Rappers With Big Criminal Records

Rap is one of the most prominent musical genres around, and as Encyclopedia Britannica notes, the 1980s saw the birth of gangsta rap. The genre's popularity heralded the arrival of a new style of MC's, who often rapped about criminal activities. Though the line between reality and boastful dramatization in the lyrics could get pretty blurred, many of the rappers were well-acquainted with the world they were rapping about. Over the years, real-life crimes and tragedies involving well-known rappers have been known to happen — the murders of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. are perhaps the most famous of them all. At the other end of the tragedy spectrum, some of the most successful rappers have become massively rich. Still, even the ones who have made it to the very top have sometimes butted heads with the law, often more than once. 

The term "rap sheet," per Illinois Legal Aid, stands for an individual's "Record of Arrests and Prosecutions." However, for some rap artists, it might as well be an allusion to their profession. Let's take a look at rappers who have bigger criminal records than you might have realized. 

Gucci Mane

As DJ Booth tells us, Billboard charts mainstay Gucci Mane has a lengthy criminal record, starting from a first-degree murder charge in 2005. The rapper fatally shot one of the men who reportedly targeted him for robbery, but he pleaded self-defense, and the charge was ultimately dropped due to lack of evidence. As he wrote in his 2017 book, "The Autobiography of Gucci Mane" (via The New Yorker), he wasn't particularly thrilled about the whole thing — especially when the murder charge was used to introduce him to new people. 

Even so, the rapper's years between 2005 and 2013 continued to feature a laundry list of arrests. Also in 2005, he was arrested for beating a promoter with a pool stick, receiving a six-month prison sentence and a six-and-a-half-year probation. In the coming years, he violated and risked violating said probation more than once. Years of various charges on assault, battery, reckless conduct, disorderly conduct, drug and firearm possession, and assorted driving-themed misdeeds followed — as did stints in jail. 

In 2013, Gucci Mane was charged for two separate counts of "possessing a firearm as a felon," and after a plea deal in 2014, spent roughly two years in prison. In a 2020 interview with Malcolm Gladwell (via Essence), the rapper reflected on his criminal activities and said that his time in prison was ultimately a blessing in disguise. "I was outta control," he said. "I wouldn't want to do it over, but in hindsight it helped me."

50 Cent

As the BBC tells us, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson was shot nine times in 2000 — just three years before the release of his smash hit debut album, the aptly named "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'." The rapper hasn't always been on the receiving end of crimes, though. Per Biography, he was a drug dealer before he became a well-known rapper. He worked in this capacity from age 12 to age 19, when an undercover cop busted him in the act of selling. According to The Smoking Gun, young Jackson's second arrest in 1994 came mere weeks later, when the police turned up at his door with a search warrant and discovered a starter gun and a stash of drugs. He faced up to nine years in prison, which was ultimately turned into a seven-month stint at a youth boot camp. 

Even after becoming famous, 50 Cent hasn't always followed the straight and narrow path. According to MTV News, in 2002, he was arrested in New York after a search of an illegally-parked SUV led to the discovery of two loaded guns. (Although this doesn't appear to have gone anywhere.) However, things were more serious after a 2004 incident, in which he allegedly attempted to attack a member of the crowd who'd hit him with a bottle, and ended up injuring three women (via MTV News). He cut a plea deal with two years of probationary period, which required him to stay drug-free and attend anger management counseling, among other conditions.


Earl Simmons, aka DMX, died on April 9, 2021, per the BBC. The intense rap legend wasn't afraid to use the grittier aspects of life in his art, and he knew first-hand what he was rapping about. The artist didn't exactly try to hide his multiple struggles with the law. As GQ notes, he was jailed an estimated 30 times over the years, and felt that it only got harder over time. "There's so much more to life. Before I really had a life, jail was a playground," DMX said in 2019. "I'd be like, 'I'm going to jail and have fun.' You know what I'm saying? People were sneaking weed in. I was sneaking into different cellblocks and battling rappers and s***." 

DMX's criminal record features a wide array of things, from driving offences to possession of guns and illegal substances to tax evasion. As Mercury News notes, he attributed much of his problematic personal life to his long-standing addiction issues. The rapper has stated that his longtime addiction to crack cocaine began when he unwittingly smoked a marijuana joint containing the drug when he was just 14 years old. Cocaine was ultimately a factor in the heart attack that caused his death in 2021 (per Vulture), and before that, he'd already had a near-fatal overdose in 2016. 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Snoop Dogg

These days, Snoop Dogg is basically hip-hop's coolest cool uncle, thanks to his laid-back style and things like his long-running friendship with Martha Stewart. However, for much of his life, he's clashed with the law more or less consistently. Per The Age, the rapper — whose real name is Cordozar Calvin Broadus Junior — used to sell drugs and run with the infamous Crips gang, which led him to all sorts of trouble. In 1990, he was convicted of possessing and selling cocaine. From 1993 to 1996, he fought a gang-related murder charge, of which he was eventually acquitted (per the Los Angeles Times). Over the following decade, he was arrested numerous times, usually for possession of illegal substances or firearms. In 2007, he pleaded guilty to possession of a dangerous weapon and was sentenced to three years of probation, according to NY Daily News.

Interestingly, some of Snoop's strangest shady activities are self-admitted. In a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, he casually stated that in 2003, he acted as a procurer for sex workers, just to see what that life was all about. For the record, though, he claimed that he never took any money from the women working with him. "It was never about the money; it was about the fascination of being a pimp ... As a kid I dreamed of being a pimp, I dreamed of having cars and clothes and b****** to match. I said, 'F*** it –- I'm finna do it.'"


Daniel Hernandez, aka Tekashi 6ix9ine or some variation thereof, was first arrested when he was still underage, and got five days of community service for trying to sell drugs (per Mercury News). Before he reached adulthood, he also received a four-year probation for "the use of a child under 17 in a sexual performance." In 2018, he was arrested for allegedly choking a teenager (via Pitchfork). 

6ix9ine started associating with a gang known as Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods in late 2017, and was involved in things ranging from drug trade to a shooting attack against a rival rapper. Per the BBC, in 2019 he faced charges for illegal firearms, assault, racketeering, and conspiracy to murder, but entered a plea deal. After testifying against the gang and providing information, he got away with a two-year sentence, as opposed to the 47 or more years he might've been facing. As part of this agreement, 6ix9ine also admitted to domestic violence between 2011 and 2018 (per Complex). Presumably, the victim was his former girlfriend, Sara Molina, who has spoken to Daily Beast of the rapper's violence.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Vanilla Ice

Robert "Vanilla Ice" Van Winkle might not be the most obvious inclusion on a list of rappers with legitimate legal troubles ... unless you count his copyright infringement legal battle over "Ice Ice Baby," and its similarities with the Queen and David Bowie tune, "Under Pressure" (via The Washington Post). However, he's actually been in trouble with the law a surprising number of times. 

Per The Sun, Ice was arrested in 1988 for illegal drag racing. However, this was far from his most serious charge. According to the Daily News, in 1991 he was sentenced to two years of probation and a $1,782 fine — among other conditions — due to a gun charge involving a "parking lot confrontation" with a homeless person. In 2001, 2008, and 2011, he was arrested for assaulting his wife (per Kiss Richmond). The latter two cases led to nothing, but he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in the 2001 case, which led to another probation and court-mandated therapy. 

In 2015, per NBC, Ice was renovating a house, and allegedly broke into the neighboring house and stole a number of items. He was arrested and jailed, but maintained that the whole thing was "a misunderstanding." He ultimately accepted a plea deal for 100 hours of community service.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Rick Ross

With songs like "Rich is Gangsta" in his musical array, Rick Ross has never been afraid to associate his public image with either the grim criminal aspects or the potential lucrative profits of the gangsta rap image (per Allmusic). Likely because of this image, he caught some flak in 2009 when pictures of his past as a correctional officer surfaced (via MTV News). However, as Billboard notes, the rapper has also been on the other side of the law on several occasions. He has been arrested and charged for marijuana possession multiple times, and once for handgun possession. He has also been sued for assault and battery — by a man who claimed Ross had arranged the attack because he'd asked about his prison guard past, no less. 

Ross' worst run-in with the law so far happened in 2015, when he and his bodyguard were arrested for allegedly kidnapping a man and assaulting him (per Billboard). According to CBS News, the multiple charges the rapper faced stemmed from an incident where he threatened two groundskeepers of his mansion with a gun, forcing them into a guest house on the premises and beating one of them with said gun. However, Ross was able to get a plea deal that allowed him to get away with a five-year probation.  

Insane Clown Posse

As this article shows, many rappers have butted heads with the law, but one rap duo actually created a criminal gang — albeit unwillingly. Horrorcore hip-hoppers Insane Clown Posse have their own FBI file, and as Rolling Stone reminds us, the bureau has gone as far as classifying the duo's loyal army of fans — known as the Juggalos — as a criminal gang. Insane Clown Posse actually went to court to overturn this, but since the designation was informal, they lost.  

Even without the distinction of being the figureheads of a federally designated gang, the duo of Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J have had their share of legal troubles. In 1989, the latter spent three months in jail for "death threats, robbery, and violating probation" (via The Guardian), and in 1997, he was arrested for aggravated battery after allegedly beating up a member of the audience with a microphone (via MTV News). In 1998, Rolling Stone reported that the pair was in hot water for disorderly conduct, which they admitted to for the grand fine of $200 per rapper. In 2002, Violent J scored himself another 12-month probation for assaulting a radio DJ (via MTV News). 

There's also a less violent avenue that has landed Insane Clown Posse in numerous legal troubles. Per The Detroit News, the IRS has been on their case over unpaid taxes more than once, at one point even noting that Shaggy 2 Dope might be imprisoned if he fails to comply.   

Big Lurch

Fair warning, reader: We're about to visit some pretty dark places. Antron "Big Lurch" Singleton might not be the most famous name on this list, or even one with the longest criminal record, but as iHeartRadio tells us, he's by far the person with the most disturbing rap sheet by a considerable margin. 

Big Lurch was an aspiring horrorcore rapper whose rhymes about horror movie monsters gained extra credence from his towering, 6'7" frame.  On April 19, 2002, his name was written in the annals of history, though not in the way anyone involved would have preferred. He killed one of his roommates with a knife, and cannibalized parts of her body. He was later found outside — bloody, completely nude, and staring at the sky. When he eventually came to, he had absolutely no memories of the event. 

To cope with the lingering pain from a neck injury he got in a car accident, Big Lurch had been using PCP, but started getting more and more delusional and erratic over time. Reportedly, these delusions caused him to believe that his roommate had a demon inside her, with catastrophic results. The rapper received two life sentences in prison. 


A look at Jeezy's Billboard history reveals he's had many hits under both his current moniker and his old one, Young Jeezy. He's worked with some of the biggest names in the game, from Drake to Jay-Z. However, his lengthy arrest record is somewhat less flattering. 

The rapper's first documented arrest came in 2006, when he was charged for an illegal concealed weapon in the aftermath of a shootout (per Associated Press). The charges were dropped a few months later, due to lack of evidence. Per MTV News, Jeezy's next arrest came in 2008, when he was handed multiple driving-themed charges, ranging from reckless driving to driving under the influence. In 2010, he was briefly arrested for undisclosed reasons before a concert in the Bahamas (via HiphopDX). In late 2012, an alleged fight with his son got pretty violent, according to CNN. After reportedly beating up his son and threatening to shoot him, Jeezy was arrested and charged with "battery, terroristic threats, and false imprisonment," though the case doesn't appear to have gone anywhere. 

The most recent entry in Jeezy's apparent biannual trend of getting arrested came in 2014, when he and members of his entourage were arrested after a search of his tour bus turned up an assault rifle of uncertain origin, per Rolling Stone. However, the authorities later discovered that the rifle was registered to Jeezy's head of security, who wasn't in the bus because he had recently been injured in a shooting against Suge Knight.