A nondescript Brooklyn street lined with warehouses turned grim on Feb. 5 when a member of rapper Busta Rhymes’ security detail, Israel Ramirez, 29, was killed by gunfire outside the studio where the MC was filming his latest video. No one else was injured, but reports suggest that Rhymes was nearby during the altercation, raising questions as to whether Ramirez was the true target of the attack. Rhymes and his label, Interscope, declined to comment on the incident — and at press time, NYPD officials were still trying to locate the rapper for questioning.
Of course, he might not be the only star questioned: Heavy hitters like Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, and DMX filmed cameos for the ”Touch It (Remix)” clip throughout the day. According to director Rob Hall, who was filming another video next door, the Rhymes shoot created a mob scene as the studio filled with entourage members. ”There was so much traffic in the entryway and on the street,” he says. ”People were overflowing into our studio…people who were not [working on the] production.” Hall adds that, upon leaving two hours prior to the incident, he sensed a palpable ”tension in the air.” A tension that turned fatal all too quickly.