These rappers are currently behind bars.
While the history of rap is long and complex, the stereotype of the genre is clear: rap stemmed from politically troubled or economically downtrodden areas and, often, it is made by people who used the music to speak to the issues of injustice, crime, and violence in their neighborhoods. While this is not wholly true of the form itself — rapping can be traced all the way back to centuries old West African traditions — the conventions of the genre as we know them today came out of underprivileged areas whose residents were being systematically forgotten by the rest of the population. For that reason, the music speaks to many who find themselves in similar situations and many of rap’s biggest players decided to use their own rhymes to speak to the same issues. Unfortunately for many of these acts, it’s hard to leave behind the world they grew up in, especially when their careers are built on maintaining that image.
The list of rappers who are currently behind bars for various offenses is long, but we’ve pulled out a few who are serving time for everything ranging from drug charges to murder.
Keep reading to find out which rappers are locked up.
Late 2017 Meek Mill was sentenced to two-to-four years in prison for repeatedly violating his probation. The lengthy sentence sparked outrage, as many felt the judge was being too harsh on the Philly rapper.
Rapper Jay-Z, along with several other celebrities, infamously spoke out against the sentence, using his concerts as a platform to talk about Meek’s situation. “He caught a charge when he was, like, 19. He’s 30 now; he’s been on probation for 11 years. F**king 11 years,” Jay said during a performance in Dallas. “Judge gave him two-to-four years because he got arrested for being on a bike and popping a f**king wheelie.”
The waviest rapper of all time was sentenced to 75 years in prison in 2009 after being found guilty of a murder charge. That didn’t stop him from appearing on Kanye West’s last album, though. No idea how that happened.
The Wu-Tang affiliated rapper went to prison in 2014 on manslaughter charges related to a hit-and-run.