So next time you think about showing off your skills through an angry youtube rap, you might want to take another hit and then think again. According to United Press International two Massachusetts men have been charged “with posting a threatening video on YouTube that mentioned the names of a state trooper and a probation officer,” click here for the story. Apparently the two emcees, Mathew Rufino, 24, and Jason Foley, 28, posted a “music video” on youtube, entitled “Watch 4 Me”, that aside from specifically naming the trooper and probation officer, featured images of a gun and the sounds of shots fired. Foley was named as a co-defendant for his role in allegedly producing and uploading the video. Initially noticed by officials on Friday, both men were arrested during the weekend and appeared in court Monday where the judge ordered them held pending a hearing next Monday on whether they should remain in jail. Yup, you heard that right–they have to stay in jail while the judge figures out whether they should stay in jail until this whole thing is sorted out–welcome to the black legal system…enjoy it guys.
Apparently, the two crossed the line–i.e. their attempt at street cred became criminal–when they simultaneously used both the names and gun imagery in their video. I, on the other hand, would argue that the complete lack of flow is the true crime. The greatest bit has to be that, even though he calls the two officers out, he really has no reason for his beef. The probation officer merely supervised him on a pot possession charge while the state trooper pulled him over three years ago for driving with a suspended license. The former is definitely not beef worth, but if you really wanted to make a mountain out of a mole hill, then you could argue that the latter is beef worth. Oh wait, i forgot, the trooper didn’t even arrest him. “He wrote him a ticket and he was summonsed into court and the matter was cleared up. So it’s not really clear why he chose these two people to go after, but the fact remains he did” said Steven Gagney, the assistant district attorney. Really Rufino, really? Though I do have to wonder what a white kid from New Bedford would rap about–the angst of not living it Boston? The difficulties of living in the suburbs? Perhaps his desire to become a lobsterman.
According to the Boston Globe, the history of rap up until this moment, and common sense, the video would have been protected free speech if it had simply been aimed at police. There are tons of albums out there referencing mistrust, dislike, to extreme hatred at the police, but throwing in specific names is dumb…especially when you don’t have a record label or career to back you up (though I doubt even Rocafella would back them up). When asked by the Globe (and I’m not entirely sure why they did), Rufino’s mother explained that her son thought he was going to make it big one day and the rap video would help him build his career. Having been around the internet from the beginning, and through the viral video craze, I can say that unless it involves asses in any way, people getting hurt, or really socially awkward breaking out of their shell only to become the butt of a cruel cruel joke, no one is going to watch your video. On that note:
So the two sides of the case break down like this: prosecutor Steven Gagne said, “They’re perfectly entitled to express all the discontent they have with law enforcement in general. But when you specify particular people by name, where they work, and combine that with graphic images of a gun to someone’s head and the gun going off, that’s where it crosses the line.” Meanwhile, the defenses cases is summed up as, “The substance of this rap video, although offensive and probably inappropriate and certainly misguided and not very smart, isn’t criminal.” Granted, I’m no lawyer, but when your defense attorney takes the “my clients are too dumb to realize that this was a really, really bad idea” approach…your fucked…and you’re a dumbass.
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