DJ Mena Joins the Angels

It's always a tragedy when a young person dies before his or her prime. In the music industry, the preferred age for dying young tends to be 27. A host of rock legends including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and even bluesman Robert Johnson are all in the Forever 27 Club because of their early deaths. But when you think about it, 27 years is a long time to live — some musicians don't make it even that long.

Two weeks ago, a local mixmaster named Davis Mena, AKA DJ Mena, was killed in a motorcycle accident in Hialeah. It's the same city where he was born and raised and where he first began making his mark as a DJ. Known to many because of his bright smile and charismatic attitude, Mena, who was of Cuban descent, first made a name for himself as a DJ spinning reggaeton and Latin grooves at venues like Club Rendezvous in Miami Lakes. He eventually graduated to larger venues such as Nocturnal and Space as his DJing skills picked up, and in February, he was signed on to be the official DJ for the Fort Lauderdale-based hip-hop group Gwop Boyz. According to his sister, Diana Mena, her brother always had a strong passion for music, so much so that he dropped out of Hialeah High School at age 17 to pursue a career in music full-time. He'd only been DJing for a few years, but through his neighborhood mixes and DJ appearances, lots of folks in the rap world took to him.

When he got the deal with the Gwop Boyz, things for Mena looked like they were on the rise. According to Andrew "Andy Boy" Carreras, head A&R for Level 6 Entertainment and manager of the Gwop Boyz, bringing Mena on to be the group's DJ was a no-brainer.

"Yo, that guy was one of the most eager and hardest-working DJs that I knew," Carreras said. "Not only was he one of the most motivated young DJs that I've ever met, he was also a good person and had a real big heart. That guy showed love to everybody."

But just as he'd begun building his name in the streets, tragedy struck. Details about his motorcycle accident are still inconclusive, but on June 12, he borrowed his brother's bike to go to the store around the corner from his house. On the way home, he lost control of the bike and was hit by another vehicle and killed. The news devastated his friends and family, all of whom are still grieving. He was wearing a helmet at the time of his accident, and alcohol was not a factor.

DJ Mena was just 19 years old.

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Jonathan Cunningham