In 2007, the 16-year-old Christopher Horton and 20-year-old Brian Dean were shot dead in Newport, Virginia for no apparent reason, although the double murder was thought to be gang-related. In March 2009, the rapper Twain Gotti uploaded a video of his song "Ride Out" to MySpace where it remained until 2011 before coming to the attention of the police investigating the double murder. The song was considered as a confession, or more likely a boast.
Gotti was charged (under his real name Antwain Steward), but the prosecution decided not to play the song to the jury, probably because it has no connection with the crime; for one thing, it alludes only to one murder, not two.
Steward took the stand in his own defense. Although cleared of the most grave charges, he was sentenced to 16 years in prison for firearms offences. He was convicted on the basis of two eyewitness identifications made four years after the crime, which begs the question, should the defense have introduced a certain Ernest Hogan song
to give the jury something to think about?
One academic critic says rappers are creating characters, not writing diaries, and in view of the stunningly large number of offenses prosecuted on the basis of such lyrics, he might just have a point.
Alexander Baron - London, England