YoungBoy Never Broke Again

Baton Rouge rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again, aka NBA YoungBoy.

A Baton Rouge federal judge says rapper NBA Youngboy should remain jailed until a trial on weapons charges, saying he was "inclined toward reckless, illegal, dangerous behavior" and adding that there was no combination of bond conditions that would ensure the community's safety.

A grand jury indicted the rapper, whose real name is Kentrell Gaulden, on March 10 on charges that he possessed a firearm as a felon and that he possessed a firearm not registered to him in a federal database. California officials arrested him March 22 and a federal magistrate agreed to release Gaulden if he met certain bond conditions, and if they were approved by a federal judge.

Chief U.S. District Judge Shelley Dick rejected the idea, at the government's request, and said instead that Gaulden should remain in jail until trial, though he can try again to be released.

"Out of respect for the court and the judicial process, we will address this matter in court," Gaulden's attorney, James Manasseh, said Monday.

The indictment pertained to Gaulden's arrest last September, when Baton Rouge Police noted that, while filming a music video, he possessed a .45-caliber pistol and a 9mm pistol. Fifteen others were also arrested.

Citing federal law, Dick wrote last Thursday that "no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure … the safety of any other person and the community." Sealed information from federal probation officers demonstrated years of violent behavior, the judge said, therefore, "there is a serious risk of danger to the public if Gaulden is released." 

Gaulden's arrest in California came after a traffic stop and a brief chase. Manasseh had previously called the arrest a travesty and "a show of force and power" by the government, and said the rapper would have surrendered in a non-public manner if asked.

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Dick said Gaulden's fleeing his California traffic stop shows "he is inclined toward reckless, illegal, dangerous behavior. His purported possession of a firearm at the time of his arrest indicates a continued disregard for the law and evidences a certain nonchalance to his violation of it."

Gaulden, meanwhile, argued that since he had successfully completed terms of probation previously, he could do so again and should be released.

The rapper previously served 90 days in jail in the summer of 2019 after a state judge handed down a temporary probation hold in a 2016 nonfatal shooting case. At the time, prosecutors had moved to revoke his probation entirely, which would have sent him to prison for 10 years, following his involvement in a shootout in Miami on Mother's Day 2019 that left a bystander dead.

Gunmen opened fire on Gaulden and several of his associates outside the Trump International Hotel, wounding his girlfriend in the shoulder. Legally armed members of his entourage returned fire, killing a bystander. Miami-Dade police said no members of Gaulden's party would be charged because they acted in self-defense. No arrests have been made in the shooting.

In May, prosecutors in the Miami shooting linked the deadly affair to a Baton Rouge feud between the NBA (Never Broke Again) group, founded by Gaulden, and the TBG ("Top Boy Gorilla") rap group.

Staff writer Joe Gyan Jr. contributed to this report.


Email Kelly P. Kissel at kkissel@theadvocate.com