As Atlanta police on Friday continued to search for a suspect in the slaying of rapper Slim Dunkin, several hundred people gathered at a church in Stone Mountain for the young music artist’s funeral.
Mourners, some wearing T-shirts and sweatshirts with “R.I.P. Mario Hamilton” and “R.I.P. Dunk”, gathered at Berean Christian Church for the simple 11 a.m. service for the 24-year-old rapper.
The service included biblical readings from the books of Isaiah and John, a prayer, a solo, tributes from several individuals, including his brother, Marcus, a video presentation, a selection from the church’s choir and a “message of Christian hope” from Berean’s pastor, the Rev. Kerwin B. Lee.
Noticeably absent from the program, however, was any reference to “Slim Dunkin.” The program was nearly void of the stage names that are as much a part of a rapper’s identity as the music itself. It listed as one of the honorary pall bearers “Juaquin Malphurs” — a.k.a. Waka Flocka Flame, one of Slim Dunkin’s closest friends. The program did refer to Malphurs as “Waka” in a special acknowledgment at the end. He reportedly helped foot much of the cost for the funeral.
The program also provided a more complete account of Mario Denzel Hamilton’s life, including his years growing up in Detroit and New Jersey before moving to Atlanta. It said he “loved basketball, played with a semi-pro football team in the Atlanta area; and soon after his passion for sports went to his music.” The program, however, didn’t mention the rap music Slim Dunkin was pursuing to make a name for himself.
After the funeral, the casket carrying Slim Dunkin’s remains was to travel through the rapper’s old neighborhood on Rex Road in Clayton County, according to Willie A. Watkins Funeral Home. Burial would be at Hillandale Memorial Gardens in Lithonia, the funeral home said.
The suspect in the Dec. 16 fatal shooting at a southeast Atlanta recording studio was identified as another local rapper, 28-year-old Young Vito, whose real name is Vinson Hardimon.
“We are urging Mr. Hardimon to turn himself in to authorities because we have reason to believe he may be in danger,” the Atlanta Police Department said in a release Thursday. Police said Friday the search continued for the suspect.
A Twitter posting earlier this year identified Young Vito as an “east Atlanta Zone 6 … street legend turned rapper” who was about to “embark on capitalizing the rap, fashion, & movie industry.”
Police are seeking the public’s help in finding Young Vito and said calls can be made to Atlanta Crimestoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or contact the Atlanta Police Department’s homicide unit at 404-546-4235.
Fellow rappers Waka and Gucci Mane reportedly were picking up much of the cost of the funeral. Slim Dunkin was a childhood friend of Waka’s and appeared on Gucci Mane and Waka’s “Ferrari Boyz” album released over the summer.
Slim Dunkin was a member of Waka’s Brick Squad Monopoly. According to Rapfix.mtv.com, Waka attended a a public viewing Thursday at Willie A. Watkins Funeral Home in Atlanta “and although he was noticeably upset, he also remained composed throughout the night.” The web site also said other members of the Brick Squad, including Wooh Da Kid, also were present.
Witnesses told police Slim Dunkin, 24, got into an argument before a video shoot at a studio on Memorial Drive about 5:30 p.m. last Friday, and the altercation may have started over a piece of candy, according to a report by Channel 2 Action News.
Atlanta Detective David Quinn told Channel 2, “Someone came in and struck him and a fight ensued. Now the information we’re getting and it’s unconfirmed but witnesses are saying that this whole thing started over a piece of candy”.
The person he was arguing with pulled out a pistol and shot Slim Dunkin in the chest, witnesses told police. Hamilton was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital.
According to the web site HipHopdx, Slim Dunkin was at the Memorial Drive studio to attend a recording session with Gucci Mane and another rap artist, V-Nasty, for a “Push Ups” video when he was killed.
Quinn told Channel 2 police have pushed all week to get the witnesses to open up about the shooting.
“I want the family of Mr. Vinson Hardimon to give us a call, let us know,” the detective said. “We are fearful for his safety, because we don’t want anything to happen to him.”