October 31, 2007

“Taking It To … YouTube?” [7:45 am]

Another example of the strange doublethink that the Internet seems to inspire in people: Castlegate and Morse Street gangs posting rap videos on YouTubepdf

The three-minute video is one of two posted on the Internet featuring teenagers who say they belong to Castlegate and Morse Street, two notorious Boston gangs whose members often turn up in police reports about shootings around the city. Now, the gangs appear to be staking out new turf with their work, which is appearing on the popular video-sharing website YouTube, alongside videos of celebrities, sports highlights, and amateur pranks.

One of the men in the video, a 19-year- old Morse Street resident who identified himself only as Millz, said the rappers are merely trying to launch a musical career online and grab the attention of hip-hop producers.

“We’re just rapping,” he said in an interview on Castlegate Road, a street off Blue Hill Avenue that is no more than two football fields long and is lined with attached low-rise brick buildings. “That’s all it is.”

But among their rap’s most rapt listeners are Boston police officers, who say the videos may help them identify gang members. If any of the men in the video should appear at an arraignment on a weapons charge, police said, they could use the video as evidence of affiliation with a gang.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Police Superintendent Daniel Linskey. “If we can play a video for a judge that shows they’re involved with criminal activity, that helps us, and bodes well when we go for dangerousness hearings. We like to use these videos to use their own words against them.”

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