Rapper 'Tiny Doo' Faces Life in Prison Over Allegedly Violent Lyrics

For better or worse, a lot of rap songs notoriously feature violence in the lyrics. Also usually bitches of some sort or another, but hey -- creative license and all. But one rapper is currently behind bars, and faces up to 25 more years of incarceration, because his lyrics hit a little too close to home.


San Diego-based musician Tiny Doo (real name Brandon Duncan) has already been in jail for eight months under a little-known statute in the California Penal Code, which "makes it a felony for anyone to participate in a criminal street gang, have knowledge that a street gang has engaged in criminal activity, or benefit from that activity."

Prosecutors in the case allege that Duncan has benefited from criminal activity through writing lyrics about it. They claim that Duncan and "14 other alleged gang members increased their stature and respect following a rash of shootings in the city in 2013."

Tiny Doo's album, No Safety, includes lyrics like, "Ain't no safety on this pistol I'm holding." Although no one is alleging that the rapper shot anyone, they're pointing to the lyrics as an example of "direct correlation to what the gang has been doing."

The singer has no criminal record, and told CNN's Don Lemon that he's merely "painting a picture of urban street life."

"The studio is my canvas. I'm just painting a picture," he said. "I'm not telling anybody to go out and kill somebody ... I would love to continue to rap ... but these people have you scared to do anything around here."

Apparently, prosecutors are also pointing to Doo's social media posts as evidence that he's still involved with gang members. You know, because no one ever says dumb things on Twitter. This is a guy who raps about shooting people -- which unfortunately is an everyday occurrence. Lots of rappers rap about guns, are we going to arrest them all?

Duncan's attorney, Brian Watkins, called the allegations "shocking." He said, "He has no criminal record. Nothing in his lyrics say go out and commit a crime. Nothing in his lyrics reference these shootings, yet they are holding him liable for conspiracy. There are huge constitutional issues."

I admit, I'm not a huge fan of most rap music. It's just not my thing. But I am a big fan of creativity, art, and free expression, and this seems absurd. It would be one thing if he wrote lyrics about specific crime scenes that included information not known to the public ... but that doesn't seem to be the case.

The whole thing seems fishy. If the authorities really do have some hard evidence that Tiny Doo committed an actual crime, let's hope they bring that to trial. Because lyrics shouldn't be enough to put him behind bars.

Do you think musicians should have the right to sing about violence?


Image via Tiny Doo/Facebook

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