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When a video surfaced of Keith Murray ranting about fighting Tupac Shakur in the House of Blues I breathed a sigh of relief. I’m not condoning Murray’s  violence, I just think that anyone whose led the kind of life Murray has  should be allowed to vent every once in a while. It’s for all of our sakes. Trust me.

In 2003 I interviewed Keith Murray for The Source magazine when he was promoting his Def Jam debut He’s Keith Murray. It was one of his first interviews after serving three years for an assault conviction in Connecticut. In our conversation he revealed some pretty heart-breaking facts about his life that lead me to believe that Keith was just “working it out” that night on the street and the cameras just happened to be rolling.

We very easily could have been watching a video of Keith actually fighting someone, or worse, so here are 5 reasons I don’t think we should judge him.

1.Dear Momma

Murray’s appetite for destruction is in his DNA. His late mother Darlene used to steal clothing to fund her drug habit. She contracted HIV from intravenous drug use and when the family home burned down in 1992, the soot from the debris wreaked havoc on her weakened immune system and killed her. His aunt was murdered in Central Park three years before this.

2.Father Disfigures

His father, a former X-Ray technician, was a heavy drinker and died of cirrhosis before Keith’s freshman year of high school. His stepfather, a Jamaican-born drug dealer kept him in the criminal life style.

3. Sisterly Love

His youngest sister Christina contracted HIV from their mother and died at 15 on Feb 27, 1998. Murray went to Prison 6 months later. He wrote a song dedicated to her on his album, He’s Keith Murray.

4. Self Defense

Keith caught his first bid a week before Senior year finals. “My moms was coming from the store and this dude that bought drugs from us kept approaching her. I got up on him and I cut him from his ear to his neck. I did six months with five years of probation. I served the six in a dorm in Riverhead.”

5. Innocence Lost

Murray was convicted in 1997 and sentenced to five years in prison for assault in a CT night club. After serving three years he still maintained his innocence. “They found me guilty, naturally, because of my history. Once you go to trial, they bring up your past. I’m your No. 1 candidate to split a nigga wig but I ain’t do it.”

Murray attended court-mandated anger management classes, but that didn’t stop him from assaulting a Def Jam staffer later on.  So let’s just be grateful he is just reminiscing on his fights instead of actually fighting folks now.

“My psychiatrist diagnosed me with post-childhood trauma and selective memory. All the things I’ve been through have traumatized me. It’s a miracle I’ve made it where I am without recognizing my issues.”

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