of Saturday, July 9 started off like every other lazy summer day in Virginia.
The sun was shining, the birds were singing, but something wasn't right.
In a quiet Richmond neighborhood, many people were milling about outside
of the apartment complex of Esan Jordan, an up-and-coming rapper in the
Richmond-based group The Burglars, as whispers of his murder permeated
throughout the crowd.
Jordan's close friend, Nickelus F, was one of the first to find out about
the shocking murder of Jordan, who is known as E-Skummy within the Hip
Hop world. "I was called that morning, right before my alarm went
off," Nick remembers. "I had to be in at work at 8:00, and I
had my alarm set for 7:15. My boy Whims called me at 7:08. What's crazy
is that before I answered the phone or anything, I just had that feeling
that something bad had happened. When Whims told me that Esan had died,
it didn't hit me. I got up, brushed my teeth, and went straight to work.
I even tried calling Esan's cell phone, but it went straight to voicemail.
I hadn't even cried up to that point. Then once I clocked in at work,
it hit me and I broke down. Then I had to call everyone else and let them
know what happened."
Radio B, a close friend and neighbor of Jordan, missed the call from Nickelus.
"I woke up and I had missed a call on my phone, and it was Nick.
Nick usually doesn't call me that early in the morning, but I didn't think
anything of it. I called him back, and he was saying, 'Tell me what I'm
hearing isn't true.' I didn't even know what he was talking about, but
then he tried to tell me about what happened and I could hear him breaking
down. It took about an hour for it to hit me, but once I saw Nick and
Lil' Lee (member of The Burglars), we started bawling. It was terrible.
It was one of the worst days of my life."
While all of Jordan's friends have certainly been affected by his untimely
death, perhaps no one's grief can compare to that of the woman who birthed
Esan, Hazel Jordan. "He loved life," she remembers. "He
was a fun person. He put a lot of time into his rapping. It was one of
the best things for him. He was so excited about it. He would tell me
and everyone he was in contact with that he would be a famous rapper.
I was like, 'Ok.' I never took him seriously because he was always joking
around. I told him, 'You better go back to school because not everybody
makes it in this rapping world.' He said, 'Ok, you'll see.' I thought
that at least if rapping didn't work out, he would have school to fall
Unfortunately, Jordan would never make it back to the classroom after
dropping out of high school, which he viewed as optional. He quickly lost
his patience with high school and presented his mother with a deal: he
would take the test for a G.E.D. If he passed, he would not return to
high school, but if he failed, he would go back. No one expected young
Esan to pass, but he would prove his doubters wrong, as he would on many
future occasions, by earning his G.E.D. Passing the G.E.D.'s was not good
enough for Mrs. Jordan. She would constantly encourage her son to apply
to college. Esan said he would go back, but only to learn about music.
Instead of applying to colleges, Jordan began working at a day care in
New Jersey, where he quickly became a favorite among the children he cared
for. "He would tell me how the kids loved him so much," Mrs.
Jordan remembers. "I was so happy that he was doing that, especially
because he was only 18. The kids used to call him 'Mr. Esan.' One of his
favorite children had Autism, and he loved working with him. The principal
and teachers loved him."
Jordan was an easy person to get along with, as his magnetic personality
helped him make friends wherever he went. "Wherever he goes, you're
just drawn to him right away," Mrs. Jordan remembers. "His smile
alone is all it takes. Since he was a little boy, everybody loved him.
He had such a wonderful personality. I just can't understand why anyone
would want to kill somebody like Esan. He's an easy-going and fun-loving
Jordan proved to his mother at an early age that he had a maturity far
beyond his years. Every day after school, the six-year old Jordan would
ride the bus home and let himself into the family's empty Brooklyn apartment.
Mrs. Jordan was working in Manhattan, and Mr. Jordan was working in Newark,
which meant that little Esan would take care of himself until his parents
came home. He developed a ritual everyday of letting himself in, calling
his mother to let her know he was home safe, making himself a sandwich,
and starting his homework. "I used to worry about him a lot, but
I knew I never needed to," Mrs. Jordan said.
Jordan loved New York because he so close to his family. "He loved
family. He was very family-oriented," Mrs. Jordan says. "He
would try to see all of his relatives in one weekend. He would never go
to New York and not try to visit his family. He would see his aunts, his
cousins, and everybody loved him so much. One of his cousins told me about
how everyone used to fight over him. She said, 'We don't want to share
Esan with anybody. We just want him to stay with us.'"
Mrs. Jordan saw great potential in her son and thought it would be best
for Esan to trade their crime-ridden Brooklyn neighborhood for a quiet
country home in Virginia. Esan left his job at the day care as the Jordan's
packed for Virginia. "I said, 'Let me take him out of New York and
take him someplace where he could probably live a better life. There was
so much crime and I thought I was doing the best thing for him by taking
him out of New York," Mrs. Jordan remembers.
Jordan quickly took to Virginia the way caterpillars adapt to new wings.
He quickly made friends and began to take rapping seriously. Radio B remembers
his first encounter with Jordan: "I remember when I first met Skum.
It was at this barbershop that I had been going to since high school.
I was known for rapping at this particular shop. When Skum came in, a
lot of people didn't know who he was. He was just getting into rap. We
exchanged verses. It wasn't a battle, but more like a friendly cipher.
Then Skum got locked up for awhile and the shop moved. Later on, we exchanged
verses again. This time it was different. Everyone could tell that he
really improved. I didn't even know him as 'Skum' at the time, he was
just 'Esan' to me. I just respected his craft and how hungry he was, and
the respect that he gave me."
Jordan, who was becoming locally-known as E-Skummy, began looking for
outlets to showcase his growing talent. E-Skummy began creating opportunities
for himself by recruiting the entire Burglar squad, which included Nickelus
F (also known as Nick Fury), Lil' Lee, 5 Mics, and J.R. the Waiter. Nickelus
F, who would quickly become the front-man of the group, remembers meeting
E-Skummy for the first time. "I actually met Skum through Lil' Lee,"
he says. "Around here, everyone knows each other. I remember the
first time Lee brought Skum around. We just clicked right away. It was
one of those "real recognize real" type things."
The freshly-formed Burglars started hitting the studio together and performing
locally. The group would face many trials and tribulations, but E-Skummy
would always be the glue that held everyone together. Radio B remembers,
"There were certain people in the Burglars that did their own thing
and slacked at times, and Skum would always keep a fire under them. He
was always busy, and if you weren't busy, he would try to figure out why
you weren't busy. He was a great person to be around."
Skum's work ethic would be an essential characteristic of his "lead
by example" philosophy. Many of his friends say he would have lived
in the studio if it were possible. Radio B remembers Skum telling him,
"I don't know how anyone can go a week without recording. I have
to stay in the booth." Radio B remembers, "He was constantly
in the booth and he'd do whatever he had to do to stay in the booth. He
was not the type of person to ever waste time. He never wasted a minute.
He was always on the move." Nickelus F also holds a deep admiration
for Skum's hunger, "He had that love and hunger. He worked fast too,
and he'd always hold his weight in the booth." He adds, "You
also never knew what to expect anytime he went in."
was also known among his friends as being a master at networking. He was
famous for going to events and introducing himself to everyone. Once he
found out what everyone did, he would take their numbers and call them
the next day. He would persistently call everyone until they were able
to do what he needed them to. Richmond heavyweight Skillz fondly remembers
E-Skummy's work ethic, "Skummy was a hustler. And when I say that,
I mean it in a good way. When he wanted something, he would not stop until
it got finished. I admired that in him. I told him I was going to do something
for him, and he never let me forget it. He'd always be like, 'Yo dog,
I need that. I'm trying to make it pop.'"
The last memory Skummy left us of his unsurpassed drive was his midnight
journey to Jersey City to record a track with the A-Team. He had been
in contact with the A-Team about doing a track, and they were open to
the collaboration. However, no one in the A-Team expected Skummy to follow
through, as many up-and-coming rappers are all talk and no action. Skummy
would again surpass everyone's expectations of him, as he showed up outside
the A-Team manager's apartment at the crack of dawn, ready to work. They
went to the studio together to create the track "NJ to VA."
Later that day, Skummy drove back to Richmond.
Unfortunately, E-Skummy would never be able to hear the mastered version
of "NJ to VA," as he was murdered a few days after his return
to Richmond. He was murdered in cold blood in his kitchen. Mrs. Jordan
says, "It's horrible. Just at the time when he was getting it all
together. I prayed for the day when he would mature into a nice young
man doing the right thing and settling down. He was just getting to that
E-Skummy was also maturing as an emcee. Those close to him noticed his
improved song-writing ability. One song that truly showed his ever-growing
talent was "Four-Page Letter." Skummy gave us all a piece of
himself with lyrics like, "All I can do is be myself, I can take
your word for it but I'd rather see for myself." Nickelus F says,
"That song, to me, is like 2Pac's "I Ain't Mad At'cha."
You know how people say that life is like a movie and everything seems
so scripted sometimes? Everything that's happened seems so scripted and
that song is the theme music to everything. If you listen to what he's
saying, it's an explanation of everything that happened. Before he passed,
Skum and I had some real heart-to-heart conversations. We talked about
stuff happening, and he had a bad feeling about things because he felt
things were going too well." Con Artist, who produced "Four-Page
Letter" as well as around 50 other tracks with Skummy, says, "I
still can't listen to that song in its entirety today. It still feels
unreal to me."
While "Four-Page Letter" shows a very serious side of Esan Jordan,
those close to him remember his great sense of humor. Mrs. Jordan remembers
how "he would make you laugh your pants off, just by him laughing.
Sometimes, it wasn't even a big joke, but the way he would go down on
the ground, there would be tears in our eyes just from watching him. He
would light up the room. As long as he was in the room, it was always
lively." Radio B says, "Skum was a comedian. Skum was one of
the funniest guys that I have ever known. He was a fun spirit. He could
be real serious, but he would always joke on you and was always having
E-Skummy was also the self-proclaimed "Dirtbag." "He definitely
wore that nickname with pride," Radio B says. "I'm the type
of guy that likes to keep himself up. I like to have fresh clothes and
manicures, and Skum would frown on guys like me, like, 'You think its
cool getting manicures? You think that's cool?' Skum embraced the whole
dirtbag image. That was him. That was his character, and he really did
encompass that on a day-to-day basis. If you called him a 'Dirtbag,' he'd
take it as a compliment. In his eyes, that's an honor." Nickelus
F agrees, "Being called a 'Dirtbag' was definitely a compliment for
Skum. That was a good thing to him. He would pick his nose and fart in
front of a girl if he wanted to. He definitely earned the title 'Dirtbag.'"
The death of Hip Hop's favorite dirtbag has left everyone grieving in
different ways. Mrs. Jordan has still not gone through his clothes or
music. 5 Mics and J.R. have been missing in action. Lil' Lee took some
time off, but is now back to rocking the mic on a consistent basis. Radio
B is still recording, as is Nickelus F. About a week after the death of
E-Skummy, Nick hit the studio to record a tribute to his fallen friend,
"I Miss My Skum." Nick talks about the song, "That song
tells the story about what happened when I found out about his death.
I couldn't write the song immediately after his death. It took me awhile.
It was a good week at least. It took me awhile to write it as well. The
first verse wasn't hard because I was just telling the story. The second
verse was difficult because that's when I was talking directly to Skum.
'We were supposed to get rich together.' I still cry to this day about
it. I miss him, and it's never going to change. It's always going to hurt.
Every time I do something, I'm just going to wish that Skum could be there
to see it."
F has no plans to give up on his rap dreams. In fact, he has a newfound
drive to succeed, because he realizes that is what E-Skummy would want
him to do. Lil' Lee is also working hard on his music, as he is putting
the finishing touches on a new mixtape. Despite Nickelus and Lil' Lee
continuing to work hard, the future of the Burglars remains unknown. No
one knows if J.R. the Waiter or 5 Mics will step in the booth again. Would
E-Skummy be happy with how the Burglars have fallen apart since his death?
"To be honest with you, no. It definitely would not have been in
his wishes for things to be the way they are now. He definitely wouldn't
be happy to see how things have gone since his passing," Radio B
While his rap team may have fallen apart, Mrs. Jordan will always have
something special to remember her son by. Jordan wrote his mother a song
expressing his love for her and apologizing for any pain that he may have
caused her throughout the years. Mrs. Jordan says, "He made me a
beautiful song. That song had everybody crying. He gave me a copy of it
before he died. He made it for me about a year ago. I thought that was
so touching of him to do that. Not many kids would apologize for things
they did to their parents. He apologized for everything he did that he
thought was wrong."
Mrs. Jordan wants everyone to remember her son for his positive impact
he made on those he touched. "I want everyone to look at all the
positive things that he did. I know he made a difference with the people
he was close to. People looked up to him. Esan was such a loving person.
Everyone loved him. It doesn't matter how old or how young someone was,
he could make them laugh. He loved kids," Mrs. Jordan says. "They
always say the good die young, but I'm not satisfied with that. I could
have understood if he was sick or had gotten into an accident, but for
somebody to go and kill him, I can not understand. I don't know why someone
would want to kill him at the peak of his music career. That's the thing
that upsets me the most. All of the little time and money he had, he put
into the music. All the sleepless nights, he put into his music, and it
was all taken away from him."
Radio B wants everyone to remember the death of E-Skummy being "a
big loss for Hip Hop. Skum was a person that would definitely bring integrity
back into the game. Right now, there's a lack of integrity in the game
and people are not talking about real things. A lot of people are lying.
Skum wasn't about telling lies. I've always appreciated that about him
and I always felt the world would appreciate that about him. Whenever
you hear about a situation where somebody lost their life over some senselessness,
think of Skum and that his talent was taken away from him and people will
never be able to see his full talent."
Nickelus F wants everyone to remember E-Skummy through his music. "He
was real," he says. "That's what I stress. He was real and he
was honest. I can't stress that enough. I'll listen to his music and it'll
take me right back to something that happened. When you listen to him,
everything that you're hearing is real."
Nickelus F, Lil' Lee, and Radio B have many plans to keep E-Skummy's legacy
alive. On a day-to-day basis, everyone shouts out E-Skummy on almost every
song. Further plans include dedicating songs on everyone's future mixtapes
and albums to E-Skummy's solo material. There are also around 1,000 Burglar
songs and around 200 E-Skummy songs in the vault. Mrs. Jordan and manager
Hugh Mulzac are currently deciding what to do with his music. Mrs. Jordan
and Mulzac also started a foundation in Jordan's name.
Some closure has been brought to this situation, as there has been a conviction
in his murder. However, that will never bring back Esan Jordan, dedicated
son, father, boyfriend, friend, and emcee. Mrs. Jordan remembers a conversation
she had recently with one of Jordan's friends, "He said, 'I just
called to talk to you Mrs. Jordan. I just don't understand why God would
take Esan. He was the leader of our group [of friends], the life of our
group, and the peacemaker of our group. He was always the one that made
everyone get along. I don't know why God would take Esan. Virginia is
so lonely without Esan.' All everyone can do, from Mrs. Jordan to Nick
to Tierra (Jordan's longtime girlfriend) to Tierra's child Nasem (whom
Jordan was helping raise), is pray and remember the good times. Mrs. Jordan
says, "Every time I am in Virginia, I feel it. I know something is
missing. Virginia is so lonely without Esan."
730 and H-Dollar Present E-Skummy - Hitman for Hire (dropped Spring '05)