AR-Ab sentenced to 45 years for running a drug ring implicated in murder.
Legal name is Abdul West is 38 years old and is known for his catchy lyrics about the street life. The federal judge believed his work on the mic was good enough back up the prosecution’s claims for a sentence of 45 years in prison. The Philly hip hop artist was convicted in 2019 of turning the record label he founded, Original Block Hustlaz (OBH), into a large-scale North Philadelphia drug-trafficking organization implicated in at least one murder.
“The court, the FBI agents, and the prosecutors don’t understand my culture,” he said. “We don’t rap about flowers and rainbows. We’re gangsta rappers. We rap about where we grew up. So we rap about drug dealing. We rap about violence.”
Prosecutors argued that AR-Ab music videos such as the one above and social media were used to brag and confess about crimes committed. The lyrics from the music video helped to convict him that had the verse of, “Quarter million loss, got a broke heart,” he rapped. “And they snatched my dog, that’s the worst part. / One rat destroy everything you work for. / I pray to God that he don’t tell them who he work for.”
“This wasn’t a case against gangsta rap,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Everett R. Witherell said in court Thursday. “Mr. West made it clear not just in his lyrics but in his social media that people should be afraid of him and his willingness to resort to violence.”
“In his neighborhood, it was sports, rap, and selling drugs,” his lawyer, Edward C. Meehan Jr., said Thursday. “While he was able to achieve great success in the music industry, he was not able to outrun some of the problems he grew up with.”
The artists who West had signed to his label have been arrested and sent to prison, including his codefendants in his drug conspiracy case.
West continues to proclaim that he is not guilty of all the charages as he left the court according to Philadelphia Inquirer.
“I’m not saying I’m innocent,” he said moments before U.S. marshals led him back to prison in handcuffs. “I’m saying I’m not guilty of all them charges.”