NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans-based rapper has filed suit against Soulja Boy, claiming the rival rapper made death threats against him in a video that has surfaced on social media.
Skrill Dilly is alleging that the video, in which Soulja Boy pointed a gun at the camera reciting an expletive-laced verse directed at Dilly, has caused him to fear for his life. At the center of the dispute between Dilly and Soulja Boy is the alleged romantic involvement of Dilly and Nia Riley, Soulja Boy’s former girlfriend.
Dilly claims that Soulja Boy placed a $10,000 bounty on his head and he wants Soulja Boy to cover the cost of his medical expenses. The alleged incident occurred in August with a video of Soulja Boy on the social media site Instagram threatening Dilly and claiming that he would send shooters to his home if he didn’t stay away from Riley. Due to the bounty, Dilly is purportedly unable to see his daughter because the child’s mother wants to keep her child safe from possible danger.
“Based on the nature of the allegations made by Skrill Dilly, he could be entitled to damages based on intentional infliction of emotion distress or assault to name a few," Peter Russell, a legal commentator and an attorney with Gretna-based McBride and Russell LLC, said. "It would just depend on what facts Skrill Dilly have in his favor, and with the limited information we have at this time its hard to say. For instance, Skrill Dilly may be entitled to file a temporary restraining order if he feels that his life, or the life of his family is in immediate danger from Soulja Boy. But once again, this would depend on whether the facts of the case support this course of action.”
Russell said the evidence provided by Skrill Dilly will be the key to any potential legal outcome.
"The issue with these types of claims, where they are made based in part from online and video publicly made threats is causation," Russell told the Louisiana Record. "His attorneys are going to have to prove that these threats carried real weight, and that a person in the same circumstance would have had the same emotional reaction to Soulja Boy’s threats. For instance, if this was a threat made by a 'Joe Nobody' from across the country would it carry the same weight as Tony Soprano making the same threats. I think that most jurors would find a threat from Tony Soprano to be more credible than a 'Joe Nobody,' and thus warrant the damages that an affected party had as a result from those threats. I am in no way comparing anyone to fictional character Tony Soprano, just using him as an example."
Russell also pointed out what it means to be famous these days as a potential problem in such cases.
“Alternatively, the defense is going to argue that these are two public individuals, who use song to convey acts of violence to sell their albums," Russell said. "A defense attorney may argue that Soulja Boy’s threat is part and parcel to a rapper’s brand and those threats he made were all part of maintaining a rapper’s publicity and brand to his style of song with no intent to carry out such threats or cause emotional harm.”
Distinguishing the difference between what is a real danger and what could perceived as an attempt at publicity could sway those involved in the adjudication of any legal action.
"In order to stay relevant, what are you going to do to stay relevant?" Russell said. "Conflict is their brand. I am in no way discrediting the claims that Skrill Dilly is alleging, however, this is something that his attorneys will likely have to overcome in the mind of a judge or jury as this case moves forward.”
This is also not the first time that Soulja Boy has had a problem with other individuals in the music industry.
Soulja Boy and another rapper named Lil Yachty are trading insults currently via social media, yet no legal action has transpired between the two. Soulja Boy is also having online troubles with music producer Southside of 808 about his troubles with Lil Yachty and so far, no legal action has occurred between those two rappers either.
Russell said Soulja Boy's problems with rapper Lil Yachty should not have much of an impact on his lawsuit with Skrill Dilly.
“I don’t’ think that Soulja Boy’s conflict with Lil Yachty will impact him negatively in Skrill Dilly’s current law suit,"Russell said. "The issue at trial is whether Soulja’s Boys conflict with other rappers is relevant to the matter at hand, and then how do you get it into trial for proof of damages and causation. In the end, I think it will just be a credibility issue for Soulja Boy of whether he made those remarks with the intent to cause intentional infliction of emotional distress or a tort based assault.”
Editor's Note: This story has been updated since its original publication