A 31-year-old local rapper who gained international acclaim for his gritty songs detailing drug dealing, violence and a no-snitch mantra was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in federal prison for gun possession and witness tampering. Christopher Dorsey, better known as B.G. or Baby Gangsta, was an original member of the 1990s rap super group the Hot Boys. His most recent album, “Too Hood 2 Be Hollywood,” came out in 2009 on Atlantic Records.
The New Orleans-born rap artist toured the world, but a 2009 traffic stop in eastern New Orleans — combined with a lengthy criminal history — marked the end of his freedom.
In federal court Wednesday, the hefty Dorsey wore a jail jumpsuit, and for unknown reasons, sat in a wheelchair. His demeanor was a far cry from the grinning, on-top-of-the-world hip-hop hero who drove fancy cars and cavorted with scantily-clad women in music videos.
Dorsey had previously pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm during a 2009 traffic stop in eastern New Orleans. But later, he obstructed justice by pushing one of his two associates to falsely claim ownership of the gun.
Dorsey confessed to the crimes but prosecutors made clear that he was not cooperating, staying in line with the “no-snitch” philosophy he so often espoused in his songs.
In “I Ain’t Tellin”, he raps: “I won’t snitch, never tell, if the law comes and get me, I’m gonna sit my ass in jail.”
And in one his recent videos, Dorsey makes an apparent reference to his own case, proclaiming “This f–king ratting s–t, man, this s–t here is getting out of hand,” he says. “Man, it’s call T-Y-C. Take Your Charge.”
Dorsey was arrested with Demounde Pollard, 20, and Jerod Fedison, 30. Police found three guns, along with loaded magazines. Two of the guns had been reported stolen and the car itself had been stolen from an Alamo rental car parking lot.
Pollard confessed to ownership of the guns, though it was later revealed to be at the behest of Dorsey.
The state criminal case was eventually moved to federal court and both Pollard and Fedison pleaded guilty, paving the way for the charges against Dorsey. Pollard reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and was sentenced to 30 months in prison; Fedison, with an extensive criminal record, received a 20-year sentence.
Prosecutors have linked Dorsey in court filings to two of the city’s most high-profile alleged murderers, Telly Hankton and Walter Porter. Dorsey name-checks both men in videos posted online.
Hankton, recently convicted in one murder and serving a life sentence, has been called Public Enemy No. 1 by local police and prosecutors, who have alleged that he ran a sprawling drug empire whose markets were enforced with violence. He is currently awaiting trial on another murder. Porter is currently in jail, charged with killing the brother of a witness in a killing perpetrated by Hankton.
These videos became a much-debated topic in the courtroom. Prosecutors seeking a 25-year prison sentence pointed to them as evidence of Dorsey’s wide-ranging criminal activity.
“These videos are horrendous, especially in this city right now,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurice Landrieu told the judge Wednesday. He talked of the city’s “cycle of violence,” and argued that Dorsey was “profiting off it.”
Dorsey’s attorney, J.C. Lawrence, said Dorsey’s appearance in the videos is posturing and marketing.
“Though many people would frown upon his art,” Lawrence said of Dorsey’s work, “it is art.”
U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan expressed her disdain for the videos, but declined to use them as a basis for the lengthier sentence sought by Landrieu.
She said she believed that Dorsey’s songs and videos “may have contributed to the murders of young people” in New Orleans, noting that he extolled retaliation and fostered an atmosphere of violence.
“His career has just been deplorable and sad,” she added.
Dorsey grew up in Uptown and was signed with Cash Money Records at the age of 13. He was a member of the Hot Boys, a late 1990s group that boasted a roster of big-name rappers including Lil Wayne, Juvenile and Young Turk. He battled heroin addiction and released countless albums and mix tapes throughout his 15-year career.