Following on from yesterday’s report, in which 19-year-old Lazy J, real name Jelal Edmonds, was left in a “stable but serious” condition in Sydney’s St. Vincent’s Hospital after being stabbed outside of the nightclub at which he’d just finished performing with friend and fellow musician, Panapa Iafeta aka Big Guy; Edmonds has now awoken from his coma.
As The Age reports, the up-and-coming hip hop star’s condition has considerably improved after first being admitted with serious injuries following a fight that broke out between Edmonds, Iafeta, and three as-yet-unidentified men outside of Sydney’s Club Eleven.
Iafeta, 20, tells The Age that when he visited his fellow partner in hospital, the first words uttered by his friend as he woke from a medically-induced coma were ‘can I still rap?’
Police said that Iafeta and Edmonds were involved in a fight that broke out between the DJ-rappers and three men outside the nightclub where Lazy J and Big Guy had just finished a performance.
According to witnesses, the pair got into a verbal altercation with the three men, including one who had been evicted from the nightclub earlier, outside the venue when one of the brawlers pulled a knife and stabbed Edmonds in the abdomen.
“We were at Club Eleven and so happy about the single and had just got out in the street when it all happened,” recalls 20-year-old Iafeta of his friend’s attack. “There was yelling and screaming and punches being thrown. Jelal came over to help and then there were people getting hysterical and before I knew it the police arrived.”
“I looked over and Jelal was standing near a pedestrian crossing,” continues Iafeta. “He just sank down like he was in a slow motion movie. Then he lay on his back. When I got to him his eyes just kind of closed. That’s when I saw he had this stab wound right near his heart.”
The DJ-rap duo are best-known for their appearance on reality television talent show The X-Factor, earning them a fan base through videos on YouTube, and their first collaborative single ‘No Strings’.
The pair were set to follow-up on their first single until the nightclub incident. “It was to be called ‘Ecstasy’ and released on YouTube and iTunes yesterday,” said Iafeta. “We have put it off. Now all I want to do is be near Jelal. He is like a brother to me.”
Two men, aged 21 and 22, have been arrested in connection with the incident and charged with affray. They have since been released on bail and are due to appear in court next month.
The stabbing comes as Sydney’s CBD is experiencing a severe government crackdown on street violence in the wake of the death of teenager Thomas Kelly in a senseless attack in King Cross in July, and since then issue of alcohol-related violence has become a political platform for pokie-lined pub venues and politicians alike.
A political issue that has led to movement on introducing policies closer to a Police State – rolling out mandatory ID scanning and sniffer dogs on city streets – despite the potential harm to Sydney’s live music scene. That’s on top of bar operators in Kings Cross accusing the government of bad policies over liquor licensing changes that will cost them over $1 million a month in lost revenue.
The news of the X-Factor contestant’s stabbing will only help fuel the politicians arguments that late-night music venues harbour an unsafe environment, all against the backdrop of the City of Sydney council attempting to piece together a new Cultural Policy, asking for public input on ways to improve the city’s music scene.
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