According to a report by The Philadelphia Inquirer On Thursday April 15, the 38-year-old rhymer, born Abdul West, was sentenced to nearly five decades after being convicted in 2019 of turning his label, Original Block Hustlaz (OBH), into a network of drug that would have involved at least one murder.
Prosecutors in the case alleged that Arab was implicated in the 2017 murder of Robert Johnson, a suspected drug rival, and attempted to have at least one member of Johnson’s family testify in court. However, according to court documents obtained by XXL On Friday April 16, US District Judge Michael Baylson filed a motion barring any “victim impact statement or live testimony regarding the death of Robert Johnson.”
The Inquirer notes that the judge reiterated that Ar-Ab’s alleged link to Johnson’s death was not factored into the rapper’s conviction. Neither were his lyrics, which often focus on drug trafficking and life on the streets.
Instead, Justice Baylson reportedly said Ar-Ab’s 45-year sentence was due to his “anti-social behavior”. The judge reportedly said: “You could have been a hero rather than a criminal. But you became a drug dealer. You made that decision. That’s why you are being punished.”
In court, prosecutors allegedly argued that Ar-Ab’s words were more than music, but confessions to crimes that had taken place. Prosecutors also claimed the lyrics allegedly found on the rapper’s phone were written four days after Johnson’s death. The lyrics said, “I’ll be scared of the whole town / Keep close to me / I call Taz and tell him / Bring me that nigga’s head,” Ar linked to the murder. Dontez “Taz” Stewart, a member of the Ar-Ab crew, pleaded guilty to the murder of Johnson.
Additional statements were made in court by U.S. deputy attorney Everett R. Witherell regarding Ar-Ab’s words. “It wasn’t a gangsta rap case,” Witherell said. “Mr. West made it clear not only in his words but on his social media that people should be afraid of him and his willingness to resort to violence.”
The rapper is said to have maintained his innocence regarding the death of Robert Johnson during his court appearance.
During the trial, Ar-Ab reportedly addressed the court and said, “The court, the FBI agents and the prosecutors do not understand my culture. We don’t rap about flowers and rainbows. We are gangsta rappers. We rap. about where we grew up. So we rap about drug trafficking. We rap about violence. “
On Tuesday April 13, just two days before his trial, Ar-Ab released a statement via Instagram, speaking briefly about his intention to appeal his case. “Sentencing week … don’t expect any indulgence from them … but I’m coming back on appeal right away,” the caption read.
About two years ago, Ar-Ab was convicted of conspiracy, distributing a controlled substance, and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. The substances were cocaine (five kilograms), crack (280 grams or more), methamphetamine (50 grams or more) and heroin (more than 100 grams), according to the press release from the United States Attorney’s Office. United of 2018 – when the rapper was first charged. When Ar-Ab was sentenced in November 2019, he faced at least 15 years in prison.
Co-defendants of Ar-Ab, Jamaal Blanding, Jameel Hickson, Richard Chase Hoover, Dontez Stewart, Amir Boyer, Daryl Baker, Hans Gadson and Dennis Harmon have been charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine , crack and heroin, distribution of methamphetamine and illegal possession of a firearm in 2018.
They also argued that Original Block Hustlaz was not a drug trafficking ring but rather a legitimate record company.
Ar-Ab first made a name for himself through his association with fellow rapper Philly Cassidy and was linked to the Cass manslaughter case in 2005. Ar also competed with Meek Mill in the past, but the two fences later repaired and crushed their beef. In 2016, Ar-Ab signed a deal with Cash Money Records.
XXL contacted the Philadelphia courts for comment on this matter.
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