A thousand miles away on the streets of Watts, he is known as 03 Greedo and while incarcerated his reputation has continued to grow. “Greedo is our ghetto treasure. He’s so important to music where I come from because it’s so relatable. It taught me that I didn’t have to sugarcoat anything,” Wallie the Sensei, who is featured on the Greedo track “Backstage,” told The Washington Post for a story published August 21, 2020.
“When he came out, it felt like a godsend — finally somebody gave me something to listen to. It’s crazy that he’s still making noise from the pen.”
How did an up-and-coming West Coast rapper on the brink of nationwide fame become enmeshed in the bowels of a Deep South prison? The Post story said Greedo had experienced previous encounters with the criminal justice system for nonviolent offenses such as burglary and possession of firearms, but his current incarceration stems from a 2016 incident where he was riding in a vehicle passing through the Texas Panhandle on I-40.
The car was pulled over just outside Amarillo and searched because the cops allegedly smelled marijuana. Although no evidence of what they claimed to be looking for was found, the cops discovered 4 pounds of methamphetamine in the trunk of the car.
Statewide, Texas locks up Blacks at a rate four times higher than Whites, but in Potter County where Greedo was arrested, the rate is twice that. The attorneys for Justin Scott — the other man in the car — fought his arrest on the basis of an illegal stop, search and seizure, and he accepted a plea bargain for probation. Neither of Greedo’s two lawyers bothered to contest his arrest and instead convinced him to take a plea deal for a 20-year prison sentence.
Greedo’s recent success has allowed him to hire a new attorney, former Potter County prosecutor Morris Overstreet. Even if the battle against his conviction fails in the courts, Greedo believes he will be granted parole by 2023. Until that day comes, he will continue to endure the hellish conditions that he has known since being sentenced in 2018. “I don’t know if people understand how crazy the Texas prison system is,” he said in a phone interview. “There are still literally units here where prisoners are picking cotton.”
Greedo has managed to continue releasing new music and multiplying his fan base, thanks to the relentless work he put in prior to incarceration. Knowing he was going to prison drove him to lay down more than a thousand tracks, and his final six months of freedom catapulted Greedo from a regional YouTube star to a TMZ celebrity with a million-dollar record deal.
The combination of Greedo’s experiences behind bars with current events like the pandemic and movement for social justice have only fueled his creative fire. “For the first time, people are really seeing that racism is for real,” he said. “The mistreatment over racism and what the police have always done is finally being exposed. But people don’t see what the police do to people’s lives in prisons. Or the court system that has completely stopped. They’ve used [the coronavirus] as yet another way to discipline us.”
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