Leaf Ward, a prominent figure in Philadelphia’s underground drill music scene, has been arrested in King of Prussia. The 26-year-old rapper, whose real name is Khalif Ward, was apprehended by Upper Merion Township Police in a restaurant adjacent to the King of Prussia Mall.

The arrest has sent shockwaves through the music community and follows a series of similar incidents involving drill music artists.

According to law enforcement, Ward was taken into custody while operating a stolen Dodge Charger. He was found armed with an illegal Glock handgun equipped with an extended magazine. In addition, he was in possession of MDMA and various pills at the time of his arrest. Ward attempted to evade capture but was pursued by police and eventually apprehended after a foot chase.

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Ward initially provided police with a false identity, claiming to be Omar Washington. A search of the vehicle yielded incriminating evidence, including a plastic pill bottle labeled “Bumfeet” and a white plastic bag resembling MDMA.

The rapper was already facing numerous active arrest warrants, including one issued by the state Attorney General’s Office for felony weapons offenses. He now faces multiple charges, including illegally possessing a firearm due to a prior conviction, evading and resisting arrest, recklessly endangering another person, providing false identification to law enforcement, and several drug-related misdemeanors.

The arrest of Leaf Ward underscores the ongoing tensions between drill music’s popularity and its portrayal of street violence. Ward gained recognition through his music released under the moniker Leaf Ward, with his song “Risk Takers” amassing over a million streams on Spotify. However, the genre has faced criticism for its association with real-life violence and its potential to exacerbate the gun violence crisis affecting disadvantaged communities.

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Drill music, known for its bass-heavy beats and vivid storytelling of urban hardships, serves as a creative outlet for young artists to express the challenges of life in impoverished neighborhoods. Nevertheless, the genre’s connection to violent incidents has led to calls for greater accountability within the music community.