Gilbert ‘Toker’ Izquierdo of Eazy-E’s Group Brownside Dies
His family confirmed the news on the rapper's Instagram page and on the group’s Instagram and Facebook pages on Oct. 10, 2018. Though the cause of death is unconfirmed, Toker is rumored to have been killed in Mexico.
“On behalf of the Brownside family we regret to inform you our brother, father, husband and friend Toker has passed away," the post read. "Please respect the family and let them mourn in peace. #Brownside #TokerForever.”
Brownside was established as a Chicano version of N.W.A. when Eazy-E signed them to his Ruthless Records label in the early '90s. The group was comprised of Los Angeles natives Toker, Danger, Wicked, Klever and Trouble, and received recognition in the early '90s during the gangster rap era. They disbanded after the deaths of Eazy-E in 1995 and Danger a year later.
In the time since, Toker had reportedly been focused on activism, becoming a vocal proponent of prison reform and immigration, and reprised the group five years ago, according to publicist/friend Shayna Wilson.
“He was an advocate for prison reform, an advocate for speaking out against gentrification in Los Angeles and was vocal about how ICE is affecting the family structure for Mexican-Americans in East L.A. and South Central," Wilson told HipHopDx. "They went to Mexico after the earthquake last year and donated $30,000."
Wilson added that Toker would "give you the shirt off his back," and wanted Mexican-American rappers to get their shine in rap music.
“He was all about helping kids,” Wilson said. "He was an amazing man. His only wish was for Mexican-American rappers to get the same kind of respect and accolades as African-American and white rappers. He believed Mexican-American rappers never got the appreciation they should have in the industry. But he made it his mission to help others. He’d always say, ‘We’re not rappers, we’re storytellers.’ He wanted people to hear their stories.”
Veteran west coast rapper Kokane was a friend of Toker's, and remembered the impact of his friend.
“One of the realest dudes in the game,” Kokane told DX. “He opened up the doors for many Latino and ESE rappers. Toker proved that it was never about color lines, but only about having heart and standing up for what you believe in. He was the true definition of keeping it gángster. Eazy-E signed Brownside to Ruthless knowing that Toker and the Brownside family would bring blacks and Latinos together."
In the wake of his passing, friends, family and fans of Toker have expressed their grief on social media.
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