Arrests stemming from Houston rap video make national headlines

By Phil Archer - Reporter

HOUSTON - Last March, Houston rappers Maxo Kream and NFL Cartel Bo used a city park next to an elementary school to shoot a music video. It included about two dozen alleged members of a Houston street gang as extras, the 52 Hoover Gangsta Crips, seen in the video waving loaded guns at the camera.

After the video went viral on YouTube, police used it to identify and charge 20 cast members with gun violations, including NFL Cartel Bo, also known as Warren Brown II. He’s still at large.

“These are bad people, they’re cowards and they have no respect for the sanctity of human life,” Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo said. “And they are people that present a danger to this community.”

Since the story broke, the video has been getting lots of attention -- probably not the kind the rappers expected.

On Wednesday, the nationally syndicated "Breakfast Club" radio program named the two rappers their Donkey of the Day.

Host Leonard “Charlamagne tha God” McKelvey basically panned the rappers’ song, “Hoova,” and suggested they’d confused art with real life.

"You can’t do crime and be a professional rapper. The two don’t mix,” he said. “Either you want to carry a gun, push drugs, kill people or you want to rap. I know a lot of rappers have confused you over the years, but trust me, these guys are just talking about what you brothers are actually doing.”

Eleven of the 20 suspects facing state charges are also charged in federal court with being either a felon in possession of a gun, conspiracy or both. About half made initial court appearances this week.

The charges were filed Nov. 29 after Houston Police Tactical Squad officers and agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives analyzed the video frame by frame to identify everyone holding a weapon and review their criminal records.

"I’m thankful that, thanks to good work with the Houston Police Department and our partners at ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office, we’re going to see some people go to prison for many, many years. I hope they enjoy growing old in federal prison,” Acevedo said.

Nine of the alleged gang members charged in the case remained at large.

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