Over a month has passed since rumor sprouted surrounding legendary Geto Boys' MC Bushwick Bill's no-show at the June taping of VH1's 2010 Hip Hop Honors. At the time, there was some speculation that he'd been arrested on unknown charges before he was scheduled to perform during the Rap-A-Lot Records dedication to honor the label's founder, J. Prince.
While those charges or the arrest have yet to be confirmed, Bill is definitely in some hot water. Today, the Jamaican-born MC faced deportation proceedings in Atlanta Immigration Court. The cause for the ongoing case is also unknown.
The former member of the pioneering, Houston-based gangsta rap group, Geto Boys, was born Richard Shaw in Jamaica in 1966, but raised in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York (hence his stage name), before relocating to Houston in the ’80s.
Despite his small stature, he made a huge impact among the trio that included rap icons Scarface and Willie D. Their early, Southern gothic mix of sociopolitical gangster narratives, tales of paranoia and vulnerability ("Mind Playing Tricks") and psychotic trips ("Mind of a Lunatic") earned labels ranging from reality rap to horrorcore. Of course, Bill became the center of attention in 1991, after accidentally shooting himself in the eye during an episode with a girlfriend that, to this day, remains shrouded in a self-admitted haze of drunkenness, depression and suicidal thoughts — which he later rapped about on the single, "Ever So Clear," from his debut solo album. The cover for Geto Boys' 1991 release We Can't Be Stopped (Rap-A-Lot) features a photo taken during his resulting hospital stay, with Willie D and Scarface on either side of his gurney while Bushwick, his left eye grotesquely swollen and bloodied, posed with a dope boy cellular phone up to his ear while wearing a hospital gown.
But in recent years, Bill made a 180-degree turn, switching from gangsta to gospel rap. He dropped his gospel debut, The Testimony of Redemption late last year on G-S.P.O.T. Productionz (God's Special Purpose of Talent). In the video (above) for the title track, he recounts his journey from Geto Boy to gospel-rapping ordained minister.
CL contributor Ben Westhoff had arranged an interview to discuss his transformation earlier this year with Bushwick Bill, who was residing in Atlanta. But it never happened. We hope to speak to Bill's lawyer soon. Stay tuned for more information on this ongoing case.
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