BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Judge Bonnie Jackson terminated probation for Baton Rouge rapper NBA YoungBoy during a hearing Friday, Dec. 13.
NBA YoungBoy, whose real name is Kentrell Gaulden, appeared in court Friday with his attorney, James Manasseh, requesting that Judge Jackson terminate his probation early since he has completed all of the court’s conditions to date.
Manasseh noted a court-approved music video created issues with Gaulden’s lease and he would be limited in relocating within the city if the early termination was not granted. Manasseh also noted Gaulden’s music record label, Atlantic Records, sent notice that Gaulden’s personal and financial safety could be jeopardized if he were to remain in Baton Rouge.
Jackson agreed that remaining in Baton Rouge could be a detriment to Gaulden’s well-being. She also advised it was important for him to reevaluate his relationships to avoid further legal issues.
“Most of your problems stem from people in your life who really don’t have your best interest at heart...That’s a hard thing to hear,” said Judge Jackson.
Judge Jackson has previously allowed Gaulden multiple chances to stay out of trouble. In the past, she has declined attempts from the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office to prove Gaulden’s probation should be revoked.
“I see growth in you,” said Jackson, noting Gaulden’s previous “hiccups” during his time on probation. “I hope that things go well for you.”
Gaulden praised Judge Jackson for showing him leniency during his time on probation.
“[Judge Jackson] was a blessing. She saved me. She gave me opportunity after opportunity. She really helped me grow. She helped me get to this point to be honest, because it would have been all over.” said Gaulden. “But it’s all good though. I thank her.”
Gaulden said he is excited to get back to performing and plans on relocating to California in the near future. He was also excited when confirming rumors that he is expecting another child.
Gaulden did say he remains somewhat fearful of the future, however.
“[I’m not going to] lie, I’m kind of scared,” said Gaulden, speaking exclusively to WAFB in the immediate moments after the hearing. “But, I’m free now. I been waiting for this for a long time. I ain’t really got nothing to prove anymore. I want to grow and continue to do right from now on. But, a lot goes on with me so I’m still kind of scared.”
Manasseh said he understands Gaulden’s fears, but the growth he’s had while on probation shows promise.
“He’s got a great future ahead of him,” said Manasseh.
Gaulden was arrested in May after a deadly shootout in Florida. On Sunday, May 12, the rapper and his associates were leaving a beach resort when a shooter in a black Cadillac Escalade reportedly pulled up and opened fire. Gaulden’s entourage returned fire, but not before his girlfriend was struck and hospitalized.
A man was killed in the crossfire when a bullet entered his vehicle across the street.
Manasseh argued Gaulden was the target of the shooting and his entourage acted in self-defense.
Gaulden appeared in Jackson’s courtroom Friday, May 17 after prosecutors requested to have his probation revoked because of the incident.
He was initially on probation in relation to a 2016 shooting case authorities believe was in retaliation for the death of another teenage rapper earlier that year.
Gaulden was sentenced to three years of probation with a suspended 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to aggravated assault with a firearm. One of the conditions of his probation was that he remain free of additional arrests and convictions.
On Feb. 11, 2019, Gaulden was also arrested in Atlanta after an incident at the Hyatt House in which Gaulden allegedly directed a woman to keep housekeeping staff out of the room. The woman, Starr Thigpen, reportedly assaulted one of the staff members, striking her in the face.
Because of the incidents, Jackson ordered Gaulden be placed on house arrest for 14 months and was ordered to wear a GPS ankle monitor. He was not allowed to perform.
In a livestream captured by WAFB’s Scottie Hunter after that order was given, Gaulden was seen leaving the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, immediately embraced by family and friends.
Gaulden said he remains thankful for the support from his fans.