Wild downtown Toronto police chase involved popular rappers
Toronto rappers Casper TNG and K Money were arrested May 28 in the Regent Park area
Two of the men at the centre of a wild police chase in downtown Toronto last month are up-and-coming rapper siblings with a large and loyal following of fans.
Sharrieff Muhammad, 22, and his brother Kareemallah Muhammad, 18, were arrested along with two other men following the police pursuit in broad daylight on May 28.
It's alleged that at one point someone fired into a group of pedestrians on Parliament Street near Dundas. No one was injured.
Sharrieff Muhammad goes by the stage name Casper TNG, while his brother is known as K Money.
Their music is widely available on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.
Social media accounts for both rappers have tens of thousands of followers while several of their music videos have millions of views.
Many comments on their posts and videos now include the hashtags #freekmoney and #freecasper
Their most popular video, for the K Money song Come Outside, has been viewed nearly five million times on YouTube.
Social media videos appear to show the song being played on the public address system at Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs games.
Friday Ricky Dred, co-host of the popular We Love Hip Hop podcast, says there is "major buzz" surrounding Casper TNG and K Money.
"They were becoming household names in the city," he said in an interview. "People are engaged with them."
In January, Casper TNG and K Money appeared on the We Love Hip Hop. The episode quickly became one of the podcast's most-viewed and downloaded episodes.
Along with the social media success, the two rappers also performed for large crowds in clubs and were distributing demos to radio stations.
But Friday, as he's known, says that early level of success in rap music doesn't immediately pay off financially and some artists may be drawn to other sources of income to pay for studio time and music videos.
"It's like a race to get to that promised land where you're making money off your music and you don't have to deal with those circumstances any more," Friday said.
"Sometimes one catches up to the other."
Friday describes the pair's music as melodic and catchy "new age hip hop" that is hugely popular with younger music fans.
As for subject matter, their lyrics describe money, drugs and gunplay that's not uncommon in hip hop music.
They also reference coming from the Alexandra Park community near Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West.
In March, Kareemallah Muhammad was charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an alleged incident involving a 17 year-old fan of his.
In 2017, he was also charged with drug trafficking.
None of the allegations has been proven in court.
In 2016, Sharrieff Muhammad was sentenced to six months probation for failing to comply with the conditions of his release.
Trouble at former home
CBC Toronto has learned both lived for several years in a home near Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street East in Toronto.
The property was the scene of at least five shootings in recent years.
Bullet holes are still visible on the outside of the two-storey semi, as well as the front porches of the next door neighbours.
"Oh, it was scary," said Arinda Duarte, who lives next door.
"I'm here for long time and it was always a nice place. Hopefully now they went away and won't come back," she said.
On May 28, the Muhammad brothers were arrested along with Shakiem Anderson, 21, of Mississauga and Harlem Baldwin, 20, of Toronto.
They're facing 97 charges in total including criminal negligence and reckless discharge of a firearm.
Baldwin has been released on bail, while the other three remain in custody.
It's alleged Toronto Police approached the men while they were in a vehicle and attempting to disguise themselves in the Regent Park area.
The interaction led to one of the men allegedly firing a handgun towards "traffic and pedestrians", a police release said.
The men allegedly fled the area in vehicle, collided with police cruiser, a uniformed officer, two taxis, and at one point drove on the sidewalk and "narrowly missed pedestrians," police said.
All four are scheduled to appear in court this week.