After serving 128 days in jail on charges of carjacking and second-degree robbery, the cell bars slid open unexpectedly for Santa Ana rapper Kadillak Kaz at 12:45 a.m. on Feb. 20. Released into the cold, early-morning air and hitching a ride from his father, who took him to stay with a nearby relative, he was confronted with the decision of what his next move would be.
The day before, the MC with two felony strikes on his record was summoned from the jail to stand trial in Central Justice Center, facing a maximum of 23 years in prison for allegedly taking a female friend's car after an argument inside a business-office complex in Tustin, driving it to the other side of the building without her knowledge, leaving the keys in the car and taking off shortly after the incident between them occurred (read more about it in our recent cover story). As a man with a checkered legal history that includes drug dealing and former gang ties, the prospect of him going to jail for at least part of the maximum sentence seemed like more than a possibility, even though he claimed innocence.
However, new evidence came to light: The Orange County district attorney's office noted a change in the victim's account of what happened that day, and Kadillak was offered a deal for the much-lesser charge of moving a vehicle without the owner's consent, which carried a penalty of three years probation. Though he struggled with taking the deal, as he wanted to maintain his innocence in the case, the rapper accepted and was released shortly after.
"A lot of people were praying for me to make it out on top of this. I realized when it came down to it that Orange County was not gonna let me walk away," he says. "If I take the chance at trial again, I could lose. So do I play with 23 years of my life, or do I say, 'cool' and take what they offered me?"
Now that's he's enjoying life on the outside, the rapper says he has gotten himself confined again -- only this time, it's in a recording studio.
His primary objective is finishing his third full-length, Late Nights, Early Money. After contacting A&R reps from Doggystyle Records, Snoop Dogg's (er, Snoop Lion's) longtime label, Kadillak says he has been assured that negotiations for a record deal and other options are still on the table as long as he finishes his album. That's pretty much all he had been doing when the Weekly sat down with him in a Garden Grove recording studio, where he was working with Goblin, a young local producer who is helping to refine the tracks laid down both before and after his jail stint. With several more tracks to finish, three music-video shoots, and a listening party planned at the Observatory in April, Kadillak is wasting no time taking a second run at his opportunity for a record deal with Snoop.
"All the business that was on the table, I believe it's really gonna manifest," he says. "If not, I still have other avenues. I'm an independent artist, you know? An all-around hustler."
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Heard Mentality will make sure to update you on Kadillak's situation as it unfolds. More details to come.
For now, he's just enjoying being home. . . .