Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Denies Rap Ban

A representative for the Nevada Gaming Control Board has denied reports that gaming regulators are out to ban Hip-Hop from casinos in Las Vegas after a rapper took the life of a police officer.

On Feb. 1, Amir "Trajik" Crump, a member of the rap group Desert Mobb, allegedly shot and killed Sgt. Henry Prendes and seriously wounded another cop when the two officers responded to a 911 call over a domestic dispute.

The rapper was also killed in the shoot-out.

Trajik reportedly posed with the assault rifle used to murder Prendes on the cover of Desert Mobb's debut, L.Y.T. C.Y.T.I.

Shortly after the shooting, state gaming regulators issued a warning, stating that casinos would be held accountable if violent acts occurred at any rap events in their venues.

The memo stated that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department considered rap concerts "serious threats to the community."

But according to Dennis Neilander, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the memo was meant to ensure that casino operators were protecting the public's safety.

"The letter that went out to the industry does not in any way suggest that someone not be able to have a particular act or have a particular act," he said. "It's simply not what we intended to do and I don't believe it's what the letter says."

Neilander added that the memo was part of ongoing discussions between large casinos and law enforcement officials, who take similar precautions for high profile boxing matches and other forms of entertainment.

In the weeks following Prendes' shooting, Las Vegas sheriff Bill Young called for a ban on violent music in the casinos and singled out rappers like 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg.

In Sept. 1996, rap star Tupac Shakur was gunned down on the Las Vegas strip, a crime which remains unsolved.

"The entertainment industry should be ashamed of itself for promoting this gangster rap genre that espouses violence, mistreatment of women, and hatred for the authority of police officers and emulates drug dealers and two-bit thugs," Young told the Las Vegas Sun shortly after Prendes' shooting. "It's not a good message for our young people, and it's not a good message for our community."

Hundreds of officers joined Sgt. Prendes' family at funeral services for the slain officer on Feb. 8.

Trajik's record label recently pulled Desert Mobb's CDs from retail stores out of respect for Prendes.