Rapper Kidd Creole has gone on trial in New York, accused of murdering a homeless man he thought was making a pass at him.
The 62-year-old, whose real name is Nathaniel Glover, allegedly stabbed John Jolly twice in the chest with a steak knife shortly before midnight on 1 August 2017.
He was angry, prosecutors say, because he thought Mr Jolly was gay and was hitting on him.
But Glover, a founding member of rap band Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, was acting in self-defence, according to his lawyer.
The rapper was allegedly walking to his maintenance job in Manhattan when Mr Jolly approached him and said: “What’s up?”
The singer’s lawyer, Scottie Celestin, asked jurors to consider the circumstances.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is New York City. It’s 12 o’clock at night. Who’s saying ‘What’s up?’ to you with good intentions?” he said.
“His [Glover’s] fear for his life was reasonable.”
Mr Celestin also said Mr Jolly died from a dose of the sedative benzodiazepine that was given to him at a hospital, not the stab wounds.
But assistant district attorney Mark Dahl told the court that Glover confessed to police and did not stab Mr Jolly in self-defence, but rather in anger because he thought Mr Jolly was hitting on him.
“The defendant confessed to pulling out a kitchen knife and repeatedly thrusting it into the body of a stranger on the street, killing him,” Mr Dahl said.
“Was there anything that would prevent him from simply running away from Mr Jolly? No.”
Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five formed in the late 1970s in the Bronx and had a number of hits in the early 1980s, including The Message and White Lines (Don’t Do It).
They became the first rap act to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
The trial resumes Monday.