When Christopher Behm-Meyer, aka B-Money
of the Crunk Bros.
crews, first showed up on Denver's hip-hop scene, he was a teenager.
"We didn't know who B-Money was. He was this young kid," says Francisco Chacon, recalling the Next Level DJ battle where he first encountered Behm-Meyer.
Seventeen years later, members of the community are mourning B-Money, recalling his laughter, generosity and contributions to Denver hip-hop. Behm-Meyer died on August 24, just days after turning 35.
Already, memorial tags of his name have popped up around town.
"This guy was a renaissance hip-hopper. He was a DJ. He would breakdance. He would do graffiti," says Chacon, a fellow DJ, friend and former mentor of Behm-Meyer who performs as Cysko Rokwel. "It wasn't like he started good at [graffiti]. He would try and try. He was the most persistent person."
Front Range hip-hop fans may be familiar with Basementalism
, the hip-hop show Behm-Meyer hosted on Radio 1190 while he attended the University of Colorado Boulder. Artists recall heading to his house after the show to scratch and listen to music.
Many DJs spend their time scratching together, Chacon says. But Behm-Meyer put in extra hours practicing alone to hone his craft.
Kalyn Heffernan, Wheelchair Sports Camp
MC and former mayoral candidate, also recalls Behm-Meyer's care in his work ethic and study of hip-hop music and culture.
"He was so dedicated to the turntableism craft," she says. His record collection was meticulously organized. "He was a super-dedicated hard worker that I know so many of us looked up to for his grind and consistency."
Behm-Meyer accompanied Wheelchair Sports Camp on its first tour out of state. After a show in Denton, Texas, most of the group was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana and for painting graffiti.
Everyone except Heffernan and Behm-Meyer, that is — despite the fact that Heffernan was using a wheelchair with spray paint all over it and both of them were carrying marijuana. The truck with their gear was towed. Their friends were in jail.
"We went back to the hotel like, 'How in the hell did they not find that? And how the hell did we just get off?'" Heffernan recalls. The pair set to work getting their friends out of jail, and a few days later, they were all in Austin for South by Southwest.
Already, graffiti tributes to Christopher Behm-Meyer, who performed as B-Money, have appeared on walls around Denver. Behm-Meyer died on August 24.
Friends remember Behm-Meyer for his enthusiasm and kindness as much as for his art.
"He had the biggest smile, even at gritty rap battles or rowdy hip-hop shows," says Ru Johnson, a music writer and promoter who has championed the local hip-hop scene for years.
Even when Behm-Meyer struggled, he put others first, Chacon says. "When I had personal problems, he'd give me a couch, a sandwich, a beer — whatever I needed."