Rapper Kidd Creole was sentenced to 16 years in prison for manslaughter as he stabbed a homeless man in New York City.
The member of hip-hop group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, real name Nathaniel Glover, 62, was convicted of the crime last month.
Prosecutors said Creole killed John Jolly, 55, with a steak knife after the two engaged in a heated conversation. The rapper felt intimidated by Jolly, who, it is alleged, asked him “what’s up?” in a threatening manner.
Creole's lawyer claimed that Jolly’s homelessness made the hip-hop star feel threatened, but judge Michele S Rodney said the killing was not “somehow justified because the person is homeless … A life is a life is a life.”
On his part, the rapper told Rodney he had expected to be exonerated of the crime, and complained that he had been portrayed as someone “who has no remorse or humanity”.
Creole's music career had ended a long time ago before the killing, but he made a significant contribution to early hip-hop history as a member of the Furious Five.
He formed the group the Three MCs with his brother Melvin Glover, AKA Melle Mel, and Keef Cowboy, with Grandmaster Flash on production. Two more MCs, Scorpio and Rahiem, joined and the group was renamed Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.