Music, Prayer, Lil' Kim Letters Got Cassidy Through Jail Time

Rapper says he grew up a lot during five-month murder trial.

While Cassidy was sitting behind bars for five months, awaiting the outcome of his murder trial, the Philadelphia rapper said he passed the time by listening to the radio, praying and writing letters to another rap star serving jail time, Lil' Kim.

"Trials are crazy, especially in Philadelphia," Cassidy said recently in New York, talking to MTV News for the first time since being released from jail last month. "The way they try to prosecute you, it's just crazy. Anybody can come and give a statement, and they'll just lock you up. The system is kinda crazy. [The trial] was one of the worst situations I've been through, sitting in the jail, knowing that I should be out in the street. It could go one way and you can be home again, or you could be gone forever. It was hard to go though it. But through my faith in God, I was able to go through it and come out a lot better than people thought."

Cassidy said the level of maturity he reached during several months in prison probably would have taken him several years out in the streets. He says he's learned patience and appreciates spending time with his family more.

"I learned a lot in going through this experience," he said. "Now that it's all over, I'm happy. I can benefit from the situation, getting closer to God, my real friends, people I work with, understanding how everything is supposed to move, not taking everything for granted. When you lose things you take for granted, you realize how important they are. Like, a bottle of spring water is something you can't get access to in jail."

Last June, Cassidy went to jail while awaiting trial for first-degree murder charges in connection with the April 15 killing of 22-year-old Desmond Hawkins (see "Cassidy Turns Himself In On Murder, Weapons Charges"). He was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter (see "Cassidy Convicted Of Involuntary Manslaughter — Will Be Eligible For Parole Soon"). Cassidy said he doesn't want to talk about the events that led to Hawkins' slaying.

"I could explain it, but I'm not really interested in explaining it right now," he said. "I'm not proud of the situation. Somebody lost their life. When I think about the situation, I think about the shoe on the other foot. If I was the family of the person who got shot, I wouldn't want somebody on TV [talking about the killing]. I'm trying to leave that where it's at."

While in jail, Cass said he came up with countless ideas for his new album (see "Cassidy Says He's Eager To Get Out And Start Recording Again"), but he couldn't format any songs because he didn't have any beats to write rhymes to. Now back out on the street, he plans to record soon.

"I've been waiting for so long to go back to the studio. There's so many thoughts roaming through my head," he said. "It shouldn't take me that long to finish the third album. I'm looking forward to having a single by the summer."