"Harriet Tubman, I'm still on the run
I'm thinkin' 'bout all of the shit that I done,"- Kodak Black on "Change My Ways."

He may have been born Dieuson Octave, but the nation would embrace him as Kodak Black. Octave is a product of Broward County, a multi-cultural settlement just north of Miami-Dade County. I spent most of my college years in Central Florida, a transient hub of college kids and snowbirds from the northeast. The most vivid memories I can recall during that time come from trips to South Florida, where the air was thick and the dreadlocks were thicker. Being a dread-head myself, the culture was easy to embrace. The residents of South Florida emit an aura of peace and clarity. The white sandy beaches dip into the warm and welcoming the Atlantic Ocean, and the humid weather lulls any visitor into a false sense of security. 

Crime and poverty go hand in hand, and several major metropolises such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles share many similarities when it comes to their hoods. None of those rules and similarities come into effect when South Florida hoods come into play though. Anyone who lives in Florida understands that Broward County and Dade County goons are on another level. Northerners, such as myself, like to amuse ourselves with that notion that southern residents are “slow.” Nothing could be more incorrect.

Nas stated it best on “Get Down,”

“Southern niggas ain't slow, nigga tried to play me/I left from around them dudes, they cool but they crazy.

Octave began rapping at the age of twelve, influenced by his surroundings and his peers. There are few environments that can successfully mesh so many diverse cultures together, but South Florida succeeds where other regions fail. Haitians, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Dominican Republicans, Jamaicans, and several other Carribean immigrants nestle within Broward and Dade Counties. With a melting pot environment around him, and the confidence to perform within him, Kodak Black ascended the charts. Unfortunately, he was unable to separate his past mistakes from his future endeavours, and was recently arrested for several felony charges after live streaming incriminating evidence of himself.

At this point, it looks like young Octave has taken one too many losses. His talent amused millions of Americans, but his antics seem to have secured his fate in the justice system. Witnessing the environment that he was raised in first-hand forces me to believe that Kodak is a product of his hood. He’s neither slow nor stupid, he’s just a kid who lacks proper guidance and structure. Now do not mistake my judgment of his upbringing as an excuse to dismiss rape culture and ignorance. Kodak Black is a rapist, and that is inexcusable, to destroy the boundaries of personal safety and love. He will most likely spend enough years behind bars to derail his emerging rap career, or at least, hinder its momentum. On "Built My Legacy" Kodak raps,"I be beatin' all my charges." Only time will tell if those lyrics ring true.

A Timeline of Kodak Black's Troubles With The Law

October 2015

Octave’s history with the law stems back to his youth, where he spent time in juvenile detention. The system is no place for a developing child, and the walls around him became the first prison he would become acclimated to. Then in 2015, Octave was charged with false imprisonment of a child, robbery, battery, and possession of cannabis. The incident is responsible for Kodak’s original probation sentence. It happened within weeks of Drake posting himself dancing to Kodak’s single “Skrt,” which helped cement his deal with Atlantic Records.

December 2015

On Christmas Day, Octave was charged with possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana when he was pulled over in St. Lucie County, Florida. Kodak also caught a second charge for possessing drug paraphernalia. 

February 2016

While Kodak was on tour,  he performed at the Treasure Nightclub in South Carolina. After the show, a young woman, no doubt in awe from meeting the hip-hop star, joined the rapper in his hotel room. While in Kodak’s room, the young lady admits that she was assaulted, bitten, and raped while repeatedly asserting her non-compliance with Octave’s sexual advances. Kodak was able to avoid any consequences in South Carolina until he appeared in a Fort Lauderdale court to contest unrelated past charges months later.

April 2016 

Just a month later,  Kodak was pulled over after police suspected his car was involved in a drug deal. He was arrested and charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, fleeing from law enforcement, and possession of marijuana in Hallandale Beach Florida. 

May 2016

This time, in less than a month after his last arrest, Kodak was arrested and charged with armed robbery and false imprisonment. 

August 2016

While facing a judge for his charges in April and May, Kodak was offered a plea deal through the Fort Lauderdale courts. Outstanding warrants kept him from avoiding jail time though, and luckily Atlantic Records Executive VP Michael Kushner spoke on his behalf. The first warrant stemmed from the South Carolina rape, and the second was attached to his Christmas marijuana possessions charge from the year before. Kodak was sentenced to one year of house arrest and five years of probation for the original charges, and ordered to return for sentencing for the additional warrants. 

September 2016

Although he got off lucky with his other charges, Kodak later appeared in court for the Christmas marijuana possession charge and received four months in jail and a suspended drivers license. 

December 2016

After serving his time in Florida, Kodak was transported to South Carolina to face his rape charges. He was released on a $100,000 bond.

February 2016

Kodak violated probation once again after travelling freely while on house arrest without reporting to his probation officer. He was promptly arrested and thrown in a Broward County jail. In the same month, Kodak was accused of assaulting a female bartender after she denied his advances at Club Climaxx Strip Club in Miami, all while a grand jury in South Carolina indicted the rapper, forcing him to stand trial for his previous 2016 sexual assault. 

April 2017

Kodak spent most of the first half of 2017 in jail. He attended anger management classes, in which his therapist claimed that he was disruptive and physically intimidating. Kodak allegedly would not leave the class after being asked to, and when his counsellor threatened to call security, he grabbed her and took the phone. In the same month, Kodak was sentenced for his numerous probation violations. He escaped a year-long prison sentence yet again and was instructed to remain under house arrest.

May 2017

Kodak was sentenced for his house arrest violation and received a year in jail. The judge offered to reduce the sentence if the young rapper completed life skills courses.  He only served a month before being allowed to return home on house arrest.

January 2018

As if the grace of God did not bless this young man enough, Kodak decided to test fate yet again. Just this month, Kodak was arrested while live-streaming himself and his crew smoking marijuana and handling a firearm around a baby. After his home was searched, Florida parole officers found almost 100 grams of marijuana, a stolen 9mm Beretta, and a loaded Glock magazine in Kodak’s bedroom. He is now facing several felony charges including theft of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and child neglect.