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Paroled Gangster Rapper Seeks Redemption After 26 Years Behind Bars

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- A Bay Area gangster rapper whose violent lyrics helped convict him and put him behind bars for more than a quarter century is now free from prison, trying to make amends and restart his career.

Anerae Brown -- better known by his stage name "X-Raided" -- is on parole, living in Oakland after serving 26 years for his part in a gangland murder more than two decades ago. KPIX reporter Juliette Goodrich covered his trial.

But today, Brown is out of prison and making music again, trying to prove that he's a changed man.

Brown is free and he's letting the world know it:

"Other than Pac," Brown said, referring to the late Bay Area hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur -- "I'm the rap story of the century."

It is quite a story.  26 years ago, Brown was the rapper X-Raided. In March of 1992, he and some of his fellow gang members broke into a home in Sacramento intent on killing two of his rivals.

When a shadow emerged in the hallway, Brown and two other young men opened fire. It turned out it wasn't the rival gang members but their mother, 42-year old Patricia Harris, who lay dead with a gunshot to her heart.

Brown said he didn't kill her, but the murder weapon matched the ballistics of the gun pictured on his album cover. Prosecutors also played the jury the graphic lyrics of an X-Raided song.

"I'm killin' mamas, daddies and nephews/I'm killin' sons, daughters and sparin' you," the lyrics went.

In 1996, Anerae Brown was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 31 years in prison.

"No one conspired to kill Mrs. Harris, but we conspired to harm those dudes," said Brown. "I was looking for them to do them harm. I meant them harm. And that's the truth. And that is something I have shame for; remorse and repentance."

While behind bars, X-Raided still managed to make 12 albums, usually rapping through a payphone. He served a total of 26 years and was recently paroled to a halfway house in Oakland.

"I can feel the breeze on my face. I can hear the birds," said Brown. "It's overwhelming."

Brown says prison changed him.

"I'm on a new journey to be a responsible adult male who enjoys life and makes music and doesn't want to harm anybody," said the rapper. "I'm very much looking for redemption."

He's recording again and mentoring younger musicians.

"It's like history in the making. Like today is a historic day in hip hop," said one of those recording artists, who goes by the name Mars. "To see him recording in the studio and not over the phone, it's absolutely amazing."

He now candidly repudiates the gang life, calling it "parasitic."

"The concept of gang banging -- turf ganging as they call it in the yay [Bay Area] -- we're talking genocide," Brown said.

"Did I think it was perfectly logical that if you believe someone killed your homeboy, you kick the door down and go get 'em? I thought that was perfectly logical. Would I be willing to get shot and killed?  That was perfectly logical, because I believed in a psychology that was utterly irresponsible and ignorant," he added. "The love I had for my neighborhood and my homeboys was greater than my common sense."

Brown apologized to the Harris family in a video posted on Instagram and also had the chance to say he was sorry to some family members in person during his parole hearing.

He hopes one day to compensate the Harris family, even though he knows money can't bring the matriarch back.

Brown just released his new album entitled The Execution of X-Raided, which features the demise of his X-Raided persona.

From now on, Brown will perform under the name Anerae' Veshaughn and has launched a new website to feature his latest musical creations. He said his music will reflect a new positive message and his determination to achieve redemption.

And what does he say to fans who might insist they only want to hear the old songs about violence?

"I'm on a new journey to be a responsible adult male who enjoys life and makes music and doesn't want to harm anybody," explained Brown. "So whoever supported X-Raided and that's all you wanted from me, this is where we part. I love you, I appreciate everything you did for me.  And if you want to come with me, you're willing to come and get this love."

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