[Editor’s Note: With the new year around the corner, XXLmag.com looks back at some of our greatest stories and video features of 2008.]

While a group of artists are making comments and tracks regarding the Sean Bell verdict, only a handful of rappers went on record regarding the tragedy at the time. Papoose’s “Change Gon Come (50 Shots)” was a passionate plea immediately following the shooting and he’s followed the ordeal ever since. The Brooklyn rapper said he was beside himself when the judge announced his decision last Friday.

“I was furious when I heard about the verdict,” the rapper told XXLmag.com “Because it goes all the way back to Emmitt Till who was murdered in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman; the police walked into the courtroom laughing and they walked out of the courtroom laughing. It’s the same thing they did in the Sean Bell case.”

Pap said once the trio of police waived their right to trial by jury he suspected an unpopular decision would be made. “It was suppose to be in the hands of the [jury],” he explained. “And they took it out of the hands of the people and they put it into the hands of somebody who has the same mentality as the people who pulled the trigger.” Papoose said he’s happy other artists are now speaking up with tribute songs. He said they all deserve pats on their back; “It’s never too late to speak up,” he said.

The rapper also commented on a recent New York Daily News report that the Bed-Stuy Volunteer Ambulance Corp. is filing a suit against him for allegedly misleading the company about the nature of his video for “Ambulance.” “In no way, shape, or form was the video directed toward any rapper, “ Pap said. “The video was intended to show that the volunteer ambulance company actually responds to save lives faster than the police or city ambulance does. Instead of focusing on videos, [Daily News writer] Veronika Belenkaya should focus on more serious topics like innocent black men being killed by the police.” -Rodriguo Lopez