One Man Show: Lil Herb Preps 'Ballin' Like I'm Kobe' With A New Sense Of Self

Meet the more mature G-Herbo.

No matter where he is, Lil Herb is focused. Even as he walks backstage with his manager/DJ after performing his set dapping people up, hugging the girls, kicking it with fellow Chicagoan, Vic Mensa, and politicking with Brooklynites as everyone else backstage rolls paper planes, his priority is elevating his craft and performing real-life raps.

Lil Herb’s lit performance at the Red Bull Sound Select show on Monday night (Aug. 10) proved to be a sentimental night for the Chi-Town spitter. His late friend, Jacoby "Kobe" Herron, who inspired the name of his upcoming project, Ballin' Like I’m Kobe, was a victim of gun violence in 2013. G-Herbo's Brooklyn show marked the two-year anniversary of Jacoby's passing. At 19, Herb’s among a rising crop of Chicago talent alongside Lil Durk, Lil Bibby, Tink, King Louie, and Chance The Rapper (all of whom he collaborated with). Since his critically acclaimed debut mixtape, Welcome To Fazoland and the follow-up, The Pistol P Project, dropped in 2014, all eyes have been on him in the streets and the industry. Now, G-Herbo (real name Herbert Wright) plans on shocking the system as a pound-for-pound lyricist with Ballin'.

"I want [this tape] to solidify [my place]. Like, 'He ain’t f**kin around, can’t nobody f**k with him,'" he told VIBE backstage.

G-Herbo also shared his thoughts on the universal struggle, the Meek Mill and Drake beef, and what he would change in Chicago. Meet the more mature Herb below.—Mark Braboy (@DRD_Poetry17)

VIBE: How long have you been affiliated with Roc Block?
Lil Herb: That’s where I was raised, that’s my hood. It was Roc Block recently. We named it Roc Block after my homie [named Roc] got killed. That was my mans already so we just grew up together in the neighborhood.

It’s known as Terror Town right?
Yeah, but we was just little shorties running through that b*tch. We wasn’t really claiming it.

How did the passing of your friend, Jacoby, influence Ballin Like I’m Kobe?
It influenced the tape just off the simple fact that Jacoby is my home. That was my mans for 10 years. We known each other since we was shorties and he died during the process of me making my first tape, Welcome to Fazoland. So that was really just the whole thing and that influence me to just start naming my projects after my homies 'cause I just cherish life. You could be here one second and be gone the next. I was with Jacoby before he died, like five minutes before he died. That’s my homie. It was just the love I got for him will keep his name alive and that’s what influenced the whole thing.

READ: Review: Vince Staples & Lil Herb Offer A Break From The Ills Of The World At Red Bull Sound Select

What are the differences between Welcome To Fazoland and Ballin Like I’m Kobe as far as tone?
It’s pretty much… I don’t wanna say it’s the same, but it’s the same. I wouldn’t even say it’s the same me. Ballin Like I’m Kobe is just a transition. The transition of me from Welcome to Fazoland, the man I became. How I mature and what I’m going through now and the situations I been through since then. Within those two years, a lot of sh*t has happened and that’s really why I wanted to do Ballin Like I’m Kobe. I’m talking about, in Fazoland, my life, what I been through, my struggles. Now I’m talking about my struggle of me doing something with my life, like how I’m doing something with myself and just heading in the right path, trying to do something with my life and my career. It’s still sh*t that comes your way in the midst of that and I’m really just talking about that from a real perspective. I like to talk about my life and what I’m going through and what I’m feeling so it’s really my life as of right now. That’s what Ballin Like I’m Kobe gon' be about.

What features do you have on the tape?
Pretty much just Bibby. I’m on my own sh*t bro. I ain’t reaching out for no features. I’mma f**k with Durk, I’mma f**k with my homie Reese, Fredo, niggas who I f**k with, who I got genuine relationships with. I’mma f**k with my man’s [King] Louie. That’s pretty much it.

Describe the transition in your life between those two mixtapes, especially since your profile has been increasing.
Really, that main thing is to stay humble and to keep yourself grounded. I got a name for myself because I did something to solidify my career. But it’s just any second of how I’m living could cost me my life, my career, anything, bro. So I just gotta move carefully and meticulously. That’s really just the whole transition. I done seen a lot and seen a lot of sh*t that makes me not want to go back to the life I’ve lived before. So it’s just really me trying to stay on the right path to do what’s best for me and my family. I matured as a man some more.

Is that why you left Chicago?
I left Chicago because I’m not perfecting my craft there. It’s a lot of sh*t that distract you. I feel like until I be in Chicago and not let what’s going on Chicago affect me, I don’t need to be there.

It’s struggle no matter who you are, where you from, everybody got their own struggle and that’s just what I try to speak on.

Chief Keef can’t perform anywhere in Chicago because of his legal situation and for years, drill rappers have had a hard time getting shows there because of the negative stigma. How have you as an individual been able to overcome it?
I’ve been able to overcome it because I don’t put myself in those type of categories. I got my ties and I am who I am but I’m an artist and I’mma perfect my craft. I take my craft seriously so I’m not taking the streets or none of that bullsh*t more serious than I take my craft. So, performing and sh*t, that’s what I like to do. I enjoy performing, I enjoy being an artist. And that’s what I want to do and that’s how I portray myself. I know how to give those people faith. It’s not like I put on an act or anything for ‘em. I just know how to behave myself and I know how to keep myself out of harm’s way and keep that bullsh*t off my name—that’s just how I maintain.

I f*ck with Sosa. Since Sosa been gone, he ain’t been in none of that sh*t, like he ain’t been in no trouble or nothing, so I can’t see why he can’t perform in Chicago. It’s just the type of bullsh*t. When you portray that type of picture, that’s just people wanting to follow the negativity, no matter if you doing something positive or not. All they remember is that negative sh*t.

Which artists influence your writing?
Jay Z, Jadakiss, Styles P, Gucci [Mane], [Yo] Gotti and n***as like that who spit real sh*t. It’s not even like coming up. I wasn’t big on hip-hop, bro, I didn’t always want to be a rapper. I was playing basketball and I just so happened to be in the streets and I knew how to rap and I had rap culture in me, but I just started to take it seriously. It’s just the way I think. It’s not that I try to rap like those guys on purpose. It’s just when I started rapping, it was so much going on in my life that it’s all I could think about. I wasn’t thinking about just rap music, shoot ‘em up, boom boom sh*t. I was thinking about my life and what I’m going through. Real sh*t, I was 15, 16, living the life of a 30-year-old. That’s a lot to be on a 16-year-old’s mind and all that. That’s really what inspired me to write and what I speak on the sh*t I spoke on. It’s just my lifestyle that I had growing up. I didn’t have an average 15, 16, 17-year-old lifestyle. That’s pretty much it.

Your music connects with a lot of people.
It feel good. That’s why I do it, bro. I try to connect with people who could feel my same struggle, bro. I relate to artists right now like Meek Mill and Future. I feel that sh*t, bro. That’s the type of sh*t I been through or can relate to or know people who’s going through this type of sh*t. So why I spit the type of sh*t I spit because I’m not the only person who grew up how I grew up. It’s really just to touch different type of people from wherever culture. From the United States, the world, wherever, bro, because it’s struggle no matter who you are, where you from, everybody got their own struggle and that’s just what I try to speak on. Just the good, the bad, the ugly, all that. I try to be well-rounded. I do drill sh*t with my eyes closed. I can do turn-up sh*t and that soulful sh*t. That’s what I like the most 'cause that’s my life. I be in the house or in the car riding and I think about my life or just anything, bro. Just my life or anything I been through or what I want to go through or what I want to see. And that inspires me, like I have goals and dreams for myself so that’s what inspires me to rap.

READ: A Conversation With Chicago’s Lil Herb About His New Music, Dipset And Dream Collabo

Speaking of Meek, what are your thoughts on his situation with Drake?
It is what it is. I f*ck with Meek heavy. Like I said, I relate to Meek all day long. I f*ck with Drake heavy. Drake co-signed my career damn near. Well, I wouldn’t say co-signed, but he shouted me out and showed me love. I fuck with both of ‘em, I don’t really feel too much on it. I don’t know really who’s in the right or who’s in the wrong. I f*ck with both of them.

From one Chicagoan to another, I know that you get a lot of questions about the violence in Chicago. There’s a lot of media attention that's constantly surrounding the city. Do you think the portrayal is accurate?
I speak on that a lot and on one of my songs, I said, "Why the cops hot on our block? Man, there’s violence everywhere.” Everywhere you go, like I said, people go through a struggle. I ain’t gon lie Chicago is a lot more violent than a lot of other places. It’s nowhere like Chicago, bro. I done seen the world and other places. I done been to other hoods. No hood reminds me of Chicago or my hood so maybe that’s why. A lot of people killing and don’t nobody know why. Like, a lot of sh*t in the world be over money, power, and territory. None of that is over. Now, people killing for no reason, for “he say, she say” stuff. And that’s why Chicago got a spotlight on it, because it’s sh*t people never seen before. It’s like Chicago got a murder rate higher that Iraq? But why?

From your perspective, what’s so different about the hoods in Chicago compared to a hood in say, Newark, Harlem or Brooklyn?
I feel like hoods like Brooklyn and Harlem, it’s more structure, bro. If you from Brooklyn or Harlem, you gon' take up for Brooklyn’s name or Harlem’s name. If a mothaf**ka talk down on Brooklyn or Harlem and you from there, you gon' say something. If a mothaf**ka talk down on Chicago, don’t nobody give a f**k, they care about their hood. You can’t talk about that person’s hood but you can say, “F**k Chicago.” And that’s f**ked up, that’s backwards. I don’t see why people don’t get that. Chicago is a hateful city. Ain’t no unity. So that’s why it’s like that, that’s why Chicago’s not like nowhere else and I feel like that’s why certain hoods not like nowhere else because it’s not no unity in Chicago. That’s certain people is so loyal to certain areas, because ain’t no love for them nowhere else and that’s just how that is.

If you could change or make one situation better in Chicago, whether it’s the government or the streets, what would it be?
I just would make a change in the streets, bro. Just unity. If Chicago can come together, we’ll be so f**kin' powerful. I been put my pride to the side. I ain’t never had no rap beef so I don’t got no problem working with all types of artists from Chicago if it makes sense. Chicago got the most talent to me, the most originality. We got our own style, we got our own slide, like ain’t no n***as like Chicago n***as. So if we can come together and use that as a weapon, bro, ain’t nobody gon be able to f**k with Chicago. Chicago has always had more than one type of style, whether it’s house music, or Twista and Common’s era, or Kanye and Lupe’s era, and now the Drill era. It’s just nobody support one another. So if we just support one another, Chicago will be good.

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Erik Umphery

Meet Ebenezer, The Crooner Poised To Restore Soul Into Modern R&B

Ebenezer is a man of few words but the purveyor of a million feels throughout his music. Before the novel coronavirus left the singer-songwriter isolated in Los Angeles, the London-born artist was at the VIBE office in New York a few moons ago playing his latest project, Bad Romantic 2.

A few laughs fill the room but what really takes over is the boptastic tune "3 am in London." With a sample from Kandi Burruss's 2000 release "Don't Think I'm Not," we get a look into his creative process. After revealing his origin story in 2018 with 53 Sundays, Ebenezer returned with the Bad Romantic series. It's a title bestowed to him by the many women he's dated. As a songwriter, engineer, producer, and composer for himself a slew of other artists like Jeremih, Ty Dolla $ign, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Stefflon Don, K-Pop faves SuperM and Craig David, love seemed to slip through the cracks. 

"I always try to make time," the crooner insists. He might not get love right all the time, but his determination to enrich modern R&B is a sword he's willing to fall on. While sharing stories behind cuts from Bad Romantic 2, a grin comes across his face as every tale is connected to love lost.

"It wasn't like there wasn't any lack of effort. It's just the way my schedule worked," he said about the making of "Flexible," a track bound to lead a quiet storm playlist. "I remember working so hard at the time that I was sleeping in the studio. I didn't have any money to go home [to London] so I had to work until something gave. I would mention how difficult it was but maybe she didn't understand the hustle or the grind at the time."

His hard work led to his latest single, "Flaws And All." The track speaks of his efforts to make love work no matter what, a notion anyone can relate to. As we continue to talk about love, one thing is for certain–Ebenezer is in love with creating. His eyes light up while breaking down each track and his shoulders ease up when he speaks about his versatility. In addition to the world hearing Bad Romantic 2, he's used social distancing to produce songs via his "Quarantine Studio Sessions."


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A post shared by Ebenezer (@ebenezersworld) on Mar 27, 2020 at 10:56am PDT

Below, get to know a little more about the elusive artist, the making of Bad Romantic 2 and some of his biggest inspirations.


VIBE: With you producing at a young age, did you have support from your family?

Ebenezer: I'm a London boy but my parents are originally from Nigeria. They were on the run from immigration at one point but after things calmed down there was a big focus on education. They were like, "No you, can't. Education first." There would be big arguments and fights but eventually, I chose music. Or maybe it chose me? I started working and producing while on the phone with artists and things came together.

But I owe everything to my mum because she is the biggest cheerleader I've ever had. This woman had three kids and did everything to get by. She held it down. I had cousins who called immigration on us and they're supposed to be family–immigration comes kicking open the door and raiding the house. So I believe that the blessings I'm getting now are from God and our prayers.

What do you enjoy the most: producing/engineering or writing? 

I don't know if I can choose. I just use different parts of my brain for producing and writing. It is fun to split them up and bring them together at times.

What's your voice in R&B today? 

From childhood to the present, I've been in piece of s**t relationships and my songs reflect that. It's not be being vindictive to my exes. I take full responsibility for the things I've done and I try to be honest as I can in my music. The worst thing I could do is be one-sided.

There's that aspect of accountability missing in R&B these days so I get it. How is creating R&B-pop music for K-Pop artists? You worked with SuperM recently and it seems like they really enjoy the era of 2000s R&B. 

It's easier because they let you do whatever you want. You want a variety of harmonies because there's a lot of people in one group. But I like creating for K-Pop artists because you're able to let every individual stand out and have their own moment. It's dope they're adopting that sound.

Who are some of your inspirations? 

Kanye West for sure. My brother was a big hip hop head so I grew up on Rakim, Big L, Big Pun, Tupac, Biggie, Jay Z, Wu-Tang, but my decade has the Drakes and the Kanyes, so they were my biggest inspirations. College Dropout was the album that had me say, "I'm doing this music thing, I don't care."

My sister is a big R&B fan. She played a lot of Jagged Edge, Jodeci, stuff like that. So I was lucky to have the hip hop side and the R&B side presented to me all at once.

In addition to love and relationships, what else drives your creative process? 

It comes in stages for me. I like to make projects with a theme. For example, 53 Sundays was a project about growing up in London as an immigrant and the adversity we experienced racism and gang violence. It's how I overcame it and how my family dealt with it.

There's a lot of self-love in those songs because nothing is free, especially coming from having nothing. You have the Bad Romantic projects that are pretty self-explanatory in the title [Laughs]. I'm going to make it all tell a story so when you look back at the projects, it's a timeline and you'll see who I am.

What makes a "Bad Romantic and a "Good Romantic?" 

My exes are bad romantics. [Laughs]

So it's their fault? 

Nah, my exes would say there are some things that I'm good at and some things I'm terrible at. There are different love languages and what someone may require, I might not speak it. I like to provide gifts because growing up with nothing, you never want to see anyone without.

But I struggle with time because I'm always working and they had it. I have this thing called "The Okay Attitude." You can write me a novel in a text and I'll say, okay. Life expectancy for us is low as it is and we spend most of our time arguing about trivial things so if that's how you feel, that's how you feel.

And a "Good Romantic?"

Being attentive, caring, not being so selfish. I don't know, everyone is different. Some people require a lot. They say, "Shower me with gifts." But others say, "I just want your time, whenever you can afford it."

Unfortunately, I can't afford it.

What do you want listeners to get from your music?

That I'm just a bad romantic that's trying to better himself.

Stream Bad Romantic 2 here.

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Pony Boy

Slim Thug On His Coronavirus Diagnosis, Holistic Remedies And New Album, 'Thug Life'

Slim Thug, born Stayve Thomas, is a relatively healthy being. His daily regimen includes three-mile runs and keeping his diet in tip-top shape. Since he was 27, the rapper has battled high blood pressure and switched up his lifestyle for the better. Thirteen years later, the Houston native is hip to holistic methods like oregano oil to lower cholesterol levels, spirulina to reduce blood pressure and absorbing good vibes only.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has reported 1,303 people in the state have tested positive for novel coronavirus, one being Thug. The rapper and businessman was slighted after learning of his positive diagnosis on Tuesday (March 24).

Thug fell ill with a headache and a slight fever after running errands last week. While his symptoms were mild, his doctor provided him with a 24-hour test that confirmed it all. "Some people think I'm making it up," he tells VIBE over the phone Thursday (March 26). "Some people think I'm working for somebody, it's crazy."

As conspiracy theories permeate through social media, the 39-year-old is focused on keeping fans informed about the virus. His social distancing wasn't the best as he got a haircut a week before he was diagnosed, which is why he's firm on it today. "It's real and people should take it seriously," he said. "Especially for young people. You could pass it on, it could be deadly to somebody you love. You have to be a human and say, 'I have to protect others by not being reckless.'"

This hasn't changed Thug's plans to release his forthcoming album, Thug Life, Friday (March 27).  The veteran rapper who dropped classics like, "I Ain't Heard of That" and guest verses on Mike Jones' "Still Tippin," and Beyonce's "Check on It" wants his new music to be a safe haven for the times.

Released last week, his single, "This World" highlights today's ups and downs, with a telling sample from the late Charles Bradley.

The silver lining continues to glisten for the rapper. After sharing his diagnosis with fans, many began sharing black-owned businesses that specialize in holistic medicine. They include Soul Food Vegan and natural herbs from Jinka Premium.

In our conversation below, Slim Thug highlights the importance of social distancing, why rappers should stay connected to their fans and how the late Tupac Shakur inspired his new album, Thug Life.



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Just found out I got Corona virus

A post shared by Slim Thug (@slimthug) on Mar 24, 2020 at 10:14am PDT

VIBE: How have you been coping with this? Take me back to your initial thoughts when you found out all of this was happening.

Slim Thug: I was definitely surprised because I was trying to be precautious way earlier than a lot of people. I started to feel a headache and a fever and I've never had those symptoms so I thought, 'Man this Corona time, it's got to be something.' But at the end of the day, I haven't felt severe sickness or nothing.

I have high blood pressure, I already do this. I run three miles at the park and go to the gym every day, so I'm pretty healthy. You know, I never felt like I wouldn't be able to fight this off, I never really felt really sick or crazy sick, just kind of felt like a sinus infection.

With you being a healthy person, what has this told you about the virus?

It's serious and it can be deadly, but at the end of the day, if you're young and healthy and don't have any other underlying conditions, then you should be able to fight it off. My doctor shared how the only thing you can do is stay home and let it run its course. He said to drink a high volume of fluids like vitamin c to keep your immune system up.

Have you ever been interested in holistic practices?

I believe in medicine, I'm not gonna lie if I need a Z-Pack, I'm gonna get it (Laughs). But there's a lot of people around me who shared some things. I'm on a lot of herbs right now. They done gave me all types of kits and stuff that I posted on Instagram. I've been on oregano oil, black seed oil, and it's working. I'm trying everything from boiling orange peels to elderberry. I'm trying to stay on it, I feel good. I go outside and post up in the sun and try to drink hot tea during the day.

Hip-hop artists haven't said too much about the virus, but some are engaging more with fans on social media. What else do you think your peers can do with their influence during these times?  

If you're a rapper, you should be taking advantage of this time and giving content out to the world as much as possible. I've seen so many different artists be creative. Look at DJ D-Nice. About a year ago, I started spinning. I'm not really a DJ, I'm just having fun. But for D-Nice to have 150,000 people on his Live? You would never go to a club and DJ for that many people or never "see" Oprah and all of them. It's a whole new wave, a whole new world we're stepping into. You're reaching over 150,000 people and this is elite people at the same time.

It's inspired all the real DJs to get on. I'm seeing DJs from Houston like Mr. Rodgers spin for 12 hours straight and he had the whole city in his Live. We were all just in the comments, it's crazy, but it's amazing though because you have thousands there and you won't see that many people in a real club.


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After Hours Vibes are DIFFERENT in #ClubCorona. That 7am hour had me hella delirious and in rare form. Went in the bag and dropped that OutKast Spottie and brought the LIVE band out during my LIVE set. From 9p-2PM (17hrs nonstop) we went crazy. Long story short, don’t miss 2nite!! - s/o @honeyboneshawty for capturing this moment!

A post shared by DJ Mr Rogers (@djmrrogers) on Mar 25, 2020 at 1:11pm PDT

It's a new experience, so you have to be creative with it. My album Thug Life is out today [March 27th], but I've hosted a live listening on my Instagram. It was inspired by [2]Pac. Back in the day, he had a project called Thug Life and with Slim Thug being my name, I just had to use it.

I even saw Swae Lee [of rap duo Rae Sremmurd] do a whole concert. You just got to be engaged with your people and they will appreciate that because everyone is sitting at home bored with nothing to do. If they're busy now, they will have time to tune in later. All artists should be taking advantage of this moment, stay at home and give the people as much content as they can watch because they all want to see something right now.

What do you think it is about music that has people wanting it more than ever?

Music is just therapy to your body and soul. Whenever I'm stressed out, I got a playlist for that. I got a playlist for anything and any mood I need to be in. Music is very important because of a lot of Black people/minorities, don't go to therapy, they don't have a lot of access to resources that can help ease stress.

A lot of the times, a good song can do that for you, it can make you feel good. All of that. So it's very important. I feel like my content is good for these times. I have a song called "This World" that's about real-life stuff.  I got a record with [veteran Houston rapper] Z-Ro I'm finna drop that's like a gospel song to me. When I hear it, it just takes me there and I think people are going to feel the same.

Lastly, you mentioned you're getting into DJing. If you were to throw a Quarantine Party, what are the Top 5 records you have to play no matter what?

At my Quarantine Party, it's going to be the real playing. I've done a few mixes for the last ten days. I would say the go-to records are 90s R&B. It's just therapeutic feel-good music.

Hearing people singing really calms you down. Jodeci, Babyface, all of it. Guy, Keith Sweat. If you want to turn up and take it what's good now, Travis Scott is perfect to get lit to.

For those who want the real throwback rap, you might want to hear some Tupac. There's something for everybody, whatever you like, there's a playlist that will put you in a great mood and I think everyone should tap into that for real, it's real therapy.

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The History Of The Scottsboro Boys

Decades before the Exonerated Five became one of the biggest-known examples of Black and brown youth being targeted and falsely convicted, there were the Scottsboro Boys. The group of nine black teenagers, ranging from ages 13 to 19, were wrongly convicted of raping two white women on a freight train in 1931.

Haywood Patterson, Clarence Norris, Charlie Weems, brothers Andrew and Leroy "Roy" Wright, Olin Montgomery (who was nearly blind), Eugene Williams, Ozie Powell, and Willie Roberson (who suffered from severe syphilis and could barely walk) were arrested on rape charges, which began a years-long battle for freedom. Four of the nine teens knew each other prior to being falsely accused and convicted.

On March 25, 1931, the teens boarded the Southern Railway freight train in hopes of finding jobs, along with other Black and white passengers. As the train made its way through Alabama, a fight broke out after a group of white passengers attempted to attack a group of Black passengers. Patterson was one of the passengers targeted which triggered a melee, that led to the white passengers getting kicked off the train in Skottsboro, Ala.

The angry posse headed to a nearby sheriff where they claimed that they had been attacked by Black passengers. Police intern arrested every Black passenger on the train for assault. Meanwhile, two white women on the train, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, told police that they had been raped by the Black teens. It’s suspected that the women lied out of fear of being arrested for prostitution. A doctor later examined the women and determined that they were not raped.

Nonetheless, police arrested the teen, who were dubbed the Scottsboro Boys. Price and Bates went to the Scottsboro Jail and identified the teens as their attackers. In the age of Jim Crow and overt racism permeating through the South, the Scottsoboro Boys never stood a chance. White lynch mobs marched to the jail where they were being held and demanded that the boys be released into their custody so that they could kill them. As a result, the National Guard was called in to escort the Scottsboro Boys from jail to court. The boys were not allowed to consult with an attorney and were instead appointed two lawyers, one of whom was 69-year-old Milo Moody, who hadn’t tried a murder case in years. A second lawyer assigned to the case was a real estate attorney.

The first round of trials took place over the course of one day in a standing-room only court room with all-white, all-male jurors. Black jurors had been systematically blocked from the jury pools through disenfranchisement that also stripped many Blacks of the right to vote.

Patterson was tried separately, followed by Norris and Weems. The defense offered no closing arguments, but prosecutors closed by urging jurors to sentence the boys to death. Within two hours of deliberation, the jury returned a guilty verdict against Norris and Weems, amid cheers and applause in the court room. Patterson’s trial began as jurors were deliberating the case against Norris and Weems. Despite having no evidence and conflicting stories from Price and Bates, Patterson was convicted and sentenced to the electric chair. Powell, Roberson, Williams, Montgomery and Andy Wright’s trial began minutes after Patterson’s trial ended. The jury quickly convicted them and sentenced them to death.

Prosecutors decided that 13-year-old Roy Wright was too young for the death penalty. Within hours, the case was declared a mistrial as jurors were deadlocked on sentencing for Roy Wright, although they all agreed that he was guilty, despite him being innocent.

The other eight Scottsboro Boys were sentenced to death, but the Alabama Supreme Court issued a last-minute indefinite stay of execution. The case caught the attention of the International Labor Defense, and the NAACP.

On March 24, 1932, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld the convictions against seven of the Scottsboro Boys, and granted Williams a new trial. The case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court later that year. In a landmark decision, the high court ruled that the boys had been denied the right to a fair trial under the 14th Amendment, and sent the cases back to the lower court.

The Scottsboro Boys were tried again, this time in Decatur, Ala., which was roughly 50 miles from Scottsboro, but still in Ku Klux Klan territory. The ILD appealed the case and hired defense attorney Samuel Leibowitz. Bates recanted her rape story and agreed to testify on behalf of the defense. Despite Bates’ cooperation, and no evidence proving their guilt, the Scottsboro Boys were convicted again, though Patterson’s death sentence was suspended.

In a unanimous decision, the Alabama Supreme Court denied the defense’s motions for a new trial, and in January 1935, the case returned to the U.S. Supreme Court for a second time. The guilty verdict against Norris was overturned and new trials were ordered for him and Patterson. Norris’ third trial ended in another conviction and death sentence along with Weems and Andy Wright. Roy Wright spent six years in prison while the case was tried several times.

Prosecutors eventually agreed to drop the rape charges against Powell, who was later convicted of assaulting a deputy sheriff and sentenced to 20 years. The remaining rape charges were also dropped against Montgomery, Roberson, Williams and Roy Wright, and they were released from custody.

Enduring back-to-back trials took a tole on the group that likely had a ripple effect on their lives. One of the accused was left disabled after being shot while being escorted to prison. Others returned to custody on various convictions over the years. Norris, the eldest and the last surviving among the bunch, evaded parole in 1946 and went into hiding for 30 years. He was found in 1976, and pardoned by Alabama Gov. George Wallace. Norris died in 1989.

After more than 80 years, the Scottsboro Boys were posthumously pardoned in 2013. See more on the story in the video below.

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