Rappers In Jail: 12 Hip-Hop Artists Currently Doing Time
It’s no surprise many rappers have ended up behind bars at some stage in their life. Growing up on the streets and often involved in gangs, it’s easy how their past lives on the street can merge with their newfound fame as successful artists and get them in a world of trouble. Then there are those who come from good homes but try and live up to the gangster lifestyle they portray in their music. Fame and fortune also brings more attention, especially from the police, which is another added burden for many artists. It’s no wonder there are so many rappers in jail these days.
The reason most rappers end up behind bars is due to drugs or illegal weapons possessions. Gucci Mane has time for drug possession, carrying a concealed weapon, and battery, to name several charges. Lil Wayne served time for drug and gun possession. JT of the City Girls was convicted of aggravated identity theft on fraudulent credit card charges and did 24 months. Bobby Shmurda did six years after having a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) case brought against him and several GS9 affiliates.
While these rappers have served their time and are now back in the real world, that’s not the case for all rappers. There are still many from the world of hip-hop stuck behind bars paying for the crimes they committed. While many deserve to be behind bars, there are some whose cases are less convincing, such as 03 Greedo, who got busted for drugs and weapons violations after police apparently “smelled marijuana” coming from his car.
Recently several high-profile names in the rap world have found themselves behind bars, so here’s a look at 12 notable rappers in jail.
Rappers In Jail: 12 Hip-Hop Artists Currently Doing Time
1. Young Thug
Young Thug (Jeffery Lamar Williams) is in a world of pain. The Atlanta rapper, who has been making music since 2008, was arrested in 2022 on gang-related charges. He and 27 other people involved with YSL Records have been charged in a 65-count RICO indictment. It appears Thugger isn’t just a thug in name, with the rapper believed to have run his record label like a criminal gang, selling drugs and running guns.
It was recently announced that Thug will be charged with eight different offenses from the RICO case. As Hypebeast reports, “among the eight charges Thug faces is a conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and two different counts of participation in criminal street gang activity. He’s also being charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of codeine with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine, possession of a firearm, and possession of a machine gun.”
While Young Thug’s attorney Brian Steel told ABC News, “Mr. Williams has committed no crime whatsoever,” it looks highly unlikely Thug will see the other side of a jail cell anytime soon.
Here is another rapper impacted by a RICO case. Casanova and 17 other people who are all members of the Bloods gang, Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation, are up on charges of racketeering, murder, narcotics, firearms, and fraud offenses. A warrant was issued for the Roc Nation signee’s arrest after he managed to avoid police on December 1, 2022, the day all the other members of the gang were picked up. He later turned himself in to the police the following day. He is currently facing a maximum of 60 years behind bars, with a minimum sentence of five years.
This isn’t the first time Casanova has been in trouble with the cops, with the “Set Trippin” rapper having served time at Rikers Island as an 18-year-old where his cellmate was none other than ASAP Rocky.
3. Dusty Locane
TikTok is the platform that helped New York rapper Dusty Locane get his name out there. His singles “Rollin n Controllin Freestyle” and “Rolando (Caught in the Rain)” got huge thanks to social media and turned Locane from a nobody into a somebody. Unfortunately, his newfound fame also brought more attention to Locane, who got picked up for criminal possession of a weapon stemming from 2019 and 2020 offenses.
Locane pleaded guilty to both charges and is serving a minimum of one year with a maximum of a three years sentence.
4. Max B
Max B had been grinding away for several years when he finally began to get noticed in 2008. His constant slew of mixtapes had got him signed to independent record label Amalgam Digital and his association with French Montana was helping raise his profile. Then it all went to shit when Max B was sentenced to 75 years in prison on conspiracy charges involving armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, and felony murder in 2009.
He still managed to release his debut album, the well-received Vigilante Season from behind bars in 2011, and in 2016, took a plea deal for aggravated manslaughter, meaning he is set for release in 2025.
5. 42 Dugg
A member of the 2021 XXL Freshman Class, 42 Dugg has had several run-ins with the law over the years. At age 27, he’s already spent six years behind bars for a carjacking and is doing a further six months in a federal prison camp after violating his parole.
Taking to life on the run, 42 Dugg was eventually arrested at Willow Run Airport after attending an NBA playoff game between the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors, which is as about as gangster as you can get.
As a result of fleeing police and several other charges leveled against him, there is a chance the Detroit rapper could find himself back behind bars for a maximum of five years.
6. YNW Melly
Born Jamell Maurice Demons, YNW Melly was poised to be one of the next breakout stars. He had considerable success with singles “Murder on My Mind”, “Mixed Personalities” with Kanye West, and “Suicidal” with Juice Wrld when he was suddenly arrested and charged with the double murder of his fellow YNW associates YNW Sakchaser and YNW Juvy.
While the reasons are unclear for the murders, YNW Melly and his friend YNW Bortlen attempted to stage the murders as a drive-by shooting, even taking the two rappers to the hospital after shooting them. Both Melly and Bortlen are also suspects in the shooting of Garry Chambliss, an Indian River County Sheriff who was murdered while off-duty.
Still awaiting trial, YNW Melly is not just facing life imprisonment, but the possibility of the death penalty, with a judge ruling against upholding a decision to take capital punishment off the table when it comes to sentencing.
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7. Bankroll Freddie
RICO cases are causing headaches for a lot of rappers, including Bankroll Freddie. The Quality Control rapper was arrested in November 2022 on a variety of charges, including conspiracy to distribute narcotics and weapons violations. He was one of 35 people associated with the Arkansas street gang, Every Body Killas. who got caught in several raids organized by the FBI.
Freddie is also facing charges from April of 2022 when he was pulled over for speeding and police found 21 pounds of weed, 171 grams of promethazine, and a firearm hidden in his car. While no trial date has been set and Freddie hasn’t submitted his plea, if found guilty he is looking at some serious time behind bars.
A stalwart of Master P’s No Limit empire, C-Murder found fame in the late 90s as both a member of TRU (The Real Untouchables) alongside his brothers Master P and Silkk the Shocker, and as a solo artist. He even had a platinum album with 1998s Life or Death. But C-Murder’s life came crashing down when he was arrested for the murder of 16-year-old Steve Thomas in 2002.
Found guilty by a jury and sentenced to life in prison in 2009, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the trial. Accusations of jury tampering and witnesses being forced to change their statements led to several appeals but C-Murder still remains behind bars. He professes his innocence and continues to fight for his freedom and have the murder charge appealed.
Just as he hit the big time with the single “The Race,” Tay-K found himself on the wrong end of the law. At the age of 19, he was found guilty of killing 21-year-old Ethan Walker in a botched home invasion. He was sentenced to 55 years in jail with a minimum time served of 27.5 years, meaning his earliest chance of seeing the real world again won’t be until he is 46. But that could be even longer after he was indicted for another murder, meaning Taky-K might never see the outside of the prison’s four walls again.
A founding member of the Hot Boys (made up of B.G., Lil Wayne, Juvenile, and Turk), New Orleans MC B.G. was living the high life in the 90s. He started his own label, Chopper City Records, and was doing well for himself until he was pulled over by police in 2009 during a routine traffic stop. Officers found three guns, two of which were stolen, and B.G. found himself awaiting trial for firearm offenses.
He was eventually sentenced in 2012 for gun possession and witness tampering, receiving a 14-year sentence.
11. 03 Greedo
While there is no doubting 03 Greedo’s guilt, he was found with four pounds of methamphetamine and two stolen pistols in his possession, the reasons for being stopped by policed and searched are a little suss. Officers say they smelt marijuana coming from his car, despite not finding any evidence of weed. The 300-year sentence he was initially charged with also seems overly excessive. It’s not like he murdered anyone.
At the end of the day, 03 Greedo understood he was in a no-win situation and took a plea deal and was sentenced to 20 years in jail. After being denied parole in 2020 and 2021, he is awaiting his next chance at parole.
12. R Kelly
When it comes to the biggest falls from grace, few match what has happened to R Kelly over the past few years. One of the biggest R&B artists in the world, stories surrounding Kelly’s unusual sex life have been doing the rounds since the 90s. This is the guy who married Aaliyah when she was just 15 (he was 27) and somehow avoided child pornography charges in 2002. But his luck thankfully ran out in 2019 when authorities moved on Kelly after re-examining evidence contained in the documentary Surviving R. Kelly.
It all came out at the trial that Kelly had been keeping a harem of women as sex slaves while indulging in nefarious behavior. He was found guilty of three child pornography charges and three charges of enticing a minor by a Chicago court in 2022 and sentenced to 30 years in jail. He continues to fight the charges but is most likely going to die in prison, where he belongs.
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