Friday, November 9, 2007

A Banner Day For Hip-Hop

If you ever needed an illustration for why rappers stay losing, look no further than the court docket in Manhattan the other day that featured not one, not two, not three, but four rappers being tried on four separate cases.

The docket at New York State Court on Wednesday read like a who's who of the hip-hop world as four major rap artists faced separate charges, highlighting the fine line between image and reality in U.S. rap music.

Grammy-winning rapper Busta Rhymes faced assault charges. Popular female rapper Remy Ma was accused of shooting and critically wounding a Bronx woman. Lil Wayne and Ja Rule made separate appearances on weapons charges.

The cases were unrelated but their timing meant that the dingy, dimly lit corridors of the Manhattan courthouse were brightened by fans pulling out camera phones to snap pictures of the stars.

Remy Ma, a Bronx native, won the highly rated Black Entertainment Television award for best female hip-hop artist in 2005. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 25 years behind bars for the July 14 shooting of Makeda Barnes-Joseph.

Busta Rhymes, whose real name is Trevor Smith and whose hits include "Dangerous" and "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See," faces four consecutive trials for two assault and two driving violations. He has twice turned down a plea deal that would have jailed him for a year in exchange for a guilty plea to four misdemeanor charges.

Police said Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Carter, was found smoking marijuana and carrying a weapon. Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeff Atkins, was stopped an hour earlier by police who said he possessed a .40-caliber handgun. They both face charges of illegal gun possession. Trial dates have not yet been set.
Wow, when a routine day in court looks like The Source Awards, it's clearly not a good look. Criminality in rap music isn't a new thing of course, but damn, what a sad, sad coincidence.

Even sadder is the fact that none of these numbskulls will likely do a minute in jail for their various infractions, the worst of which has to be Remy Ma.

You probably wouldn't know Remy if she walked into your office and delivered a pizza (likely her next career), but she's the chick who was that "Lean Back" song a couple of summers ago. Now, she is facing "possible" jail time for shooting her former stylist in a dispute over $2000 that was allegedly stolen from her purse. Obviously, it never occurred to Remy to call the police to help settle this little misunderstanding. Nope, she (allegedly) took matters in her own hands and shot the chick in the stomach at point blank range. The woman survived however, and now Ms. Remy is facing up to 25 years in the clink. She is also alleged to have threatened the witness with further bodily harm if she testifies in court. The Village Voice had a not-too-flattering writeup about this whole thing today, you can peep the link below if you feel like crying inside.

Either way, rap is outta control, and with sales of the genre on a rapid decline, you have to wonder just how long it'll be before it goes the way of disco and we're all back to listening to Will Downing or something similarly corny.

Four rappers share stage in New York courts [Reuters]

Shooting Star: Taking aim at Remy Ma [Village Voice]

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