Lyrics That Got Artists In A Lot Of Trouble

Good lyrics are oftentimes controversial ones, eschewing the typical song themes of love and heartbreak in favor of anger, politics, depression, murder, sex, and death. Usually, when a song ruffles feathers, the worst that happens to the band is they get angry letters, protested, or parents just refuse to buy the album for their children. Sometimes, musicians write lyrics that are so strong, so inflammatory, and so downright dangerous, they find themselves in some serious trouble.

Twain Gotti - "Ride Out"

In 2007, an unknown assailant gunned down two men from Newport News, Virginia, and nobody ever figured out who did it. Four years later, detectives discovered Newport News native Twain Gotti's "Ride Out," featuring lyrics like "Everybody saw when I f***ing choked him. But nobody saw when I f***ing smoked him, roped him, sharpened up the shank then I poked him, .357 Smith and Wesson big scoped him, roped him." That was somehow enough for the overzealous detectives to determine Gotti as a suspect. Eventually, they arrested him, basically on grounds of being fictionally braggadocious. Fortunate for Gotti, the judge disallowed his lyrics as evidence, which helped clear him of all murder charges. Prosecutors uncovered legitimate evidence of illegal weapon usage, earning him a 16-year-long prison sentence. Perhaps Gotti should've left the gun references out of his bars, or at least got rid of his illegal ones in real life.

Gebe - "Will Be Perished"

Gebe is a Tibetan musician known for his staunch opposition to the ruling Communist Party of China. Virtually all of his music is a sonic middle finger to the occupation, so the country's government just pretty much banned his discography. Not that this has stopped him from performing. In May 2014, Gebe took a Sichuan Province stage to sing "Will Be Perished," which contains (translated) lyrics like "The new generation of Tibetans. Knowing other languages is good. But we will be perished if we ignore our mother tongue." Maybe it's more incendiary in his native language, or maybe Chinese Communists are super-sensitive. Either way, shortly after exiting the stage, Gebe found himself being hauled to prison. China released him on bail a month later, proving the one thing Communists love more than control is sweet, sweet cash.

Tiny Doo - the entire No Safety album

In February 2014, gangsta rapper Tiny Doo released his album No Safety. That June, he was in prison, facing life imprisonment for a series of gang-related murders from 2013, despite Doo having no criminal record, no gang ties, and a prosecution that outright admitted he didn't pull the trigger (he has since been cleared of all charges). According to the prosecution, Doo had violated an obscure California law that charges anyone who "promotes, furthers, assists, or benefits" criminal gangs with conspiracy. In Doo's case, lyrics like "You can get a full clip my n*****, about to b****** / And make your top disappear like an illusionist," and "Ain't no safety on this pistol I'm holding" meant he benefited financially from the murders. That's like arresting Mandy Moore for promoting obesity because she wrote a song called "Candy."

Judas Priest - "Better By You, Better Than Me"

The lyrics of "Better By You, Better Than Me" alone didn't grind anybody's self-righteous gears—it's the song played backwards that got Judas Priest in trouble. It's mostly gibberish, as backwards songs are wont to be, but apparently there may or may not be a command of "DO IT" hidden somewhere in the tune. That supposed message almost destroyed the band, and nearly all of heavy metal in general.

In 1985, two men listened to the song and then shot themselves; one died, while another survived for three years before intentionally overdosing on painkillers. He lived long enough, however, to point the blame of his friend's death and his own struggles directly to his favorite band and genre, writing to his friend's mother that Judas Priest and other metal bands convinced them to do it based on their songs and lyrics. The two families sued the band for $6 million in 1990, claiming the Judas Priest's evil music tore their families asunder. Luckily for common sense, the judge eventually dismissed the case, concluding A) the backwards lyrics of "DO IT" probably didn't exist; and B) if it did, it wasn't responsible for two adults choosing to end their own lives. Besides, playing a song backwards is the dumbest thing you could possibly do, considering the alternative is to play an awesome song forwards.

Tyler, The Creator - multiple songs

Tyler, The Creator only has four albums, and managed to anger an entire country with literally half of them. In August 2015, Mr. The Creator canceled a string of concerts in the United Kingdom, claiming that he had been banned from the country for three to five years, due to the lyrical content of his albums. In particular, the UK zeroed in on the albums Bastard and Goblin, released in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Compared to how hopelessly tied up in bureaucratic red tape some things get, reacting to bad words and homophobic lyrics in albums years after launch is basically working at breakneck speed.

Don't think this was just Tyler conveniently weaseling out of performing concerts he didn't want to work, while simultaneously looking like a victim—the UK Home Secretary who informed Tyler of the ban admitted it all, albeit in a very politician-y way. The Creator wasn't welcome because he apparently didn't share appropriate values in his music. Tyler blames racism, and he's probably right, though his endless string of women-and-gay-bashing lyrics doesn't exactly inspire us to march by his side.

Pussy Riot - "Mother Of God, Drive Putin Out"

Simply by existing, Russian punk protest act Pussy Riot risks their collective necks every time they perform. Their February 2012 performance stands out, due to the sheer severity of their punishment. That's when the band decided to hit the Kremlin and perform their song "Mother Of God, Drive Putin Out," live from the Christ the Savior Cathedral. Thanks to (translated) lyrics like "The head of the KGB, their chief saint / Leads protesters to prison under escort / Don't upset His Saintship, ladies / Stick to making love and babies / Crap, crap, this godliness crap," two members of Pussy Riot found themselves arrested and convicted of "hooliganism," a punishment that earned each of them two years in prison. In addition, the Russian Orthodox Church condemned them as blasphemous, though we're sure that was kind of the point.

Despite an international outcry to release the band, Russia did not do so until 21 months later, which basically means they served their entire sentence. Pussy Riot proved they learned their lesson by suing the Russian government for violating the European Convention of Human Rights, which prohibits imprisonment and torture over acts of expression. This most likely means Pussy Riot be touring somewhere else in the future.