He had been in and out of court and jails over the years, including once on a second-degree murder charge, but record labels were calling, a deal appeared ready to be inked and his life seemed ripe for a change, friends said.
"He had reached the point in his life that he became so free," Michael "Mista Maena" Patterson, a mentor to the young rapper, said Sunday morning.
Patterson's first memories of the young rapper go way back, to the days when Jerome was growing up in New Orleans' Carrollton neighborhood.
The aim was to get the young rapper off the streets and give him a fighting chance to succeed.
In an interview Jerome gave with Say Cheese TV in January, the young rapper spoke about his time on the streets.