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French rap star charged after feud turns violent

One of France's top rap stars was remanded in custody and charged with assaulting a sales assistant on Thursday, as a bitter feud with a rival performer turned violent this week.

French rap star charged after feud turns violent
Rohff (left) pictured here by France's I-Tele being led off to prison where he remains in custody and rival French rap star Booba, who have been involved in a bitter feud. Photo: I-Tele/ AFP Guillaume

Rohff, 36, is accused of "premeditated" assault on the victim at a store that sells clothing under his arch-rival Booba's Unkut brand.

The 19-year-old sales assistant was left in a coma and fighting for his life after suffering a serious head injury when he was set upon by a gang of men in the central Paris clothing store.

Rohff, one of France's best-known rappers with album sales of 1.4 million, is embroiled in a long-running row with Booba, 37.

This image, tweeted out by France's I-Tele TV channel shows Rohff being taken away to Fresnes prison where he will remain in custody.

The two artists have for months been trading barbs in their songs and on social media, but the feud turned physical on Monday evening, when the artist went into the store and a fight broke out with the shop assistant.

Investigators were only able to question the victim on Tuesday after he emerged from a coma.

Rohff, whose real name is Housni Mkouboi, went voluntarily to a police station for questioning early Tuesday.

His lawyer Francis Terquem told AFP his client had admitted that he "delivered some blows" to the shop assistant. Legal sources said security camera footage showed Rohff hitting the victim, but that the rapper had denied the assault was premeditated.

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MUSIC

French rapper to face trial over ‘Hang White People’ video

A little-known French rapper who caused a furore in France this week with a music video called "Hang White People" has been ordered to face trial on charges of inciting violence, legal sources said on Friday.

Nick Conrad, whose song and career had gone largely unnoticed until the video came to the public's attention this week, was interviewed by police on Friday and ordered to stand trial on January 9th.
 
The charge against him, of inciting deadly violence, carries a maximum five-year prison sentence and a fine of €45,000 (39,000 dollars).
 
The track, called PLB for “Pendez les Blancs” (Hang White People), was posted on YouTube on September 17 and garnered only a few thousands views before it was shared last weekend by a controversial comedian with a large 
online following.
 
 
After being highlighted by far-right groups in France, who regularly rail against alleged racism against white people, both the interior minister, government spokesman and politicians of all stripes condemned the video.
 
Conrad, who had an average 40 monthly listeners on Spotify and 186 subscribers to his YouTube channel before the controversy, has become the subject of widespread media coverage and public attention as a result.
 
“There will be a trial during which I hope to be received like I was today in terms of being listened to,” Conrad said after his interview with police.  “I think that a text deserves to be studied in depth, not superficially.” 
 
In scenes from the PLB video, which has since been blocked by YouTube, the rapper can be seen torturing and then hanging a white victim with a noose, in between waving a gun around and smoking a cigar.
 
The lyrics evoke the killing of adults and children with the rapper singing: “I walk into creches, I kill white babies, catch them quick and hang their parents.”
 
Conrad, who is from Paris and is of Cameroonian origin, explained to Le Parisien newspaper that he wanted to “inverse the roles of the white man and the black man” and that the “shock was intended.” 
 
Many scenes make obvious reference to the film American History X about the abuse of blacks by American neo-Nazis.
 
One collateral victim of the furore is a BBC news presenter with the same name as the French rapper who presents a radio show in the sleepy eastern county of Norfolk.
 
The British Nick Conrad, who wrote online that he was the “fatter and more talented one” of the two, has asked to be left alone after receiving death threats over social media.