James Sramek, age 29, known as the rapper 'Illa"James Sramek (Photo Source: Facebook/James Sramek)

James Sramek, known as the rapper “Illa” (Photo source: Facebook/James Sramek)

Another senseless killing has rocked the Atlanta rap music community as rapper “Illa,” whose real name is James Sramek, 29, was found dead along with his mother, Nicola Sramek. Police in Gwinnett County, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, found the bodies of the mother and son earlier this week.

According to police, the Srameks, who had been dead for several days, suffered a painful death as both were stabbed and beaten. The Gwinnett County Medical Examiner said the pair had been tortured for several hours before their deaths.

 Rickey Taylor ( Photo Source: Gwinnett County police)

Rickey Taylor ( Photo Source: Gwinnett County police)

Police in Gwinnett County have arrested Rickey Taylor, 28. Taylor was a suspect in a string of previous robberies in the Gwinnett area and was arrested by police earlier this month. Police were able to connect him to the deaths through video and physical evidence. Taylor has been charged with two counts of malice murder, two counts of armed robbery and two counts of false imprisonment.

Rappers and  friends who knew Sramek described him as dedicated to his craft and well liked. Although he faced pushback by some because of his race, he was able to make friends with many top rappers in the Atlanta community. His Facebook profile has several pictures of him with top artists, including 2 Chainz, Usher, Lyfe Jennings and Twista. Although an aspiring rapper Sramek had a regular job at Tony’s Bar and Grill in Roswell, Georgia. He was originally from Chicago, but had lived in Atlanta for a number of years. He had been active in the Atlanta rap scene for at least six years.

Atlanta has seen a tragic uptick in violence among young rappers. On March 5, Bankroll Fresh, born Trentavious White, was shot and killed at Street Execs Studio in Atlanta’s West Midtown area. Initial reports suggested that nearly 50 shell casings were found on the ground outside of the studio. Authorities are still attempting to determine a motive for the shooting.

Mo Barnes

"Mo Betta" Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.