By Sadef Ali Kully

Days before the recent release of both an album from slain rapper Chinx and a documentary about him, the NYPD offered a $2,500 reward for information about the murder of the upcoming Rockaway-raised performer, who was gunned down in May near Queens Boulevard.

The 31-year-old rapper, whose real name was Lionel Pickens, and a friend were shot May 17 while they were sitting in a 2014 silver Porsche at the corner of Queens Boulevard and 84th Drive in Briarwood, according to police officials.

Pickens, who grew up in Far Rockaway, was remembered by his family for his great sense of humor. By the time he turned 15, he began to pursue a career in the music industry. That led to his joining the Coke Boys record label, founded by French Montana, the CEO of Cocaine City Records. Pickens released his first solo album, “Hurry Up & Die Vol. 1: Get Ya Casket On” in 2009. He also collaborated with Montana on the rap songs “Coke Boys” and “Cocaine Riot.”

On Aug 14, his posthumous album, “Welcome to JFK,” was released. In addition, “Long Live Chinx,” a documentary about his life, was broadcast on cable channel Revolt.

According to police, Pickens was driving his Porsche and, while stopped at a red light, was shot numerous times by the unknown suspect.

Pickens was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and his friend Antar Alziadi was listed in critical condition, according to officials. Alziadi is on his way to making a full recovery, his Facebook page says.

Police said there is a $2,500 reward for the arrest and indictment of the person, or persons, responsible for the homicide.

Chinx’s wife, Janelli Caceres, told sources that the NYPD has been conducting a good investigation and they have strong leads into the murder of her husband.

Four Kings Production company music producer, Doug Ellison, who co-produced “Welcome to JFK,” said the rapper represented much more than just lyrics and music.

“He was so positive and driven in getting this project done. He has been a symbol of hope for young black men—he didn’t come from the best background himself. He was basically telling kids that nobody can believe in you more than yourself and this is why he resonates so well,” Ellison said. “[The album] immortalizes him and symbolizes everything he stood for. This was a lifelong quest for him.”

The NYPD is asking anyone with information to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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