(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR. CARMICHAEL: Yeah, Mac was a lyrical emcee. His parents even worked at his shows. An Atlanta-bred cultural critic, he helped document the city's rise as rap's reigning capital for a decade while serving on staff as music editor, culture writer and senior writer for the defunct alt-weekly Creative Loafing. Man, I was angry with God more than anything. He listened as the prosecutor cherry-picked lines from different songs, even changing his lyrics. I liked it. But it would be the last club date he'd perform for at least two decades. Illegal search found one rock plus a bag of pot. NPR podcast Louder Than a Riot explores new evidence that Mac is likely innocent. M PHIPPS: I just thought that once these people saw a videotape confession, I was going home 'cause I had never heard of anything in my life like that - like, you know, someone confessing to something and a person still staying in prison. But Mac has always maintained his innocence. In 2001, McKinley Phipps, Jr., better known as Mac of No Limit Records, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter.Mac's fate … MADDEN: When Mac's jury came back, the verdict was guilty. He was asking, where's his mama? And, you know, I was freaking out on the floor. Huffpost Crime reports that in 2000, Phipps was a 22-year-old rising star from New Orleans, signed to Master P’s No Limit Records, when he was arrested for shooting and killing Barron Victor Jr., 19, at a concert at Club Mercedes in Slidell, Louisiana. McKinley "Mac" Phipps Rapper's Bid For Clemency Nearly Rejected Over Lack Of Disciplinary Record A Louisiana parole board kicked back McKinley Phipps Jr.'s clemency request because it didn't include his nonexistent prison conduct record. In the second of three episodes on the case against Mac Phipps, we ask: What right does the justice system have to decide whether a rapper's words are imagination or intent to kill? I used to rap about all types of stuff growing up, you know? Oh, my God. Rapper McKinley "Mac" Phipps was sentenced to 30 years for allegedly killing a fan at one of his shows. We talking about how he killed people with his lyrics. I think he called me a liar at one point. S PHIPPS: I've heard people say this before, but it's true. Sheila Phipps, the mother of imprisoned No Limit Rapper Mac Phipps, speaks at Mass Story Lab, a storytelling project taking place in … What right does the justice system have to decide whether a rapper… CARMICHAEL: But he was basically just a local phenom until he met Master P, who owned the hugely successful hip-hop label No Limit Records. WILSON: I remember he was still right there, like, as this is going on. And then as Mac was getting up, he drew a weapon and was like, where's my mom? ‎Show Louder Than A Riot, Ep Lyrics On Trial: Mac Phipps (Pt 2) - Oct 14, 2020 ‎"A bullet in your brain." In 2001, the rapper Mac Phipps was convicted of manslaughter. MASTER P: He probably one of the nicest guys I ever met. He was lyrical. Oh, my God. Posted on October 28, 2020 Master P recently appeared on NPR’s ‘Louder Than A Riot’ podcast and explained how he feels former No Limit Records lyricist MAC made wrong choices which led to his eventually arrest. McKinley Phipps Jr. McKinley Phipps Jr., the Baton Rouge rapper who calls himself Mac "The Camouflage Assassin," is escorted into the St. Tammany Parish Courthouse in … It's like I was a kid again. To follow along with the music in this episode, check out the Louder Than A Riot playlists on Apple Music & Spotify. For one thing, another man originally confessed to the crime, but the prosecution dismissed him. It's when someone is locked up in prison, it seems like the whole family is locked up, you know? hide caption. Kick your door in. A previously unknown witness comes forward to NPR with evidence ignored by police. McKinley Phipps, Jr. (born July 30, 1977), better known simply as Mac, is an American rapper and songwriter from New Orleans' 3rd Ward. A former ward of the state who gave birth while imprisoned, Philly rapper Isis Tha Saviour uses hip-hop to transform her trauma into freedom. The story of McKinley “Mac” Phipps, Jr., a rapper also known as Mac, The Camouflage Assassin, will air on the premiere of Investigation Discovery’s brand new crime series, Reasonable Doubt, AL reports. You know, it's like you can tell that they just - they didn't want to listen. We had missed most of it trying to get a drink. They said he wasn't believable. But the ruling isn't necessarily retroactive. In this episode they look at the story of Mac Phipps, a rapper whose own lyrics were used against him in court. SIDNEY MADDEN, BYLINE: Now, there was other evidence. In 2001, the rapper Mac Phipps was convicted of manslaughter. And I think the system mixed that up. CARMICHAEL: Yeah, Mac hit it big at a young age after winning a citywide talent show. Mac Phipps. I used to rap about trying to save the world. But now a man is dead, and Mac Phipps is behind bars. SHEILA PHIPPS: He said, Ma, there's a lot of cursing in there 'cause, you know, he don't like to curse in front of me. And all of a sudden, this music is being used against me in court. Are we going to die at the concert? To many at the time, it was another story of a gangsta rapper living the life he celebrated in his lyrics. It's real. The Best Music Of November 2020. Phipps was concerned because the … Lawyers Ready Evidence That Could Free Imprisoned Rapper 'Mac' Phipps By David Lohr Rapper McKinley Phipps, who was known by the stage name "Mac the Camouflage Assassin," was convicted just days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the shooting death of a teenage fan at one of his shows. I remember we were complaining about that. MADDEN: But one thing we do know - putting hip-hop lyrics on trial, that's a tactic that works. CARMICHAEL: But Mac's case is hardly isolated. WILSON: I've never felt so small before in my life ever. I'm like, oh, my God. No other genre gets misused this way. I'm like, well, let me hear it anyway, you know? I was angry. MASTER P: They got the wrong guy. I was like, dude, how could you do this to me? What they would call today conscious hip-hop or whatnot, that's what I was doing before I signed with No Limit. This is the self-proclaimed Camouflaged Assassin. Contributed to NPR by: Sidney Madden | Posted on November 19, 2020, 4:34 PM When we last heard from Mac in the previous episode, he was being interrogated by St. Tammany Sheriff's officers for a fatal shooting that occurred on the Club Mercedes dance floor. The performance at Club Mercedes was supposed to be just another gig for Mac Phipps, the No Limit rapper whose star was rising in Southern hip-hop around the turn of the new millennium. RODNEY CARMICHAEL, BYLINE: Mac's trial took place across the lake from New Orleans in front of a suburban, all-white jury. His crime - killing a young fan at a nightclub in Slidell, La., where Phipps was performing. Rapper McKinley "Mac" Phipps was sentenced to 30 years for allegedly killing a fan at one of his shows. NPR podcast Louder Than a Riot explores new evidence that Mac is likely innocent. Phipps was a New Orleans rap artist with no criminal record. McKinley “Mac” Phipps was convicted of murder in … Mac's family reflects on the heart-wrenching trial that changed their lives forever. View Original Story. Listen to The Camouflage Assassin: Mac Phipps and 299 more episodes by All Songs Considered, free! But here, I start making a type of music that's selling. Mac Phipps was a rap artist in New Orleans. The Camouflage Assassin: Mac Phipps : All Songs Considered In this bonus feed drop we share an episode of NPR Music's new podcast Louder Than … WILSON: We had just gotten drinks. We'll update them every week. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHELL SHOCKED (OUTRO)"). In the time since, the state's case against him has fallen apart. See, Louisiana allowed non-unanimous convictions at the time, a century-old racist law written specifically to weaken the impact of Black jurors. And Mac started to come off of the stage. Dale Edwin Murray for NPR So I heard it. MAC was sentenced on 9/21/2001 to 30 years-to-life in prison. CARMICHAEL: That's Jamie Wilson. Rapper McKinley "Mac" Phipps was sentenced to 30 years for allegedly killing a fan at one of his shows. And the song was ending. McKinley “Mac” Phipps has been in prison 17 years for a crime he did not commit. To many at the time, it was another story of a gangsta rapper living the life he celebrated in his lyrics. His crime - killing a young fan at a nightclub in Slidell, La., where Phipps was performing. Charged with second-degree murder, Phipps was … (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MURDA, MURDA, KILL, KILL"). CARMICHAEL: NPR reached out to prosecutor Bruce Dearing for an interview, but he declined. He got 30 years. I know he used liar or you lied or something to that nature. I knew it was all about, you know, him wanting to get paid and help his family out of the struggles that we was having. This guy for us was like our down-South Nas. Where's mama? All you had to do was listen to his music to know he was guilty. NPR podcast Louder Than a Riot explores new evidence that Mac is likely innocent. However, at Mac’s trial, the prosecutor manipulated the lyrics from a pair of the rapper’s songs and used that as evidence to show the jury that Mac had committed the crime. https://www.npr.org/2020/10/13/923405080/lyrics-on-trial-mac-phipps-pt-2 Hosts Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden spent a year investigating the link between the rise of hip-hop and mass incarceration. Now, as the artist stands trial for the murder of Barron Victor Jr., prosecutors manipulate his lyrics in court to help ensure a guilty verdict. And in a never-before-heard jailhouse call, Mac Phipps speaks out about the charges against him. He was on the fast-track to fame. Kill, kill. Mac, born McKinley Phipps Jr., was charged in the shooting death of 19-year-old Barron Victor Jr. at a nightclub open mic in Slidell, La. Sidney Madden is a reporter and editor for NPR Music. MAC (legal name: McKinley Phipps, Jr.) was convicted for manslaughter. And that was actually my favorite type of music. NPR podcast Louder Than a Riot explores new evidence that Mac is likely innocent. So while his lawyers work to throw out his conviction, Mac's family waits. It was an image that sold. MADDEN: NPR has since talked to new witnesses who tell a very different story than the one presented in court about what happened that night. As someone who always gravitated towards the artforms of music, prose and dance to communicate, Madden entered the world of music journalism as a means to authentically marry her passions and platform marginalized voices who do the same. I done lived my whole life trying to stay out of jail so I can pursue my dreams. Don't think I forgot you... CARMICHAEL: Here's part of the prosecutor’s opening argument reenacted from court transcripts. McKinley “Mac” Phipps has been in prison for 15 years for a crime he did not commit. And here it is, my dreams were being used against me in court. Mac began rapping as a child, releasing his debut album The Lyrical Midget at the age of 13 in 1990, under the stage name Lil Mac. To connect with us, follow the show on Twitter @LouderThanARiot, or send us an email at louder@npr.org. MADDEN: Mac moved his family to a nice house and gave them jobs in his production company. Mac called himself the Camouflage Assassin. Phipps.jpg. UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As Bruce Dearing) Murder, murder. M PHIPPS: (Rapping) Tell the cops that you about to get stopped. KELLY: That is Sidney Madden and Rodney Carmichael, hosts of the Louder Than A Riot podcast from NPR Music. JAMIE WILSON: My mom gave me permission to go. MASTER P: Mac was probably one of the best artists that ever came to No Limit. In this bonus feed drop we share an episode of NPR Music's new podcast Louder Than A Riot. At the time, she was pregnant, and the DA told her, quote, "you're going to have that baby in prison.". I didn't seem to be able to break through back then with that. M PHIPPS: (Rapping) Tank Dog until they bury me, I cross my heart. MADDEN: Mac's many appeals have never worked. https://uptownmessenger.com/2016/09/former-no-limit-rapper-files-for-clemency In 2000, while Phipps was preparing to perform at a local club, a fight broke out and ended in the tragic shooting death of a young man. Like, oh, my God. M PHIPPS: I used to rap about all kinds of stuff. Published November 19, 2020 at 2:51 PM CST. And me and my best friend who lived across the street, we put on matching skirts, and we went (laughter). Published: 2020-11-19 03:51 pm. I looked at him like, OK. She says now that she didn't see anything, but she was threatened with an obstruction charge if she didn't testify. And Mac's first album for No Limit, it broke the Top 20. But the new podcast from NPR Music, Louder Than A Riot, finds evidence that Mac Phipps may actually be innocent. MADDEN: The next day, Jamie went to the police with this story, but she says the detective did anything but put her at ease. You cross me wrong. 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. He was seeking new talent to represent. He brag a lot, told the cops that he had a plot. His last hope now rests with the U.S. Supreme Court. Things were good for a while. November 19, 2020 - 9:51am Rapper McKinley "Mac" Phipps was sentenced to 30 years for allegedly killing a fan at one of his shows. Mac released 2 solo albums and 1 … It's a trend that predates hip-hop, from the 19th century folk tune "Stagger Lee" to Ice-T's heavy metal fantasy "Cop Killer" a hundred years later. www.npr.org. And I ducked. Experts say the true number is actually hard to quantify. Phipps was hosting an open-mic night @ Club Mercedes back in 2000. And I went back to the jail when they brought me back, and I was just angry. MADDEN: Mac's been behind bars for 20 years now. Prosecutors have used rap lyrics against defendants in hundreds of cases all over the country. Iowa Week 2020: Listening To Black Voices, Carbon Monoxide Leak Leaves 18 Dead At Coal Mine In Southwest China, Backing Trump, Some Ex-Military Officers Spread Conspiracies, Urge Martial Law, 'He Will Be A Happier Elephant': Vet Describes What It Was Like To Rescue Kaavan, Maduro Allies Set To Win Back Venezuela's Congress In Vote Boycotted By Opposition. She says there's no way Mac could have been the shooter. And then it's like, seconds later, it felt like - or maybe a minute or two - the shots rang out. No signup or install needed. And No Limit, it was known for Southern gangsta image. See Louder Than A Riot sponsors and promo codes. The prosecution's argument was simple. M PHIPPS: I don't think I ever cried like that in my life. Also: We uncover new details of Mac's case. More news on npr.org. All of us will never feel free until he's out, especially someone that's in there for a crime he didn't commit. People saw him with a gun, and two eyewitnesses pinned him as the shooter. To understand how lyrics were critical in Mac's conviction, we examine the vilification and misinterpretation of Black creativity. M PHIPPS: For me, it was just like, damn. But the new podcast from NPR Music, Louder Than A Riot, finds evidence that Mac Phipps may actually be innocent. Rodney Carmichael is NPR Music's hip-hop staff writer. CARMICHAEL: That's because Mac's jury was split 10 to 2 on his guilt. I mean, when you talk about assassin, we talking about verbal assassin. Mac would eventually sign with Master P's No Limit Records and would grow to be one of the most critically acclaimed artists on the label, both as a solo rapper and as a member of the super group 504 Boyz. Pull the trigger. They just didn't want to hear. The Camouflage Assassin: Mac Phipps. 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