G. Dep, Clemency

Harlem Shake Rapper G. Dep Granted Clemency By New York Governor

G. Dep, the rapper who helped bring the Harlem Shake dance to prominence, has been granted clemency by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul after serving 13 years for confessing to a 1993 cold case murder.

Popular rapper G. Dep, whose real name is Travell Coleman, has been in jail for more than a decade after walking into a police department in New York City and admitting to a murder. Now, he has been granted clemency by the Gov. Kathy Hochul.

According to the Associated Press, G. Dep is one of 16 incarcerated people who have been granted clemency by Hochul, her third time doing so in 2023. Hochul has stated that those granted this status are part of a select few who have made substantial efforts to make amends in society for their misdeeds.

“Through the clemency process, it is my solemn responsibility as governor to recognize the efforts individuals have made to improve their lives and show that redemption is possible,” says the government leader.

The hip-hop artist has made many strides in his years-long stint in prison, earning his associate’s degree and aiding in violence prevention classes and counseling programs for his fellow inmates. G. Dep has served 13 of his 15 years-to-life sentence and is now eligible to seek parole ahead of time, initially set for 2025.

His application for clemency was also supported by the prosecutor involved and the judge proceeding over his case for the 1993 murder of John Henkel. Henkel was killed by the now 49-year-old, who fatally shot him with three bullets while committing a robbery in East Harlem. However, the brother of the man killed has called the granting of clemency for G. Dep a “farce,” urging the prosecutor to reject his early release.

G. Dep gained fame and popularity for the notable “Harlem Shake” dance as well as hit songs “Special Delivery” and “Let’s Get It.” Originally part of Sean “Diddy” Combs’s Bad Boy Records label, his career waned following his debut album in 2001. After gravitating to petty crime and drug dealing, the weight of his conscience led to his confession in 2010.

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