AceShowbiz - Ar-AB, a Philadelphia rapper, is likely to spend most of the rest of his life in prison, if he makes it to his 80s. The hip-hop star, whose legal name is Abdul Ibrahim West, has been sentenced to 45 years in prison, longer than he has lived so far, for running a drug trafficking ring.
A federal judge handed the hefty sentence in a Philadelphia courtroom on Thursday, April 15. The 38-year-old rap star, who appeared in person in court, was convicted in 2019 for turning his record label Original Block Hustlaz (OBH) into a large-scale North Philadelphia drug trafficking organization implicated in at least one murder.
Although Ar-AB's former associated claimed he ordered the 2017 killing of drug-world rival Robert Johnson, U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson noted that it wasn't a consideration in his sentence. The judge also insisted that the rapper's violent lyrics were not a factor in his bulky sentence.
Instead, the judge cited his "antisocial behavior" as the reason for his 45-year prison sentence. "You could have been a hero instead of a criminal," Baylson said. "But you became a drug dealer. You made that decision. That's why you're being punished."
According to The Inquirer, Ar-AB showed little remorse, defending his lifestyle choices as saying, "The court, the FBI agents, and the prosecutors don’t understand my culture." He went on arguing, "We don't rap about flowers and rainbows. We're gangsta rappers. We rap about where we grew up. So we rap about drug dealing. We rap about violence."
Throughout the trial, Ar-AB's music and social media presence were heavily scrutinized. Assistant U.S. Attorney Everett R. Witherell claimed, "This wasn't a case against gangsta rap. Mr. West made it clear not just in his lyrics but in his social media that people should be afraid of him and his willingness to resort to violence."