Is It Fair to Sentence this Rapper to Life, Just Because of His Explicit Music?

Rapper may get life for making music
Brandon Duncan aka rapper Tiny Doo (shown on the left)

*I think we can agree that not every rapper makes the kind of music we’d be blasting from our stereo, but damn, if we start arresting them because of the content of the music they make, its safe to assume there will be a serious decline in the free population. Just look at the case of rapper Tiny Doo, whose album – No Safety – may very well put him behind bars…

For life.

Born Brandon Duncan , he made a mix tape that the San Diego County District Attorney’s office alleges is proof that he is an active member of a gang that orchestrated a series of shootings in California. A group of 14 men are currently awaiting trial for the attempted murders, and Duncan has been included in the bunch.

Why, because of his mix tape?

Now, there is nothing concrete that links the rapper to the scene of the crime. There is no proof that he even had or used a firearm; or purchased any weapons, but a photo of Duncan with some of the alleged shooters was found, along with the mix tape, on social media .

This finding encouraged the prosecutors to go back to enact a law from the year 2000 that will “allow for the prosecution of gang members if they benefit from crimes committed by other gang members.”

Wow, one can’t help but think: if they went back and arrested every rapper who indulged in explicit material, and automatically implicated them by the company they kept, a lot of our most recognized DJs would be in lock-down… for life.

But this is Duncan’s reality, not conjecture. And its seems like a dangerous use of the justice system to allow the possibility of such an assumption to have such an impact on the life of a potentially innocent person; not to mention his livelihood.

Especially since there is no direct proof he was involved in the crime at all.

Yet the District Attorney’s office feels that Duncan’s affiliation with the gang – compounded by his CD cover showing “a revolver with bullets,” – justifies not only punishment, but punishment this harsh.

A December 4 trial date has been set and according to the Los Angeles Times, Duncan is being held on $1 million bail. It is also worth noting that he has never been convicted or penalized for any criminal activity in the past. If he happens to be convicted for the crime that he swears he did not commit – he will likely face up to life in prison.

Brian Watkins, who represents Duncan, emphasized the fact that his client is suffering for his right to be creatively expressive. “ If we are trying to criminalize artistic expression, what’s next, Brian De Palma and Al Pacino?” “Every drug gangster loves ‘Scarface’. Does it encourage violence?’

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