York City, USA, under the water sign of Scorpio, Derek McAllister Jr, also known as Speaker Knockerz or SK, was an American rapper and producer. He rose to fame in 2010, with his debut mixtape “Flight Delayed”, which brought attention to his work as a producer. Since then, his beats were used by the likes of Gucci Mane, Meek Mill and several other prominent rappers. After his untimely death in 2014, the late wonderkid became a cult figure in underground rap music, mostly because artists such as NAV, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and others have modeled their styles according to Speaker Knockerz’s influence.
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Early Life and Education: From New York to South Carolina
The New York native grew up with his mother and several other siblings in The Bronx – one of them is Lil Knock, who is also a famous rapper. There is no available information about his parents or other brothers and sisters, mostly because Derek was a private person. Ever since he “blew up”, fans and reporters have inquired about his private life on numerous occasions. When faced with such interest, he politely refused to answer any and all questions regarding such matters. We do know that his father is a former musician, and that he was incarcerated from 2000 to 2010 for unknown reasons.
Derek’s mother was concerned that her children would become criminals themselves, so they left the tough streets of the Big Apple and relocated to Columbia, South Carolina. There, he started making beats on his laptop. At first he played the beats only to his school friends, who constantly encouraged him to step out of the shadows and start promoting his work online. In just six months, initially under the name Jamol Junior, Speaker Knockerz made over $40,000, mostly earned his money by selling his beats via Soundquake, and bought his dream car – an all-black Chevrolet Camaro.
Career Beginnings: Flight Delayed, Getting Noticed and More
In 2010, McAllister’s father was released from prison and the two immediately reconnected. A former jazz musician and player of several instruments, Christian McAllister knew the struggle a musician had to face, so he decided to help his son become a star. Together, they worked on producing his first mixtape, called “Flight Delayed”. The tape contained nine songs, with tracks such as “Good Times” and “Other Girls” becoming very popular in underground rap circles. Even people who weren’t rap aficionados became fans of his songs, because of various dance videos which featured the songs “Good Times” and “Money”.
With viral fame came the need to create visuals for his tracks. Speaker Knockerz thus started collaborating with Zack Dillan, who creating every video of Derek’s up until his untimely passing. In 2013, SK was more active than ever, with two mixtapes being released in a span of mere months – “Married to the Money” and “Finesse Father”. A part of these two releases was the now-famous Rico trilogy, a trio of songs depicting the story of a fictional thug and robber named Rico. Fans and critics alike praised SK for his storytelling skills on these tracks.
Becoming a Star: Collaborations with Meek Mill, Gucci Mane and The Release of Lonely
In late 2013, he released his biggest hit – “Lonely”, which many consider to be one of the most influential rap songs of the decade, amassing over 130 million views on YouTube as of August 2019.
Around this time, Speaker Knockerz started working overtime, in an attempt to become even more famous; he produced more than 20 tracks for various rappers from Chicago, which helped him become recognized throughout the country. He collaborated with Meek Mill on his “Dreamchasers” mixtape, resulting in offers from Gucci Mane and others. In 2013 and 2014, he worked with Vine stars Toni Romiti and Reggie Couz to promote his music, using their Vines. Thus, he was one of the first rappers to realize the importance of social media and having an online presence. Nowadays, many rap experts consider SK to have been ahead of his time.
While we see a lot of independent rappers today, this wasn’t the case in 2013. Speaker Knockerz never signed a record deal, instead he founded his own label, Talibandz Entertainment, and started promoting himself and various artists online. ‘He didn’t sign a deal because he independently made his own stuff’, said Lil Knocks, SK’s younger brother, in an interview with Genius.
How Did Speaker Knockerz Die?
At the end of February 2014, Speaker Knockerz released “Erika Kane”, a song named after a character from the hit show “All My Children”, which turned out to be his last song. In the days following the song’s release, he went missing and nobody knew where he was and what had happened. A few days later, he was found dead in his garage, next to the car he had always dreamed of having – the Chevy Camaro.
The coroner’s office concluded that there was no foul play and that drugs weren’t the cause of his death, and that he passed away from a heart attack on 6 March 2014. Rappers such as Fredo Santana, Gucci Mane, Meek Mill and Chief Keef posted tributes to him on social media. Soulja Boy, who SK credited as his biggest inspiration, shared a video in which he touchingly refers to the late rapper as ‘a talented young brother’.
Legacy and Homage Paid to Him
Even though Speaker Knockerz was popular at the time of his death, he became even better known after his untimely demise. In later years, he was referenced in songs by Lil Uzi Vert, Denzel Curry, MadeinTYO – Kodak Black even used the beat for “Lonely” for his own song, “Off A 14”. Interestingly, SK’s fame even reached East Asia, with Chinese rap group Higher Brothers borrowing the same instrumental for their song “WeChat”.
So, why is Speaker Knockerz considered such an influential figure in rap? He was one of the first artists to make gloomy instrumentals and combine them with autotune-laced, motivational lyrics about cars and wealth. Rappers Lil Mosey and Roddy Rich stated that they based their music on SK’s influence. Numerous other artists paid homage to the late star thus solidifying the claim that rap music wouldn’t be where it is today without the hard work and dedication of one Derek McAllister Jr.
Personal Life: Did Speaker Knockerz Have a Girlfriend?
As for his romantic involvements, there is almost no information across any credible sources that could accurately describe this part of his life. Speaker Knockerz himself tended to keep news about his partners completely private, and never came forward to address these fan inquiries.
— Speaker Knockerz (@SpeakerKnockerz) February 26, 2014
Nothing is known about his early relationships nor the ones that occurred during his prime. He was never seen attending any public events in particular female company, and there was no one that the fans suspected across his social media profiles. There has also been no controversy regarding this matter. Judging by his song lyrics, he was single for most of the time, and sometimes had casual relationships.
Net Worth: How Rich Was Speaker Knockerz?
Have you ever wondered how affluent Speaker Knockerz really was? According to several credible sources, he had a net worth of up to $400,000 at the time of his death. SK’s younger brother, Lil Knock is in charge of keeping his legacy alive.