It’s no secret that YouTube has been a boon to young, struggling musicians looking to make a name for themselves, providing the opportunity to showcase talents to and from any point on the globe, eliminating, or at least lessening, the need for geographical proximity to the music industry’s kingmakers. With that said, it appears that YouTube can also land young struggling musicians in jail when the material they upload can be used to incriminate them in court.
Such is the plight of Clyde Smith, aka “Tattoo Face” and “G-Red,” of the Houma, Louisiana based rap outfit, The Rico Gang, who apparently has been earning a living dealing prescription drugs, and rapped about it in homemade videos posted to YouTube.
“Another trip to Texas … we going doctor shopping,” he raps. “I’m Dominoes, I’m Pizza Hut. Call your nigga up because you know I deliver.”
According to my hometown newspaper, the Houma Courier, Smith was pulled over last December for speeding and things just spiraled out of control from there.
He, along with his fiancee, Christian Pontiff, and two other locals, Jason Pierce and Andrea Dehart, were pulled over by a State Police trooper on U.S. 90 in December for allegedly going 19 mph over the speed limit.
Trooper Christopher Mason testified that Smith couldn’t produce his driver’s license. Smith and the other passengers also gave conflicting stories about where they were coming from.
When Mason asked Smith to step to the back of his car, Smith put his hands up, which seemed suspicious, Mason said.
Mason asked Dehart if he could search the car, and she said yes, he testified.
After searching the car and finding multiple legally-acquired prescription-pill bottles from clinics in Texas, the group was taken to Troop C and questioned. Pierce told investigators they were taking the trip to get medication in order to deal it in Louisiana. Smith, Pierce, 30, and Dehart, 25, were arrested.
Prosecutors dug up the videos of Smith rapping about his lifestyle on YouTube and played them in court to help secure guilty verdicts against him. He now faces up to 60 years in prison.
While the incriminating music video in question appears to have been taken down, there are a few other Rico Gang videos still up on YouTube, including one that was used in court in which Smith brags “we really do the sh*t that we talk about…we really take those trips (to Houston to buy drugs).”
And here’s the video that was shot when that was taken…
So kids, what lessons have we learned here? Number one, don’t rap about the crimes you commit on YouTube. And number two, if you’re driving with a bunch of illegal drugs in your ride, OBEY THE FREAKING TRAFFIC LAWS!