His parents say he mastered the English language at a young age. Brandon Fields loved words, they say, the letters, the sounds and the effect they can have on society. But when he wrote the words to a song he titled, "Life," his mother says it scared her.
"It talks about his demise," Phyllis Fields said from her home in Perris, California. "It's like he wrote his own obituary."
Brandon - who went by "Young B the Future" - wrote the words to that song when he was only 19 years old.
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"My blood, my sweat, my tears, my life: it all disappeared one night and I still can't find it."
"But don't be crying for the kid cuz even though I died, I never felt more alive, it feels like I'm flyin'."
Brandon was 26 when he was shot and killed in South LA on December 8, 2014. Hearing the news started a whirlwind of agony for his family.
"To take that ride, man," his father Ray Fields said. "It was just so devastating."
Brandon - as Young B the Future - had begun to make a name for himself on the rap circuit. Just a month before he died, he won a prestigious "Rookie of the Year" and "Battler Rapper of the Year" award at the Gladiator School in Atlanta, Georgia - a program sponsored by Snoop Dogg. Snoop had just begun to mentor the young Fields when he died; his family says the famous rapper covered all of Brandon's funeral expenses.
In an Instagram post after the funeral, Snoop sent a message to his followers, saying, "Just left Young B the Future's funeral. To all the young battle rappers out there, y'all keep y'all's head up.Young Bizzil rest in peace."
Brandon's mom said Snoop was impressed with her son: "Snoop made a statement to me that said as a youngster, Brandon reminded him so much of himself."
But Brandon never got to reach his full potential. The day he was killed, he had just left work at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center where he worked for the County of LA. He had been living in an apartment on 118th Street when, at 3 p.m. in the afternoon, he came home to grab some things before heading to the Moreno Valley to see his parents.
"As he's walking towards his driveway, a small, grey vehicle pulls up," said LAPD South Bureau Criminal Gang Homicide Detective Mark Hahn. "He didn't grow up in the area, so he probably was not aware of any tensions in the area between local gangs."
Brandon was shot multiple times and left to die on his driveway. Having just left Harbor-UCLA Hospital, he returned there in an ambulance where he was pronounced dead.
"I don't know what's the driving force behind our youth these days that the final solution is to kill," his mother Phyllis said. "Find another way, other than murder."
Mrs. Fields said she's convinced Brandon was not targeted for any reason other than being where he was in that moment.
"They couldn't have known him," she said. "Because if they had knew him, it was something that would have never happened. How brazen is it that you can come into a neighborhood of people and children and shoot and kill someone?"
It has been nearly a year since the murder and police said they are no closer to finding the killer. It's a similar scenario that plays out in dozens of murders of young men in South LA every year.
Brandon's mom says she cherishes the photos and videos and words left behind from her son. She looks at one photo in particular that she says captures his captivating smile, and she begins to sob.
"When I look at it, hee says, 'Mom, I'm good,'" she said, breaking down in tears. "He has a song that says I'm good. So when I look at that smile, he lets me know I'm good. 'I'm good momma, I'm okay.'"
LAPD will announce a $50,000 reward in this case on Thursday. Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD South Bureau Criminal Gang Homicide detectives, even anonymously with tips, at 323-786-5100.