Fatally shot East Bay rapper 'The Jacka' mourned by fans, community

Laura Anthony Image
ByLaura Anthony KGO logo
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Dominic Newton, aka "The Jacka"
"The Jacka" began his rap career in the late 1990s as a member of Mob Figaz. He launched a solo career in 2001. His newest album was released late last year. (KGO)

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Friends and fans are mourning a sudden loss of a well-known East Bay rapper. They knew him as "The Jacka," although his real name was Dominic Newton. Monday night, he was shot in the head in East Oakland and died in the hospital.

Prashant Kumar is the longtime manager of The Jacka. The rap artist spent many hours in the Emeryville studio over the past decade recording music that was heard all over the world.

"He was one of those guys who was just so honest in his music, so even if you didn't know him," Kumar said. "You might even know. He was just the most humble, caring person."

RAW VIDEO: The Jacka's manager reacts to the popular rapper's death

Neighbor Eileen Freeman said she heard six distinct shots just after 8 p.m. Monday and it sounded like it was close.

"It's sad that people are just shooting, shooting, shooting, especially when you have someone who is so good to the community and has given to the community," Freeman said.

Newton got his start in the music business in the early 1990s as a member of the group Mob Figaz. He became a solo artist about 10 years later.

He self-published his solo album in 2001 and released more than a dozen albums and mixtapes since. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with numerous influential Bay Area artists, including E-40, Andre Nickatina, Yukmouth, Messy Marv and Keak Da Sneak.

"He always was smiling, always willing to give you something. So many rappers got verses from him. He was just a fair, good, honest man," said his friend Sellassie Blackwell.

Dozens of people stopped by to pay their respects to Newton at a sidewalk memorial created in his memory.

"Look at all his fans and family and friends out here that supported him as well," Jason Leopoldo said. "He was a great guy."

"He put a lot of us together, and put a lot of us in position," Kumar said. "He set up a lot of things and he started a lot of careers and I know he would like to see that just carry on and see it become about something bigger than it is today."

Investigators would not comment on Newton's murder, except to say they are asking for witnesses, or anyone with tips to contact the Oakland Police Homicide Department.