Texan gangsta rapper Big Lurch’s story was tabloid gold in 2002: a gory, PCP-fueled murder of his young female roommate—with the unexpected twist of cannibalism.
He was found standing in the middle of a Los Angeles street, naked and disoriented, wacked out on angel-dust, covered in (her) blood with human flesh found in his stomach that obviously wasn’t his. Big Lurch’s 21-year-old roommate Tynisha Ysais was found murdered and butchered in their shared apartment, with tooth marks on her face and organs, particularly her partially consumed lungs.
Big Lurch pled not guilty by reason of insanity, but following a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation he was declared to be of sound mind despite his PCP use. He was found guilty in 2003 and is currently serving a life sentence. Prior to the murder he was a member of Cosmic Slop Shop and also worked with Mystikal, C-Bo, RBL Posse, Mac Dre, Too Short and Lil’ Keke, among others. His only solo album, It’s All Bad, was released in 2004 on Black Market Records after his conviction.
Tynisha Ysais’ mother sued Black Market Records and Big Lurch for wrongful death, claiming that the record company deliberately gave him drugs in order to encourage the kind of violent criminal behavior that would enhance his rep as a gangsta rapper. This would in turn improve his career and sales. The lawsuit accused Black Market of providing drugs “to encourage [him] to act out in an extreme violent manner so as to make him more marketable as a ‘gangsta rap’ artist.”
If that were indeed part of a grand plan to make his image thuggier, things clearly went awry quickly. Dabbling in cannibalism is (usually, not always) never considered a good career move.
There is a campaign to free him, and believe it or not, it’s not even a 4Chan troll. It is an actual campaign. You can donate to the cause via PayPal, buy “Free Big Lurch” T-shirts, or send Big Lurch (real name Antron Singleton) some mail and gifts in prison.
You see, there was evidence of other DNA at the crime scene that didn’t belong to Big Lurch or Ysais. Okay, yeah, he ate parts of her, but his supporters claim that someone else murdered her and he should be freed. You know, because “Hip-hop ain’t dead…he’s in prison.” The “circumstantial evidence” is discussed in the 2011 documentary Rhyme and Punishment, which is devoted entirely to rappers who have been addicted to PCP and incarcerated.
Weird that the only person I personally knew who smoked angel dust did things under the influence like write about beauty products, how to achieve the perfect “smoky eye,” and what makeup to use in order to look fabulous after staying up partying for two nights straight.
Interview with Big Lurch, below: