A court in Paris handed down the 12 year sentence to the 'Afro-trap' pioneer, real name Mohamed Sylla, after he was found guilty of involvement in the gang-related killing of 23-year-old victim Loic K.
The popular rapper MHD has been sentenced to 12 years in prison at the Paris Assizes, where he appeared with eight co-defendants for the murder of a young man in 2018.
Five of his co-defendants were also given sentences ranging from 10 to 18 years in prison for their roles in the crime - said to be a settling of scores between rival gangs - while three others were acquitted.
The prosecution had requested 18 years of criminal imprisonment against MHD, whose real name is Mohamed Sylla.
A rising star of the ‘Afro-trap’ genre, MHD remained stoic as the verdict was sent down and as he was taken into custody.
His lawyers declined to make a statement after the verdict but those convicted have 10 days to appeal.
Earlier on Saturday morning, the rapper proclaimed his innocence one last time, before the court retired to deliberate.
In July 2018, 23-year-old Loïc K was deliberately knocked down by a Mercedes in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, then attacked.
He died shortly after his attackers left the scene.
The car was found the next day, set on fire, in a nearby parking lot.
At the heart of the case was a settling of scores between young people from the city of Chaufourniers, nicknamed the ‘red city’ and the neighbouring city of Grange aux Belles, located in the 10th and 19th arrondissements.
MHD was hailed as a pioneer of ‘Afro-trap’ - a mixture of hip-hop and African music. A video he posted on YouTube in 2015 went viral and saw his career go from strength to strength.
In just a few months, he became a recognised star not only in France but internationally and he was noticed by artists including Madonna and Drake.
He must now spend at least a year and a half in prison before being released under judicial supervision.
MHD was implicated by several witnesses who affirmed that he was at the scene of the crime- something he has contested since the very beginning.
Investigators also established that the Mercedes set on fire belonged to him and one of the videos of the scene shows a man with dyed blonde hair, wearing a Puma tracksuit.
At that time, MHD had blonde hair and was an ambassador for the sportswear brand.