A provocation or daring feat - or both - Drakeo The Ruler has produced a complete album from his prison cell. Nineteen tracks elaborated at the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles, the rapper’s hometown. Thank You For Using GTL (2020) is the fruit of a tenacious collaboration between the Californian artist, his producer and The Stinc Team collective which brings together artists Ralfy the Plug, Ketchy The Great, SaysoTheMac, Bambino, Good Finesse and Young Bull. This album, recorded entirely via the penitentiary phones belonging to the company GTL (formerly Global Tel * Link), is impressive in its ingenuity and its outspoken take on the American judicial system.
Repeated imprisonments on questionable grounds
Drakeo The Ruler has already been through the prison system several times. At the tender age of 12, Darrell Caldwell (his real name) was arrested for the first time. A sudden passage in this world but which didn’t stop his musical career flourishing albeit marred by multiple arrests for more or less proven reasons. In 2017, just out of prison for the illegal possession of a firearm, Drakeo The Ruler took a month to produce Cold Devil, a mixtape of 16 titles pointing to the faults of the Los Angeles police force. His daily life as a gangsta rapper is not a fantasy, and his two subsequent arrests bear witness to this.
Incarcerated at the Men’s Central Jail of Los Angeles since 2019, Drakeo The Ruler is waiting for the jury’s verdict. A furious legal battle is currently raging between the rapper, his relatives and the Stinc Team collective, against what seems to be fierce judicial harassment. The Stinc Team is well-known for its explicit dislike of the Los Angeles police, who don’t hesitate in using the rappers’ punchy words to turn the situation in their favour. As far as they’re concerned, images of video clips and the song lyrics are all evidence and proof of Drakeo The Ruler's guilt. The beginning of this year saw the release of the Free Drakeo mixtape, denouncing the abuse of power and the inherent racism in the measures taken against the rapper, imprisoned without any real tangible evidence. In this mixtape, the introductory track Letter From Me to You Freestyle (Intro) is a freestyle mix directed by Drakeo The Ruler over the telephone, as well as fragments extracted from various pieces all linked together with the same slogan: “Free Drakeo”.