Tiny Doo, the rapper behind bars for his song lyrics, pleaded not guilty to gang conspiracy charges last Thursday (Dec. 4) in San Diego, Calif.

The rapper, born Brandon Duncan, entered a not guilty plea stemming from nine shootings that occurred since last April. As we previously reported, Tiny Doo could be facing a lifetime behind bars for his mixtape, ‘No Safety.'

Although Tiny hasn’t been tied to the shootings themselves, prosecutors claim that the rapper benefitted from the shootings, which increased his street cred and helped sell more albums. It's also important to note that Tiny has no prior criminal record.

“It’s really given a black eye to the legal system here in the DA’s office,” Tiny's lawyer, Brian Watkins, told Fox 5 News in San Diego. “To charge someone with crimes while admitting he had no knowledge of those crimes. Based on his artistic expression, he made a rap album -- a rap album that’s actually made in 2012, these shootings occurred in 2013 -- so there’s absolutely no connection."

Many have challenged this case as an assault on the First Amendment and right to free speech. “It’s important for the community to understand that this case is not about punishing someone for rapping and it’s not about a First Amendment issue,” the District Attorney's office said. “This case is about protecting our neighborhoods by taking violent gang members off the streets and holding them accountable for the crimes they commit using a law that voters passed and the court has recognized as constitutional.”

“I feel like I’m being held captive,” said Tiny Doo in a jail interview with VICE. “I haven’t done anything. I said I had a million dollars on a couple of raps, too. Obviously I don’t have that, because I’d be home already. It’s entertainment. It’s not real.”

Artists like Freddie Gibbs have spoken out on his behalf as have fans on social media with the #FreeTinyDoo hashtag.

Tiny Doo's trial is set for January 23, 2015.

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