Bad Boy Records rapper Loon granted release from prison

Loon was given a compassionate release by a judge due to COVID-19

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NEW YORK - OCTOBER 14: Rapper Loon appears at the Playstation 2 And The Hip-Hop Summit Present "Race To The Polls" at Hammerstein Ballroom October 14, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)

Back in April more than a dozen celebrities signed a letter asking President Donald Trump to free rapper Loon who’d been sentenced to 14 years in prison on drug charges. Now, the Bad Boy Records fan fave is finally getting his freedom.

In a judgment filed Wednesday, US District Judge Terrence Boyle converted his sentence to time served on the basis of a compassionate release due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Boyle said the virus was an “extraordinary and compelling” reason to grant the former rapper a release. The judge also noted that he did not pose a threat to society.

Loon, 45, has served more than eight years in prison on a drug related offense. His original release date was slated for August of next year.

“I was able to help free former Bad Boy Entertainment rapper Loon. He will be released today,” music producer and justice reform advocate Weldon Angelos announced Wednesday morning.

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Loon Chauncey Hawkins
Loon (Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images)

Loon, whose legal name is Chauncey Hawkins, rose to fame while working with Sean “P. Diddy” Combs in the late 90s but left hip-hop behind in 2008 and converted to Islam.

During a 2010 speech in Australia, the Harlem-born artist characterized his past as a “lifestyle I endured by default.”

But in 2011, just three years after he converted, his past came back to haunt him. He was charged with conspiracy with intent to traffic one or more kilos of heroin, dating to between 2006 and 2008.

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Other several of the documents from the case are sealed, but the Washington Examiner reported that supporters say Hawkins’ involvement in the crimes was minor, and that he had to plead guilty to avoid a longer sentence due to a prior drug offense.

His defense team also maintains that Hawkins – who also uses the Islamic name Amir Junaid Muhadith – “is deserving of your mercy and will be a better asset to the community as a free man where he intends to serve his community through the development of effective re-entry programs.”

They also point out that he  “can use his talents to benefit others rather than simply being warehoused,” adding, “he has already served 7 years of his sentence. This should be enough.”

“He’s just another young black male who got a long time because of the war on drugs,” said Angelos, a former associate of Snoop Dogg, who personally wrote Hawkins’ 34-page request for freedom.

The NY Post reported Angelos “also led the efforts to persuade Trump to grant clemency, which at one point included plans to bring a delegation of rap stars to the White House. Those plans were scuttled first by Trump’s impeachment and then by the pandemic. But Weldon believes the presidential lobbying drive may have impressed the judge.”

“We showed that this man had a ton of support and is going to do a lot of positive things,” Angelos continued.

He added that Hawkins walking away from the fast life before he was arrested showed that, “He basically rehabilitated himself three years before he was indicted.” 

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