21 Savage Imitator 22 Savage Was Charged With Murder Earlier This Year

22 Savage was hit with a murder charge in May

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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A rapper named 22 Savage went viral in late September due to his shameless biting of 21 Savage's look and rap style. As it turns out, the man behind 22 Savage, a Vine comedian named MacArthur Johnson, was arrested and charged with murder earlier this year. Clips of the news reports on his arrest have seen renewed interest on the internet since then, fooling many into thinking it happened recently.

According to a report from WAFB Baton Rouge, Johnson and two others were outside a supermarket in Baker, Louisiana on May 3 when they confronted a man named Richard Phillips, who was passing out party fliers in the parking lot. It's not clear exactly what they began arguing over, but it ended with Johnson reportedly shooting Phillips in the chest. Phillips later died of his injuries.

Johnson was arrested later that day, along with the vehicle's two other passengers, and was charged with second-degree murder, illegal use of a weapon, and obstruction of justice. "Johnson admitted to shooting the victim, claiming it was self defense, but his accounts did not match up with the video footage the police had of the shooting," said the WAFB report. According to the report, they had planned to claim that Phillips was armed, but one of the car's other passengers later recanted after police showed that surveillance footage did not reveal a weapon on him. Johnson's bond was set at $370,000. He's seen below in his mug shot.

22 Savage's mugshot

When contacted by Complex, a rep for the Criminal Records Department for Louisiana's 19th Judicial District noted that Johnson is currently out on bond, and that there hasn't been any update to the case since he was released.

Although the blatant nature of Johnson's rip-off of 21 Savage's style was widely circulated, details about his past have gone under-reported. Before adopting the 22 Savage persona, Johnson was a semi-successful comedian on Vine and YouTube. He hasn't expressed much remorse about stealing from an already-popular rapper, and in fact has been reveling in the attention it's brought him. "I just felt like jacking him," 22 Savage told SOHH in a recent interview. "I’m really a savage out here. I’m really in the slums. What people don’t understand is that underneath this funny, it’s really real. We’re in the streets. I’m a street nigga trying to make it out anyway I can."

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