Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot on Aug. 9 by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer, was an aspiring hip-hop artist. The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday on Brown’s SoundCloud page, a collection of amateur rap songs that Brown had posted before his death.
They contained much of the imagery and language common to so-called gangster rap. Pictures of Brown flashing alleged gang signs have also circulated in the conservative blogosphere.
FrontPage magazine, the online home of David Horowitz, whose self-described mission is to battle the radical left, labeled Brown “a criminal and a thug” in its summary of his character, which featured the rap lyrics.
“The fact that Brown liked performing thug music obviously doesn’t by itself make him a thug, but it does provide insight into his state of mind,” the site said. “The same can be said for the photographs that have surfaced of Brown posing like a tough guy, making gestures with his hands that some say are gang signs.”
FrontPage magazine, and others, connected Brown’s rap lyrics with the police report released Friday that said he was the “primary suspect” in a convenience store robbery that occurred minutes before he was shot. That report’s release, which was reportedly opposed by the Justice Department, has been criticized by Brown’s family and public officials as an attempt to paint a negative public image of Brown.
“Well, this kind of destroys the ‘gentle giant’ narrative spun in the media,” ClashDaily, the website of Doug Giles, who occasionally writes for the more well-known TownHall.com, said in its summary of Brown’s songs.
The conspiratorial website World Net Daily connected Brown’s professed marijuana smoking in the songs with his alleged robbery of some cigarillos — which are “widely known to be used by marijuana smokers, who roll their own blunts by replacing the cigarillos’ tobacco with pot” — on the day of the shooting.
“I didn’t go through the entire catalogue, but it’s pretty obscene, though standard rap fare these days,” conservative blogger SooperMexican said in his own post. “Of course, none of this means he is guilty of what the police claim he did, but it adds another dimension to the character of Mike Brown.”
“Draw your own conclusions.”
Below are a few of Brown’s SoundCloud songs, via the Times.