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Rapper Faces 25 Years to Life in Prison For Gangster Rap Lyrics

January 24, 2015  |  Posted by: Giovanni DePhillips
Rapper Faces 25 Years to Life in Prison For Gangster Rap Lyrics Image courtesy of dshhonline.com

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Gangster rap lyrics But a prosecutor in California says one rapper’s violent lyrics go beyond creative license to conspiracy.

According to CNN, San Diego-based rapper Tiny Doo is facing 25 years to life in prison for his gangster rap lyrics.

Yep you heard that right, under a California statute, he is accused of illegally benefiting from gang activities.

Under the California Penal Code 182.5, it is a felony for anyone to either participate in a criminal street gang, have knowledge that a street gang has engaged in criminal activity, or even benefit from that activity, which is what the rapper is being charged with.

Tiny Doo, whose real name is Brandon Duncan, has already served 8 months in prison. Prosecutors charged Duncan with nine counts of criminal street gang conspiracy and 14 other alleged gang members and alleged they increased their stature and respect following a rash of shootings in the city in 2013.

Prosecutors are claiming that lyrics in Tiny Doo’s album, such as “No Safety,” and “Ain’t no safety on this pistol I’m holding” point to a “direct correlation to what the gang has been doing.”

However, Duncan is not being charged in any shooting, and as a matter of fact he has no criminal record.
Duncan told CNN’s Don Lemon he’s just “painting a picture of urban street life” with his lyrics.
“The studio is my canvas. I’m just painting a picture,” he said. “I’m not telling anybody to go out and kill somebody.”

He has denied any gang involvement and the prosecution has him concerned about future creative expression.
“I would love to continue to rap,” he said. “But these people have you scared to do anything around here.”
Prosecutors maintain they have additional evidence, which included Duncan’s social media posts which prosecutors say prove Duncan’s gang involvement.

Well known New York City criminal defense attorney, Dawn Florio, who has represented numerous rappers, most notably Fat Joe, told JammedUp, “To prosecute someone for rap lyrics is clearly violating a person’s First Amendment right, regardless of what the state’s statute, for the prosecutors to move forward with this case is ridiculous.”

Legal analyst Mark Geragos also disagreed with the case, saying , Although the district attorney may be trying to send a message “that you shouldn’t glorify or glamorize gang activity. The problem is you’re going to run straight head-on into the First Amendment,” he said. “If they don’t have anything other than the album, this case I don’t think would ever stand up.”

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