Hip-hop performance artist and former Kottonmouth Kings member Pakelika died of cardiac arrest following an asthma attack Saturday night. According to a statement from his manager Doug Cosgro, Pakelika — whose real name was Patrick Cochrun — had been battling asthma for years, and this latest unexpected seizure was so severe that he flatlined five times.
At one point it was confirmed he was brain dead; according to JuggaloNews.com, his family took him off life support as he expired, surrounded by loved ones. He was 34.
When the Kottonmouth Kings, a Cali-based pot-obsessed suburban hip-hop outfit with a fiercely loyal underground following, first gained popularity in the late-'90s through minor hits like “Suburban Life” and “Dog's Life,” the 6'7 Pakelika quickly became one of the rap group's standout members, an impressive feat considering he then refused to speak.
He wore a mask, which he said was a statement against society's penchant to judge people based on their looks. Dubbed the group's “visual assassin,” he was unpredictable and in concert performed a self-styled brand of pop-locking he dubbed “hydro mechanix.” His show-stealing cameo in the group's “Bump” video effectively made him a star, as it became one of the most requested clips on viewer-controlled music channel The Box.
While he gained notoriety for his dancing, image and penchant for carrying signs on stage (“Legalize. NOT Legal Lies”) Pakelika eventually put out two solo rap albums on Suburban Noize. 2003's Another Cult Classic! and 2008's The Smokin' Word gave a voice to the imagery. He differed from his bandmates by foregoing a traditional rap flow in favor of something more akin to spoken word poetry. After Pakelika and the Kings parted ways in 2010, he continued to make music with his new group Middle Class Casualties.
The Virginia-born, Oxnard-raised Pakelika was an outspoken activist. He relished using his notoriety to draw attention to causes such as the legalization of marijuana as well as global warming. He was a frequent contributor to CelebStoner.com and his essay “Why I Love to Vape” appeared in the book Pot Culture: the A-Z Guide to Stoner Language and Life.
The Kottonmouth Kings were out on tour in support of their new album Mile High when the news broke. They released a statement which said they were “blindsided, shocked and saddened” to hear of their friend and former bandmate's death.
“He is a man that had convictions and honor” the statement went on. “[H]his presence and impact will be felt and live forever.” Suburban Noize label President Kevin Zinger posted on the label's Facebook page that he has been in “constant communication with his family and friends and they want everyone to celebrate Pak's life and memory.” Comments on the page tell of an artist who truly took the time an connected with his audience.