Brandon “Tiny Doo” Duncan raps about gang life, but he had never been to jail until June 19.
“I just got out of the shower and was headed to work,” Duncan, 34, tells the Reader by phone from the George Bailey Detention Center. “Then I saw a thousand police out front of my house.”
Duncan was arrested, says his attorney Brian Watkins, because of his alleged connection to the Lincoln Park Bloods, and the lyrics on his No Safety album connected him to nine murders between late 2012 and early 2014.
“There is nothing different on his album than what you might find on a song by Tupac or Snoop Dogg,” says Watkins. No Safety has a gun and bullets for its artwork.
Watkins says there are 453 documented Lincoln Park gang members and that police can tag you as “documented” by association with other gang members.
“Sure, I know gang members,” says Duncan. “I grew up in the neighborhood. I have lived on La Paz [Drive] since I left the hospital in 1981. I am not an active gang member, but of course I know some. I went to school with those guys.”
Oceanside rapper Joseph “Tiny Bamm” Turner was arrested in 2007 due to his alleged connection to the murder of the late Junior Seau’s cousin Rusty Seau. Turner’s attorney claimed prosecutors wanted to introduce a 2003 Reader article into the trial that quoted Turner’s lyrics. (“Fuck police, I can’t stand ’em/ Shoot ’em in the back of the head and throw ’em in the Grand Canyon”). The attorney claimed police tried but failed to tie Turner’s fictional lyrics to bad intent, and the Tiny Bamm case was dismissed.
But Deanne Arthur, another attorney representing Duncan, says Duncan’s case is different.
“In the case of Tiny Bamm, they believed he committed those crimes. Brandon’s case has to do with unsolved shootings that the DA’s offices believes are gang shootings. And while they openly admit that Brandon Duncan had no involvement or knowledge of these shootings, they claim his rap album, without citing specific lyrics, promoted the shootings and that Brandon Duncan benefitted by stature and reputation. They claim that the very act of creating the album was a crime.”
Up to now the most famous Lincoln Park Bloods member has been former local Mitchy Slick. “Yeah, we worked together,” says Duncan. “He took me under his wing and I was on his label when I started about seven years ago. I left when we had creative differences.”
Duncan’s imprisonment has gotten him national TV coverage. Is this a publicity stunt? “I didn’t ask for this,” Duncan says in outrage. “Nobody in their right mind would submit themselves to 25-years-to-life in prison in order to achieve any kind of fame. I’ve been sitting in this godforsaken place for five months. My fiancée is seven months’ pregnant. My grandfather just died of dementia while I’m here, and I couldn’t be there to help my grandmother who raised me.”
The next hearing for Duncan is December 4 in Superior Court. District attorney spokeswoman Tanya Sierra said she could not comment on specifics of the case because it was still being prosecuted.