Chi-Ali speaks about prison release and a new chance at life

Posted Oct 12, 2012 by Layne Weiss
Rapper Chi-Ali, the youngest member of the Native Tongues, was only 14 when he released his only album, "The Fabulous Chi-Ali" in 1992. In 2001, he was arrested for the murder of his then-girlfriend's brother and was released in August of this year.
Now, 36, the rapper is out of prison and plans to focus on recording new music and rebuilding his relationship with his 14 year old daughter Sky.
Chi-Ali appeared on MTV's RapFix Live Wednesday with a very important message to get off his chest.
"I took a life and you can't take that back, so that's probably the worst thing one can do," he said. "I want to send my condolences to the family, and no matter what I say, I'm never glorifying that. I want everyone to get that straight."
The rapper was referring to the 2000 murder of his then-girlfriend's brother, Sean Raymond. After a year on the run, he was arrested for the murder in 2001. At the time, he had been charged with second degree murder, illegal firearm use, assault, reckless endangerment, and criminal possession of a weapon.
During his 15 months on the run, Chi even appeared on the show America's Most Wanted, twice, once when police were searching for him, and then when he was finally captured.
He was remanded without bail and served out 12 years of a 14 year prison sentence.
Chi-Ali is happy to finally be free, but he wil never forget the terrible mistake he made and damage he caused. "It feels surreal to be home. I'm truly blessed," he said on RapFix. "You know, I committed a crime that I wish I could go back in time and undo. However, I can't, and you have to live with your mistakes and learn."
Since his release from prison, Chi has been back in the studio recording with the likes of his long-time friend rapper, Fat Joe, and his new friend, rapper Skyzoo, who has spoken before on the influence Chi has had on his career.
Last week, Skyzoo and Chi-Ali released the remix for the song "Jansport Strings." The original version of the 9th Wonder produced track was released earlier this fall, but Sky really wanted to give the legendary rapper a chance to take part in the song. Chi's verse on "Jansport Strings" was the first he has recorded since being released from prison.
The rapper was released only two days before Violator CEO Chris Lighty committed suicide. He was utterly devastated and shocked by the news, especially since he considered Chris a friend and mentor, and wished he could have had a chance to see him, but it all happened so suddenly. He never got the chance.
Chi-Ali will always remember Chris as the guy who got him into the rap game. He also credits the Hip-Hop mogul with putting The Native Tongues together, he revealed on another visit to RapFix.
Another major thing for Chi to try and get right is his relationship with his daughter Sky. She was only a toddler when her father was sent to prison. He brought her out on Wednesday's show, and in front of the entire audience he said how terrible he felt for not being there for her for some very important moments in her life.
"If I could've been there, I would've been there, but I'm here now, " he told his 14 year old daughter. "So we don't have to look at the past. We're gonna build for the future."