Rapper Max B is coming home from prison, something that was once all but unimaginable after he was sentenced in 2009 to 75 years for orchestrating an execution-style murder-robbery in a New Jersey hotel room. But a brand new plea deal that apparently reduced his charges to aggravated manslaughter could reportedly allow the man revered in underground rap music circles to be back on the streets by as early as 2018.
In case you're keeping track, that would be 10 years behind bars for being convicted of murder. That's more than 14 years shaved off the nation's average murder sentence.
Max B's new message from prison, provided to and published by AllHipHop.com after news broke Friday about his early release, may have added a bit of context to his highly anticipated and celebrated early release.
"This proceeding was not a question of my guilt or innocence, but about the bad advice, poor judgment, and overall ineffectiveness of my trial attorney," the 38-year-old from the Harlem neighborhood of New York City said in part of the optimistic and cheerful statement.
As a result, Max B's comments have prompted some users on Twitter to wonder what information the man whose real name is Charley Wingate could have possibly offered in exchange for such leniency. Many are calling him a "snitch" for potentially telling on others in order to secure his own freedom, something strictly forbidden by the so-called code of the streets to which Max B ascribes in his music and past interviews.
To put it in its proper perspective in rap circles, being a so-called snitch is tantamount to national high treason. Dozens more tweets can be found here expressing similar sentiments to those above.
However, his early release may not be all that surprising to those who have been keeping track of the rapper since his incarceration. Max B and his legal team have been working hard as of late to get to this very moment, according to past media reports.
He began his appeal almost immediately upon his arrival to the New Jersey State Penitentiary in Trenton, from where in 2010 he told MTV News about his legal travails, including firing his trial lawyer, whom the rapper clearly places blame on for the guilty verdict. There was even speculation in 2014 that he could be released as early as this year, as reported by the Source. And just last year he was plotting on his post-prison career, HipHopDX reported at the time.
An earlier appeal in 2012 was denied, upholding the murder conviction. It appears the plea deal proved to be the difference this time around.
Max B was on the precipice of a breakout career when he was arrested in 2006 and at the height of it when he was convicted. The solo rapper known for his creative slang -- he pioneered and popularized the term "wave," an ambiguous word in rap that can apply to anything good -- as well as his vocal harmonizing that was on the verge of all-out singing sprinkled throughout his rhymes.
French Montana, one of Max B's rapping partners who only recently hit it big himself, announced Max B's news on Instagram Friday afternoon.
His most noteworthy moment professionally came in 2007 with the success of rapper Jim Jones' hit single, "We Fly High (Ballin)," which Max B said he co-wrote. The song, for which he was not credited, ascended the charts and went on to be a soundtrack of sorts to the NFL's New York Giants season that year.
On Friday, he expressed his gratitude to New Jersey Superior Court Judge James J. Guida, who presided over the plea deal and re-sentenced the rapper to 20 years. Taking time already served into account, NorthJersey.com reported Max B could be released by 2025. That projected release date conflicts with the one reported by French Montana, and neither could be immediately confirmed.
"I just want to thank you for the fair treatment, you know, looking into the situation to at least give me another opportunity to someday reunite with my children and my family," Max B told Guida.
Read Max B's full message below.
I would like to take this time to humbly express my gratitude to the Bergen County Courts, The Honorable James J. Guida, and Mr. Grewal of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office for looking into my Post-Conviction Relief.
This proceeding was not a question of my guilt or innocence, but about the bad advice, poor judgment, and overall ineffectiveness of my trial attorney.
I would also like to thank my legal team at The Law Offices of Bruno & Ferraro; my wonderful attorneys John Bruno, John Bruno Jr., John Lotorocca, and Linda Peterson did an outstanding on my case and fighting for me.
I wanna thank The Breakfast Club, Charlamagne Tha God, DJ Envy, and Angela Yee.
I wanna give a special thanks to my friend and partner Frank Babar and Phase One Network, William Cosgrove, Corey Whitaker, and The Playbook Agency. Without the support of the Phase One team, I wouldn’t have made it this far.
I want to thank my boy Masar, Alpac, and my brother from another mother, French Montana aka Mac with the Cheese – I love you bro! Wave Gods till we die!!!
To all my fans that been holding it down for me all these years, still banging my music and still keeping it wavy.
I love you all and Stay Wavy. Last, but certainly not least, my lovely and wonderful mother Mamaveli, I love you!