For friends and family of the once-promising Chinx, their mission is clear: make sure his legacy lives and never let his name die.
Tuesday (May 17) marked two years since the Queens, N.Y. lyricist was brutally slain in his borough while coming home from a club. And though his loved ones still don't have closure in the unsolved case, they are inspired by the rapper.
To mark the moment, Chinx's widow Janelli Caceres and manager Doug "Biggs" Ellison opened up the Four Kings/Yay store in Valley Stream, N.Y. where they sell mostly Chinx's "Yay" apparel line and have sneakers on deck, too.
"We actually started the 'Yay' line probably two years before Chinx passed away," Biggs told. "A lot of people, they see some of the merchandise that we even had then which was the 'Fuck Ya Feelings' [clothing from] when we had that song on the radio and it was going. We coined the phrase 'Yay' because it was something he was always saying. It was a feeling. It was an emotion. It was a move. We said, 'Yo, we're gonna start this label, we're gonna start this clothing line and we gonna open some stores."
"I'm hoping everyone sees everything associated with this man had a level of excellence to it," Biggs continued. "He wasn't just a rapper. He wasn't just the dude trying to get on, trying to pop."
Since fans had been patronizing the store in the early hours since it opened officially at 1 p.m. Caceres added, "I'm happy we were able to meet the deadline for today and everybody was coming out. It's been a great turnout so far. I'm excited. This is just the beginning of the collection. We're gonna change it as the seasons go by. It's a dope turnout. This is what we been planing on for a while. Expand his legacy. Our goal was to keep it going. We know what he wanted to do with it. This was his dream. We're just putting it together for him."
Chinx's children and mother were also on hand. His mom said the anniversary of his death is especially tough and that she was so distraught she almost did not make the opening.
"When I got up this morning, I said, 'You could do this. I'm going out to support my baby.' That's my baby. [Chinx] was my first born. The store is looking good. I really appreciate the work that they've done. They really put their heart into it. Keep this legend alive. Everyone is doing their part. I really appreciate it."
And she means everyone. Not just friends and family, but the fans as well who continue to support their efforts.
One fan named Rob Martinez said, "The most important reasons why I came here is there needs to be a bigger support system and a bigger recognition for the swagger and sound that Chinx brought. I listen to Chinx everyday. He motivates me in a way that he's not here but he's still here."
"Everything he did is still paying off," said another one of his fans, Steven Reid. "I wish he could be here to see it. His store is opening up. Everything is on the rise."