Rap pioneer H Rap Brown Convicted

On March 9th, a 10-member Georgia jury convicted Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, aka 1960's activist H. Rap Brown, in the killing of a police officer and the shooting of another. Al-Amin was found guilty of murdering Deputy Ricky Kinchen of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Dept and wounding Deputy Aldranon English in March 2000.

Many experts like Dr.Harry Edwards, a sociologist on the faculty at Cal-Berkeley, say rap music was named after H. Rap Brown, who had an uncanny gift of rhyme as a youth. Also, H Rap was believed to be a pioneer in creating “rap ciphers,” has he would have 20-30 people gather around and “diss” others in the form of a rhyme. (Editor’s note: Then it was called playing the dozens.) Artists like Mos Def, Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, Mystic and many in the Black community feel Al-Amin was unjustly arrested because of contradictory case evidence.

Those who support Al-Amin, say the police have lied and corrupted the case in an effort to frame him. They say the only eyewitness to the shooting was Deputy English, who survived. According to reports, English initially was unable to identify the shooter, but later fingered Al-Amin. With conflicting blood evidence, English also claimed he wounded the attacker in the shootout, but Al-Amin never had any wounds when he was arrested.

However, the police ballistic test results showed that guns found near the place of Al-Amin’s arrest were the weapons used to shoot police.

As H. Rap Brown, Al-Amin was considered either a radical or a revolutionary in the 1960s. He was a leader of SNCC (Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and eventually became the Black Panther Party’s Minister of Justice in 1968. After a shootout with NYPD, he made the FBI's Most Wanted List and served about three years in jail for armed and the shoot out.

After his release from prison in 1976, Al-Amin led a quiet life in Atlanta as an orthodox Muslim. Many considered him a “pillar of the community as lead prayer at the local mosque. However in 1999, he was charged with impersonating a police officer, receiving stolen property and having no proof of insurance.

Al-Amin has maintained his innocence even though he now faces execution.