US rapper ASAP Rocky, real name Rakim Mayers, has been found guilty of assault during a Stockholm fight and given a two-year suspended sentence.
Rapping (or rhyming, spitting, emceeing, MCing) is a musical form of vocal delivery that incorporates “rhyme, rhythmic speech, and street vernacular”, which is performed or chanted in a variety of ways, usually over a backing beat or musical accompaniment. The components of rap include “content” (what is being said), “flow” (rhythm, rhyme), and “delivery” (cadence, tone). Rap differs from spoken-word poetry in that rap is usually performed in time to an instrumental track. Rap is often associated with, and is a primary ingredient of hip-hop music, but the origins of the phenomenon predate hip-hop culture. The earliest precursor to the modern rap is the West African griot tradition, in which “oral historians”, or “praise-singers”, would disseminate oral traditions and genealogies, or use their formidable rhetorical techniques for gossip or to “praise or critique individuals.” Griot traditions connect to rap along a lineage of Black verbal reverence that goes back to ancient Egyptian practices, through James Brown interacting with the crowd and the band between songs, to Muhammad Ali’s quick-witted verbal taunts and the palpitating poems of the Last Poets. Therefore, rap lyrics and music are part of the “Black rhetorical continuum”, and aim to reuse elements of past traditions while expanding upon them through “creative use of language and rhetorical styles and strategies. The person credited with originating the style of “delivering rhymes over extensive music”, that would become known as rap, was Anthony “DJ Hollywood” Holloway from Harlem, New York.Rap is usually delivered over a beat, typically provided by a DJ, turntablist, beatboxer, or performed a cappella without accompaniment. Stylistically, rap occupies a gray area between speech, prose, poetry, and singing. The word, which predates the musical form, originally meant “to lightly strike”, and is now used to describe quick speech or repartee. The word had been used in British English since the 16th century. It was part of the African American dialect of English in the 1960s meaning “to converse”, and very soon after that in its present usage as a term denoting the musical style. Today, the term rap is so closely associated with hip-hop music that many writers use the terms interchangeably.
ASAP Rocky case: Rapper found guilty of assault
Guilty most commonly refers to the feeling of guilt, an experience that occurs when a person believes having violated a moral standard.
Guilty or The Guilty may also refer to:
The 30-year-old has also been ordered to pay damages to the victim.
ASAP Rocky spent nearly a month in custody after the assault, which happened at the end of June, before being released ahead of the verdict.
ASAP Rocky case: Rapper found guilty of assault
“Our reaction is disappointment,” ASAP Rocky’s lawyer said, adding the verdict was “hard to accept”.
Two members of ASAP Rocky’s entourage, Bladimir Corniel and David Rispers, were found guilty of the same charge.
“The assault has not been of such a serious nature that a prison sentence must be chosen,” the court said in a statement.
“The defendants are therefore sentenced to conditional sentences.”
A suspended sentence means that as long as ASAP Rocky and the two other men found guilty commit no further crimes during a two-year probation period, they will avoid prison.
ASAP Rocky and his co-defendants claimed they had been acting in self-defence against two men who had been following their group.
But the court said the three were “not in a situation where they were entitled to self-defence” and wrote in its verdict that they “assaulted the victim by hitting and kicking him as he lay on the ground.
“The artist has also thrown the victim to the ground and stepped on his arm.”
- How the ASAP Rocky assault case unfolded
The court said the victim of the assault, a 19-year-old refugee, was awarded damages for what the court described as the violation of his integrity and for pain and suffering.
The judgement ruled that there was not enough evidence to say that bottles had been used during the assault – a key part of the evidence presented during the three-day trial which took place at the beginning of August.
“The court has recognised that Rocky and his party were followed and harassed, that no bottle was used, that Rocky didn’t act in a joined attack with the others and that Rocky didn’t inflict any wounds on the victim and that is a win,” ASAP Rocky’s lawyer Slobodan Jovicic told the BBC.
“But the court has also concluded that Rocky didn’t act in self-defence. It’s a conclusion that Rocky and I don’t agree with.”
ASAP Rocky’s case attracted international attention when US President Donald Trump intervened, claiming ASAP Rocky was being treated unfairly.
US gossip website TMZ had previously claimed that walking into Kronoberg prison – where ASAP Rocky was being held – was like “walking into a toilet”. The prison’s governor rejected those claims when speaking to Radio 1 Newsbeat.
Mr Trump said he’d spoken to Sweden’s Prime Minister after having a conversation with Kanye West.
But the president later reacted angrily when he was unable to secure ASAP Rocky’s release.
Maddy Savage, reporting from Stockholm
Unlike during the trial there were no queues to get into the court ahead of the verdict, with fewer international media reporting on the case and only a handful of fans turning up to hear the decision.
Even ASAP Rocky’s lawyer wasn’t present – he’s working on another case in Uppsala, a Swedish city about an hour’s drive from here. But this is a case that’s still grabbing headlines in Sweden, where ASAP Rocky’s dominated the news in recent weeks and has become a household name after one of the most high-profile Swedish trials in years.
While the rapper’s team didn’t get the not guilty verdict they were hoping for, they will be relieved the star doesn’t have to return to Sweden to spend any more time behind bars. That sentiment was echoed by just a handful of fans who gathered outside the court.
ASAP Rocky was forced to cancel numerous festival appearances while in custody in Sweden in July.
J Hus filled in for his headline slot at Wireless in London, while Ski Mask The Slump God filled in at Longitude in Dublin.
After being released earlier this month he performed at the 92.3 Real Street Festival in California, calling his time in Swedish prison “scary” and “humbling” before telling the crowd: “I need y’all to keep praying for me.”
He’s scheduled to headline Blockfest in Finland on Friday.
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