Convicted of a 2018 gang-related murder, French rapper MHD has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Born Mohamed Sylla, the “afro trap” rapper was one of nine men charged in the killing of 23-year-old Loic K on July 5, 2018, when a black Mercedes rammed the victim before he was beaten and stabbed on the streets of Paris.
While the musician originally denied his involvement, surveillance footage and a witness’ cellphone recording confirmed that he was the owner of the black Mercedes and according to the BBC reports, was also identified by his unique hairstyle and jacket.
Several months following the release of his second album 19, which put him on a global stage and received praise from the likes of Drake and Madonna, MHD was arrested and charged with second degree murder in January of 2019. In July 2020, while under judicial supervision, the former pizza delivery driver who first went viral by pioneering what he called “afro-trap” recorded his third album Mansa, which was released in July 2021.
In their review of 19, Rolling Stone said “No one cared that this trap variant was not like the others; the reception to ‘Afro Trap Part 1’ was as rapturous in other French cities as it was in MHD’s hometown of Paris.’ “He followed the first clip with nine sequels. The label proved impossible to resist, and MHD was appointed afro-trap’s commander-in-chief; his self-titled debut album sold over 200,000 copies, a serious number in France. The perennial-international-dabbler Diplo put out an MHD remix package titled Afro Trap.”
Following years of legal delays, Sylla and his co-defendants’ murder trial began earlier this month in Paris, with the rapper and five other men found guilty earlier this week. Three of the co-defendants were acquitted.
Prior to sentencing, Sylla told the court “From the beginning, I have maintained my innocence in this case and I will continue to maintain my innocence.”