Amongst my peers, the nearly universal reaction upon learning about Shawty Lo's death was how he played a crucial role during our college years. If you were in high school/college around 05-08 Shawty Lo and D4L was often the soundtrack to some ratchet, half brained adventure. When I hear "Dunn Dunn" I think about 31, Blue Dolphin, Miami, and any of the other off shoot, hole in the wall clubs littered around Atlanta (also Carrollton). Shawty Lo was not a great rapper, lyrically he was pretty simple. But he stayed within his lane, he never pretended to be some lyrically dynamo. He knew the role of his music and rarely strayed from it.
To juxtapose Shawty Lo's passing, I look at Muhammad Ali's and Prince's deaths earlier this year. When those two died, I was impacted but more from a historical perspective. I was fans of them but that was through research. I personally didn't feel the impact of Ali up close, it was from a distance. Same with Prince, all the songs I enjoy are from a much distant era. Culturally and socially, Shawty Lo had no where near their impact but it certainly hit closer to home because I remember.
I remember when I first heard D4L I remember listening to "Dey Know" (also it's remix which is probably superior to the original) in a dorm room wasting time while getting ready to go waste some more time. I remember listening to "Foolish" riding down I - 20 headed home for a weekend freshman year. Reflecting on his passing, nostalgia for a simpler time is all I think about and how big his music and persona was during that era. The older we get, the more we will have to revisit our adolescence as our hero's pass into the ether. I still don't have a wife, but the white will always be my girlfriend.