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Thread: rapper facing life in prison for making an album

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    Registered User Poca's Avatar Poca is offline
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    rapper facing life in prison for making an album

    Meet Tiny Doo, the rapper facing life in prison for making an album | Music | The Guardian

    As rappers go, Brandon Duncan’s approach is not unusual: his lyrics reflect the violent reality of the streets. But in the pantheon of rappers who have had run-ins with the courts, Tiny Doo looms large. Despite his lack of a criminal record, Duncan stands accused of nine counts of participating in a “criminal street gang conspiracy”, charges that could land him in prison for life.

    But Duncan is not charged with participating in any of the crimes underlying the conspiracy, or even agreeing to them. Rather, he’s effectively on trial for making a rap album.

    While details are sparse and the evidence presented against Duncan thus far is reportedly thin, prosecutors appear to be operating on the premise that criminal activity by others, mentioned in Duncan’s lyrics, benefits sales of his album No Safety. “We’re not just talking about a CD of anything, of love songs,” Deputy District Attorney Anthony Campagna argued to the court at Duncan’s preliminary hearing this month.

    The San Diego County district attorney’s office declined to comment on the case to the Guardian, instead pointing to comments by the gangs division chief prosecutor, Dana Greisen, asserting: “Rap music, it’s just another form of communication that gang members use” in furtherance of their crimes.

    Putting a musician on trial for his lyrics is antithetical to Americans’ free speech rights, and quite possibly unconstitutional. What’s more, the “criminal street gang conspiracy” law that Duncan is charged with violating – part of an anti-gang initiative package passed by California voters in 2000 – stands in marked contrast to conspiracy as California has traditionally defined it.

    Ordinarily, to be guilty of conspiracy in California an individual must agree with another person to commit a crime, then at least one of them must take action to further that conspiracy. The charge Duncan faces requires no such agreement: so long as prosecutors can show that Duncan is an active member of the gang and knows about its general criminal activity, past or present, he can be convicted for benefiting from its acts.

    This kind of legislation is often born of moral panic, and can lead to ill-advised prosecutions. But the manner in which it is being applied to Duncan should disturb all who care about free expression. Under the prosecution’s logic, acclaimed photographer Danny Lyon might never have finished The Bikeriders, let alone made later photographs documenting the American Civil Rights Movement, prison conditions in Texas, or the continuing effect of the US government’s genocide of Native Americans, because his affiliation with the bikers he photographed would have landed him a long prison sentence.

    In reality, of course, the use of rap lyrics in criminal cases is intimately tied up with issues of race and class, and music associated with youth culture is often misunderstood by authorities. As such, it should be no surprise that rappers frequently find their art turned on them. While Duncan’s prosecution is perhaps uniquely shocking in its brazenness, he is but one of many notable rappers whose lyrics have been used against them in court.

    One of the earliest examples was the pioneering rapper from Vallejo, California, Andre Hicks, better known by his stage name, Mac Dre. Hicks, who is widely considered the founding father of the hyphy movement, was convicted in 1993 of conspiracy to commit bank robbery and sentenced to five years in federal prison. But in that case, the FBI’s initial investigation into Mac Dre focused on whether a series of robberies by the so-called Romper Room Gang were financing his rap career as part of a quid-pro-quo relationship. If true, this would seem to be more congruent with classic conspiracy law, though ultimately Hicks’s conviction hinged on other facts. He maintained his innocence until his death in 2004.

    Other rappers have seen their lyrics more directly attacked. In 1990, Miami-based rappers 2 Live Crew went on trial in an ultra-rare prosecution alleging their lyrics were obscene. The New York Times reported at the time that the primary piece of evidence was an audio tape made by undercover sheriff’s deputies who attended a performance by the group. The rappers were acquitted later that year.

    And, of course, law enforcement officers frequently use lyrics in an attempt to tie suspects to specific crimes committed in the real world. In October, Ra Diggs was found guilty of three counts of murder in federal court in Brooklyn after prosecutors were able to present his songs and videos in court. Last month, rapper Laz tha Boy, born Deandre Mitchell, of Richmond, California, narrowly dodged an attempted murder charge by pleading guilty to assault with a firearm; Mitchell’s attorney, John Hamasaki, told the ABA Journal that prosecutors intended to introduce music videos by his client at trial.

    There does appear to be some pushback from courts. For example, the New Jersey supreme court held in August that rap lyrics cannot be used as evidence of motive and intent “except when such material has a direct connection to the specifics of the offense” for which it is offered, on the grounds that the prejudicial impact of “inflammatory” art risks “poisoning” juries against defendants.

    But while the careful weighing of lyrics’ evidentiary value is important, it is not necessary in the case of Brandon Duncan. It is sufficient that a young man has been threatened with life in prison for speaking his truth about the world.
    Chen ki japé pa mòde!

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    Registered User Vye Negre is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poca View Post
    Meet Tiny Doo, the rapper facing life in prison for making an album | Music | The Guardian

    As rappers go, Brandon Duncan’s approach is not unusual: his lyrics reflect the violent reality of the streets. But in the pantheon of rappers who have had run-ins with the courts, Tiny Doo looms large. Despite his lack of a criminal record, Duncan stands accused of nine counts of participating in a “criminal street gang conspiracy”, charges that could land him in prison for life.

    But Duncan is not charged with participating in any of the crimes underlying the conspiracy, or even agreeing to them. Rather, he’s effectively on trial for making a rap album.

    While details are sparse and the evidence presented against Duncan thus far is reportedly thin, prosecutors appear to be operating on the premise that criminal activity by others, mentioned in Duncan’s lyrics, benefits sales of his album No Safety. “We’re not just talking about a CD of anything, of love songs,” Deputy District Attorney Anthony Campagna argued to the court at Duncan’s preliminary hearing this month.

    The San Diego County district attorney’s office declined to comment on the case to the Guardian, instead pointing to comments by the gangs division chief prosecutor, Dana Greisen, asserting: “Rap music, it’s just another form of communication that gang members use” in furtherance of their crimes.

    Putting a musician on trial for his lyrics is antithetical to Americans’ free speech rights, and quite possibly unconstitutional. What’s more, the “criminal street gang conspiracy” law that Duncan is charged with violating – part of an anti-gang initiative package passed by California voters in 2000 – stands in marked contrast to conspiracy as California has traditionally defined it.

    Ordinarily, to be guilty of conspiracy in California an individual must agree with another person to commit a crime, then at least one of them must take action to further that conspiracy. The charge Duncan faces requires no such agreement: so long as prosecutors can show that Duncan is an active member of the gang and knows about its general criminal activity, past or present, he can be convicted for benefiting from its acts.

    This kind of legislation is often born of moral panic, and can lead to ill-advised prosecutions. But the manner in which it is being applied to Duncan should disturb all who care about free expression. Under the prosecution’s logic, acclaimed photographer Danny Lyon might never have finished The Bikeriders, let alone made later photographs documenting the American Civil Rights Movement, prison conditions in Texas, or the continuing effect of the US government’s genocide of Native Americans, because his affiliation with the bikers he photographed would have landed him a long prison sentence.

    In reality, of course, the use of rap lyrics in criminal cases is intimately tied up with issues of race and class, and music associated with youth culture is often misunderstood by authorities. As such, it should be no surprise that rappers frequently find their art turned on them. While Duncan’s prosecution is perhaps uniquely shocking in its brazenness, he is but one of many notable rappers whose lyrics have been used against them in court.

    One of the earliest examples was the pioneering rapper from Vallejo, California, Andre Hicks, better known by his stage name, Mac Dre. Hicks, who is widely considered the founding father of the hyphy movement, was convicted in 1993 of conspiracy to commit bank robbery and sentenced to five years in federal prison. But in that case, the FBI’s initial investigation into Mac Dre focused on whether a series of robberies by the so-called Romper Room Gang were financing his rap career as part of a quid-pro-quo relationship. If true, this would seem to be more congruent with classic conspiracy law, though ultimately Hicks’s conviction hinged on other facts. He maintained his innocence until his death in 2004.

    Other rappers have seen their lyrics more directly attacked. In 1990, Miami-based rappers 2 Live Crew went on trial in an ultra-rare prosecution alleging their lyrics were obscene. The New York Times reported at the time that the primary piece of evidence was an audio tape made by undercover sheriff’s deputies who attended a performance by the group. The rappers were acquitted later that year.

    And, of course, law enforcement officers frequently use lyrics in an attempt to tie suspects to specific crimes committed in the real world. In October, Ra Diggs was found guilty of three counts of murder in federal court in Brooklyn after prosecutors were able to present his songs and videos in court. Last month, rapper Laz tha Boy, born Deandre Mitchell, of Richmond, California, narrowly dodged an attempted murder charge by pleading guilty to assault with a firearm; Mitchell’s attorney, John Hamasaki, told the ABA Journal that prosecutors intended to introduce music videos by his client at trial.

    There does appear to be some pushback from courts. For example, the New Jersey supreme court held in August that rap lyrics cannot be used as evidence of motive and intent “except when such material has a direct connection to the specifics of the offense” for which it is offered, on the grounds that the prejudicial impact of “inflammatory” art risks “poisoning” juries against defendants.

    But while the careful weighing of lyrics’ evidentiary value is important, it is not necessary in the case of Brandon Duncan. It is sufficient that a young man has been threatened with life in prison for speaking his truth about the world.
    they always have and always will come up with new ways to criminalise our young men, its as simple as that. While we focused on having the latest designers, disrespecting our women, segregating ourselves and generally selling ourselves out... they are fully focused on keeping us oppressed.

  3. #3
    Searching For Answers Hello BKLYN is offline
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    if they start doing this they would be locking up a whooollleeeee bunch of rappers...
    every rapper throws name of actuall criminals in their lyrics...
    which is retarded to do when you think about it but these lil snot nose idiots so thirsty for street cred they dont think...
    the healthy man does not torture others - generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.

    Carl G. Jung

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    Registered User Vye Negre is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hello BKLYN View Post
    if they start doing this they would be locking up a whooollleeeee bunch of rappers...
    every rapper throws name of actuall criminals in their lyrics...
    (which is retarded to do when you think about it)
    The difference being???

    There are already a whoooollleee bunch of who in prison???
    We need to open our eyes, the headlines are just a distraction from the reality. This is just another was to criminalise our youngsters, it may or may not work only history will confirm that, but it is what it is!

  5. #5
    Searching For Answers Hello BKLYN is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vye Negre View Post
    The difference being???

    There are already a whoooollleee bunch of who in prison???
    We need to open our eyes, the headlines are just a distraction from the reality. This is just another was to criminalise our youngsters, it may or may not work only history will confirm that, but it is what it is!
    never stated there is any kind of difference..
    i'm just stating that IF this is something they are starting to do, a lot of rappers will get jammed up cause they all throw names out there...

    But cops can and will use lyrics and youtube videos in their investigations..
    Even 50 Cent had to tell Cheif Keef to stop making those videos actuall gangsters and posin wit guns cause the cops are watching all that
    the healthy man does not torture others - generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.

    Carl G. Jung

  6. #6
    Registered User Vye Negre is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hello BKLYN View Post
    never stated there is any kind of difference..
    i'm just stating that IF this is something they are starting to do, a lot of rappers will get jammed up cause they all throw names out there...

    But cops can and will use lyrics and youtube videos in their investigations..
    Even 50 Cent had to tell Cheif Keef to stop making those videos actuall gangsters and posin wit guns cause the cops are watching all that
    I hear you

  7. #7
    Registered User Poca's Avatar Poca is offline
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    how about video games that "glorify" criminal activities? I personally do not listen to rap or American music really, but the entertainment industry very often portrays morally disturbing acts. Why stop at rap only? How about Death metal? Black metal?
    Chen ki japé pa mòde!

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    Searching For Answers Hello BKLYN is offline
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    difference here is, rappers this Tiny Doo guy is actually naming real names of gangsters, and rapping about real crimes and gang activity...
    video games and death metal on the other hand is fantasy...

    But like the article said, details are sparse and the evidence presented against Duncan thus far is reportedly thin...
    they dont have a real case... i think this case wont go far at all
    the healthy man does not torture others - generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.

    Carl G. Jung

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