Old Bailey Hears Megaman Rap

London’s Old Bailey court must have heard some strange and compelling evidence in its near-500-year history, but October 6th was probably the first time it was required to listen to rap records.

It seems the court officials were ill-prepared for what lay ahead. According to The Daily Telegraph, they played the first track at the wrong speed but – once the technology had been sorted – the jury was soon being treated to such lyrics as: “Everybody’s getting shot / everybody’s running around on the block with a glock / cocked / and now the streets are hot.”

Giving evidence for the prosecution, Detective Constable Jeff Brown reportedly told the court that he spent hours listening to So Solid Crew after band member Dwayne Vincent – who is on trial for murder – claimed to be against firearms.

Along with 24-year-old Carl Morgan, Vincent – better known to his fans as “Megaman” – is charged with killing Colin Scarlett, 24, who died after a shooting incident in Tooting, south London, last November. Both defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Det. Con. Brown sought to show that Vincent’s lyrics indicate that – as opposed to being anti-firearms – the So Solid Crew frontman actually glorifies street shootings.

While the policeman made his point, Judge Brian Barker – who’s not known to be an admirer of garage music – heard recordings of Vincent singing, “It’s so easy to pull out a gat / Rat-a-tat-tat / Lay three n****s on their backs.”

Having heard that “glock” and “gat” are slang words for a gun, the jury was given pages of lyrics to read as music from So Solid Crew’s two albums thumped from speakers.

It’s alleged that Vincent, Morgan and others “executed” Scarlett at his home after a fight.

Scarlett had been in a relationship with Morgan’s former girlfriend. Morgan, who has appeared in two of So Solid’s videos, is said to have fired three bullets after Vincent told him to shoot – or “burst” – him.

Prosecution lawyer Richard Horwell told the court that earlier that day Scarlett had beaten up Morgan in front of his ex-girlfriend.

“This case is about humiliation, revenge and execution. Following the humiliation Morgan plotted his revenge. If Vincent’s friend had been humiliated and beaten he had to step in to support him and to avenge him. Vincent told Morgan to shoot Scarlett. Vincent as a leader must have known what effect his words would have,” Horwell argued.

Earlier in the trial, he had told the court that the shooting had turned the streets of south west London in to a scene “more reminiscent of the Wild West.” At least one witness is expected to be given the protection of anonymity.

The witness who testified that it was Vincent who’d urged Morgan to open fire was only identified as A, and spoke from behind screens and through a voice distorting machine.

In written evidence to the police, A said, “The gun Morgan had was black in colour and the bullets were in a magazine in the handle.

“Colin then pulled out a gun that looks the same as Morgan’s. They were both firing – I do not know how many times. There were loads of bangs and flashes.”

The court also heard that, immediately following the incident, both defendants quickly left the scene and disappeared. Vincent gave himself up to police 19 days after the attack. He declined to answer police questions but in a prepared statement denied any involvement in the shooting.

Morgan also told detectives he had nothing to do with the incident, which he said must have been carried out by someone unknown to him.

So Solid Crew is a collective of approximately 20 south London DJs, MCs, singers and producers, known by such names as Megaman, Oxide and Neutrino. The group topped the charts in 2001 with “21 Seconds” and won best video in the Brit Awards the following year.

The trial continues.

— John Gammon