Initially, Labranche was mistaken by several television stations as another rapper, also named Bizzle. That Bizzle, also known as Lavyss, lives in Los Angeles and specializes in Christian rap music.
“Man, Praying for Bizzle AKA Chowtime’s family,’’ the rapper wrote on his Facebook page after hearing about the killing. “I know a lot of you are happy it’s not me, but it’s still REAL for his fam. They don’t get to find out that it’s not true. His children were with him at the time and now their lives are changed forever. Keep them lifted up in prayer!”
“This is someone who was definitely loved in the community,” Moreno said of Labranche.
Two relatives were briefly detained and removed from the crime scene, Moreno said, to protect evidence.
Bizzle started his label in 2000 and managed several local artists. He also ran a restaurant, Inner City Seafood, at 4350 NW 17th Ave., before reinvesting in his own music in 2006. He performed at a pep rally at Miami Beach High and also in local clubs.
Tampa-based DJ Smallz, said Bizzle’s single Naked Hustle, which was released in 2008, catapulted the Miami rapper’s name beyond South Florida. A video of it posted on Youtube shows him singing it in a strip club amid pole dancers.
“It’s a classic club record that will never die. It’s part of Florida club music history,” said DJ Smallz. "The song took a life of its own and spread like wildfire .”
At the time he was killed, Labranche was splitting time between Miami and Alabama, where he planned to open a nightclub. He also organized bus trips for people to come to South Beach for Urban Beach Weekend, an annual hip-hop festival held on Memorial Day weekend.
Despite his fast-paced career and club lifestyle, Labranche took time to be a father. In his last Instagram message about his children, posted two days before his death, he said he was grateful for the mother of his children, whom he described as hardworking.
“I know if anything was to happen to me my kids straight,’’ he wrote.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Miami Police Department’s Homicide Unit at 305-603-6350 or Miami-Dade County Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.
Miami Herald staff writer Diana Moskovitz contributed to this report.