Sunday, February 27, 2005--The Times Picayune, New Orleans, LA
If you're looking for a message in the latest rap video released by rapper C-Murder, try this one: Hi, I'm C-Murder. Y'all heard of me. I brought you "How a Thug Like It," and "Nasty Chick." I'm at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna trying to beat this murder rap. But nobody's paying me much attention. So with my attorney's assistance and two television film crews, I'm giving you, my homies on the outside, this video shout out. And oh yeah, before I forget, what's up, Sheriff Lee?!
Corey Miller, the man popularly known as C-Murder, isn't the first to make a jailhouse music video. Last year's video featuring the jailed rapper T.I. led residents in Fulton County, Ga., to criticize their sheriff. Similarly, C-Murder's project has turned unflattering attention on Harry Lee, who, as Jefferson Parish sheriff, is ultimately responsible for what goes on at the Gretna jail.
He needs to fix whatever's broken at the jail to guarantee that every prisoner is being properly supervised at all times.
At the moment, the sheriff seems most interested in getting money out of C-Murder. Because parts of the video for "Y'all Heard of Me" and vocals for the CD "The Truest S*** I Ever Said" were recorded at the Gretna jail, Sheriff Lee wants a share of any profits. Maybe money would help the embarrassment go down. But it wouldn't solve a single problem.
It's disturbing how easy it was for C-Murder to get his tawdry message to the outside. If an inmate can record videos and CDs, couldn't that person also send out threatening messages to the prosecution's witnesses?
Ronald Rakosky, the lawyer representing Mr. Miller as he awaits a decision on whether he will be retried on second-degree murders charges, said he brought a "mini-recording studio device" to the jail to record the rapper's vocals and that he used it in sight of deputies. Sheriff Lee gave the inmate use of a multipurpose room so he could be interviewed by Court TV and the local cable television program "Phat Phat 'N All That." Neither crew admits relinquishing the footage that ended up in the video for "Y'all Heard of Me." But footage from both interviews is in the video.
Sheriff Lee has taken away the rapper's special privileges, which is wise, but his response must also include steps to prevent every inmate -- rapper or not -- from sneaking messages to the outside.