At the root of a Thursday morning shootout that ended in three deaths, a shutdown Strip intersection and a ton of scrap metal was an Oaklander named Kenneth Cherry Jr.
Going by his rap moniker, Kenny Clutch, the Oakland-cum-Vegas resident’s music videos boasted about expensive cars, emptying gun clips and drinking rosé. So it might surprise few that an alleged nightclub altercation would result in a shootout involving Clutch, driving the same Maserati he features heavily in his music videos, and a black Range Rover as they neared the corner of Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard — a shootout that killed not only Clutch, but a taxi driver and his passenger, after Clutch’s Maserati slammed into and ignited the cab. It’s a grim art-imitates-life reminder of another rap murder: Tupac Shakur, just two blocks away and 16 years previous.
And that might be what’s interesting to us about how he’s being portrayed in news outlets. While the lead is often “rapper Kenny Clutch,” his light musical impact (local record stores unfamiliar; no ReverbNation or SoundCloud musical presence) wouldn’t in itself explain being found in a Maserati. As it turns out, Clutch appears to have a police record*, and is being called a “well-known pimp" by at least one (so far unsubstantiated) source. However, with only video evidence of his rapping, not his pimphood, on the Internet, Kenny Clutch will be known for his musical hobby — and be immortalized beyond his actual influence.**
Police are still looking for the suspects in the black Range Rover, and Clutch’s passenger is alive and cooperating with police.
*UPDATE: A more complicated picture of Clutch continues to emerge. The Oakland Tribune cites law-enforcement sources as saying that he was arrested several times in Northern California, some of them on gun charges, and that he was convicted on one of them (though specifics are so far sparse). Meanwhile, friends and family portray him as a good father and a "kind soul."
**Paragraph updated from the original.