Hip Hop Artist Facing Life in Prison for Rap Album

Ben Keller

Hip Hop Artist Facing Life in Prison for Rap Album

California rapper, Tiny Doo, otherwise known as Brandon Duncan, may beat the rap.

But he won’t beat the ride.

Especially considering he is currently incarcerated in a Southern California jail facing life in prison on attempted murder charges. Not because San Diego police found anything linking him to an actual murder, but because they say he is a documented Lincoln Park Bloods gang member who posted photos of himself and fellow gang members on his latest album.

Prosecutors say he is profiting from gang activity through his music, even though it doesn’t contain any evidence of actual murder plots nor does he have any prior convictions linking him to gang activity.

It’s such a stretch that even police are questioning the prosecution, judging by PoliceOne’s facebook page, an online police community vastly in support of Duncan.

One PoliceOne facebook commenter who sports a police badge as her profile picture says:

“I guess they are going to start locking up the people who make violent video games and movies next. What about death metal artists who write songs about killing and rape? Are they going to start locking up people who write murder mysteries because someone decides to act it out? Rap is no different.”

Others took to their keyboards to express their dissatisfaction about the overreach, “Only in Kalifornia. What a crock. If he’s truly a criminal, I’m sure they can find something worthwhile to arrest him for,” one commenter writes. “It’s protected free speech. Freedom of speech includes the right: To use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages. Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. (1971),” wrote another.

According to a source, “The prosecution says that the shootings enhanced the fearsome reputation of the gangs and allowed Tiny Doo to sell more copies of No Safety, an album that has a revolver as its cover art.”

The San Diego District Attorney’s Office is using a seldom-used statute to justify its accusations that states:

“Any person who is convicted of a felony committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with any criminal street gang, with the specific intent to promote, further, or assist in any criminal conduct by gang members, shall, upon conviction of that felony, in addition and consecutive to the punishment prescribed for the felony or attempted felony of which he or she has been convicted…”

According to prosecutors, Duncan benefited from a crime, and is being charged with attempted murder for lyrics he sang on an underground rap album that he sold and profited from. They say the alleged gang shootings gave his gang more street cred and because of that, he sold more albums.

The case against Duncan shows how far District Attorneys will sometimes go in order to get convictions, whether or not their accusations are based in on reality or not. The DA’s office is refusing to comment, but it seems they are reaching on this one, even to the most pro-law enforcement groups among us, who don’t believe Duncan should be charged for a murder he didn’t actually commit.

According to an LATimes article, Deputy Dist. Atty. Anthony Campagna said about the case against Duncan, “We’re not just talking about an album of anything, of love songs.” The cover shows a revolver with bullets, Campagna told the judge.

Trial is set for Dec. 4. Duncan will be held in jail in lieu of $1-million bail. If convicted, he could get between 25 years to life in prison. Below is one of his music videos, which will give you an idea of why prosecutors want to lock him up for decades.


Citizen Journalism