Mckinley Mac Phipps, Bob Watchers, MAC discussed on All Things Considered

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

2001. The rapper Mac Phipps was convicted of manslaughter, his crime, killing a young fan at a nightclub in Slide L. Louisiana, where Phipps was performing. Many at the time. It was another story of a gangster rapper living the life he celebrated in his lyrics. But the new podcast from NPR music louder than a riot finds evidence that Mac Phipps may actually be innocent. NPR's Sydney Madden and Rodney Carmichael, pick up the story. Max trial to place across the lake from New Orleans in front of a suburban all white jury. The prosecution's argument was simple. That called himself the camouflage assassin. All you have to do is listen to his music to know he was guilty. Kill, Kill miss real you cross people got his part of the prosecutor's opening arguments reenacted from court transcripts. Murder, murder, Kill, kill! Pull the trigger. Put a bullet in your head. Those are some of the lyrics that this defendant chooses to rap when he performs. This is the self proclaimed camouflaged assassin. At the conclusion of this trial. I am going to ask you to rip the camouflage from this assassin and reveal him as the killer that he is. NPR reached out to prosecutor Bruce Dearing for an interview. But he declined. Now there was other evidence people saw him with the gun and two eye witnesses pinned him as the shooter. Mac has always maintained his innocence. He listened as the prosecutor, cherry picked lines from different songs, even changing his lyrics. We'll be killed, just like Damn. I haven't lived my whole life trying to Max first album for No Limit. He broke the top 20, Don't they? Government closed my home, but at the time Mac didn't want his mom. She loved to hear it. He is in my hands, a lot of person and that because you know, he don't like the curse in front of me. I'm like well Let me hear it anyway, you know, so I heard it. I liked it. You know, I know it was a lot of it was a little raunchy. I looked at him like, okay. I knew it was all about, you know him, want to get paid and help his family out of the struggles that we would have, and Mac moved his family to a nice house and give them jobs and his production company. His parents even worked at his shows. Things were good. For a while. We probably one of the nicest guys I haven't met his master P again. They got the wrong guy. I mean, we talk about assassin you're talking about verbal assassins were talking about how he killed people with his lyrics. And I think the system mixed that up rap about all kinds of stuff. I used to write while trying to save a world I rap about all types of stuff growing up. You know, and That was actually my favorite type. He was what they would call today or conscious hip hop or whatnot. After I was gone before I signed with the letter, I didn't seem to be able to great throw back then. That's that. But here I stopped making a type of music that selling All over for this music is being used against me. In course, when Max Cherry came back, the verdict was guilty. He got 30 years program a crime like that my life. Like a kid again. I went back to the channel when they brought me back. I was saying that I was angry with God or anything. I was angry, like, knew. How could you do this to me? Max been behind bars for 20 years now. In the time since the state's case against him has fallen apart. For one thing. Another man originally confessed to the crime. The prosecution dismissed him. They said he wasn't believable. I just thought that wants these people saw the videotape profession. I was going home, but I had never heard of anything in my life like that. Like you know, someone confessing to something that person still staying in prison. One of the state's two eye witnesses even recanted, she says now that she didn't see anything, but she was threatened with an obstruction charge if she didn't testify at the time, she was pregnant, and the D a told her quote. You're gonna have that baby in prison. NPR has since talk to new witnesses who tell a very different story than the one presented in court. About what happened that night. My mom gave me permission to go and me and my best friend who lived across the street. We Put on matching skirts and we went. That's Jamie Wilson, she says. There's no way Matt could have been the shooter. We had just gotten drinks and the song was handing. We had missed most of it trying to get a drink. Remember, we were complaining about that. And, um Max started to come off of the stage and then it's like Seconds later, it felt like or maybe a minute or two shots rained out. Remember, he was still right there like this is going on. And so he kind of like, get down, you know, and I ducked. You know, I was freaking out on the floor of my coma. Gone. Are we going to die? Because they're like, Oh, my God. Oh, my God! Oh, my God. And then, as Mac was getting up, he drew a weapon and was like, Where's my mom? Where's Mama? He was asking. Where's his mama? The next day, Jamie went to the police with the story. But she says the detective did anything but put her at ease. I've never felt so small before in my life. It was I think he called me a liar at one point. No, he used liar or you lied or something to that nature. It's like he was except that we existed that that there was someone that is saying no to everything that they're saying. You know, it's like you can tell that they just I didn't want to listen. They just didn't want to hear Max. Many appeals have never worked. His last hope now rests with the U. S. Supreme Court. That's because Max jury was split into two on his guilt. See, Louisiana allowed non unanimous convictions at the time, a century old racist law written specifically to weaken the impact of black jurors. But this year, the Supreme Court actually ruled that that was unconstitutional. But the ruling isn't necessarily retroactive. So while his lawyers work to throw out his conviction Mac's family waits. Of her people say this before, but is really true is when someone is locked up in prison. It seemed like the whole family's locked up, you know? All of us and never feel free until so he's out. Especially someone is there's enough for a crime he didn't commit. But Mac's case is hardly isolated. Prosecutors have used rap lyrics against defendants in hundreds of cases all over the country. Experts say the true number is actually hard to quantify. No other genre gets misused this way, But

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