Rappers Who Are Currently In Prison

Ever since the advent of gangsta rap in the late '80s, there has been a certain subset of rappers who enjoy, shall we say, infusing their art with elements of criminality. That is to say that in the last several decades, a lot of rap music has gotten progressively more thugged out — though it has long been mostly understood that, while many of these artists do have criminal pasts, their crime-ing days are now behind them, and they are presently respectable members of the Hip-Hop community. Many of these artists go so far as to explicitly condemn the criminal lifestyle (the godfather of gangsta rap, superstar Ice-T, comes to mind) — but in recent years, a disturbing and diametrically opposing trend has emerged.

An unfortunate number of rappers now seem to be walking the talk — continuing to engage in the criminal activity they rap about, even as their musical fortunes rise. Many have even had meteoric rises cut short by lengthy prison sentences — and some of these have committed crimes serious enough that they are unlikely to ever get out of prison. It turns out that sales, accolades, hit songs, and millions of fans do not provide insulation from prosecution — a lesson learned the hard way by these artists, all of whom are sitting in the big house right now.


Taymor McIntyre, also known as Tay-K, had an enviable start to his musical career. By 15, his self-produced tunes were gaining popularity on the internet; he quickly became well-known for his solo work and as a member of the Daytona Boyz collective. By 17, he had a single, "The Race," flying up the Billboard chart, eventually peaking at No. 44 — but that single was written and recorded while he was actively on the run from the law, and for a crime which would eventually send him to prison for a very long time.

At 16, McIntyre took part in a home invasion robbery during which 21-year-old Ethan Walker was shot and killed. While on home arrest awaiting trial in 2017, he cut off his ankle bracelet and skipped town; the viral video for "The Race" opens with a shot of McIntyre posing next to a "Wanted" poster emblazoned with his mug. U.S. Marshals brought him in later that year, and while he claims not to have been the one who pulled the trigger, it may be that his cavalier attitude toward his legal predicament did not sit well with his jury. In 2019, he was sentenced to a total of 55 years in prison for murder; as of this writing, he is facing a second murder charge for a deadly robbery he allegedly committed while on the run.

Tory Lanez

The summer of 2020 was, as everyone surely remembers, a weird time. In the midst of all the quarantining, grocery wiping, and googling Joe Exotic's music career,, though, rap fans were treated to an extra-weird news item: in July of that year, it was reported that Daystar "Tory Lanez" Peterson, a Grammy-nominated recording artist, had been arrested following an incident in which Megan "Thee Stallion" Pete, a Grammy-winning recording artist, had been shot in the foot. As more details came to light, it turned out that it was exactly what it sounded like: as the two were leaving a party, they got into an argument in a car, and when Megan attempted to exit the vehicle, Lanez began busting off shots at her feet, wounding her.

Lanez was tried on a litany of charges, including assault with a firearm, and despite allegedly waging a social media campaign to turn fans against Megan during the trial, he eventually found his contrition, calling Megan "Someone I still care for dearly to this day." Megan did not appear at the trial, but in a statement to the court, she didn't appear to share the sentiment, saying that her former buddy "must be forced to face the full consequences of his heinous actions and face justice." In August 2023, Lanez was slapped with a 10-year sentence for the shooting. 

Fetty Wap

Willie "Fetty Wap" Maxwell began his rise to fame with New Jersey group Remy Boyz before striking gold with his solo career. In 2015 alone, he notched no fewer than three Top-10 singles, scoring a pair of Grammy nominations for the first of them, the No. 2 smash "Trap Queen." On that track and many others, Maxwell had a tendency to wax poetic about the illegal drug trade — and it later came to light that such subject matter was not merely referring to a checkered past. 

In 2021, Maxwell was arrested and charged with drug trafficking — specifically, with conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine. After making bail, he compounded his problems by making a FaceTime call to an unnamed party whom he threatened to kill, waving around a gun while doing so — a call that was recorded and helpfully played for the court, resulting in a revocation of Maxwell's bail in late 2022. During his trial, Maxwell explained that he was only trying to provide for his relatives during the pandemic, which had hurt his opportunities for live bookings; "I only ever wanted to help my family. I never asked myself if it was all-the-way right," he said (via The New York Times). This explanation apparently did not ring true with the judge — and in May 2023, the rapper was sentenced to six years.

Max B

The music career of Charly "Max B" Wingate almost ended before it began, for the same reason that his success proved to be fleeting: prison. Between 1997 and 2005, Wingate was in the big house for robbery; upon his release, he was introduced to rapper Jim Jones by childhood buddy Cameron "Cam'Ron" Giles, and quickly fell in with the former's Byrd Gang collective. A couple of hot mix tapes followed, but Wingate simply could not stay out of legal hot water for long.

In 2006, Wingate and associate Kelvin Leerdam were involved in a hotel room robbery in which Leerdam shot and killed a victim; both men were charged with felony murder, among other offenses. Wingate continued to pump out new music while the case wound its way through the legal system, but in 2009, the hammer came down, and the rapper was slapped with an eye-watering 75-year prison term. 

However, freedom may yet be in the cards for Wingate, whose case was revisited in 2016. That year, a judge pointed to a potential conflict of interest involving the attorneys who defended Wingate, vacated his sentence, and allowed him to plead to the much lesser charge of aggravated manslaughter. Wingate was handed a fresh sentence of 20 years — and with his time already served, he could conceivably be out of prison in 2025.

Lul G

In 2018, music magazine Fader ran a cover piece on Vallejo, California, rap group SOB x RBE, whose track "Paramedic!" had made a splash with its appearance on the soundtrack for "Black Panther," one of the very best MCU movies. The unit's breakout performer, George "Lul G" Harris, had recently signed a solo contract with the legendary Def Jam Recordings, but his career efforts were being slightly hampered by the fact that he was at the time on probation, for an armed robbery he committed at the age of 17. "They've been making it difficult. Like, it'll be [a] big opportunity ... and they'll just tell me, 'No,'" he told the magazine. "It's like, basically, y'all want me to lose my career ... so I'm forced to do stuff that'll have me stuck in this system." His words turned out to be prophetic.

In 2019, Harris shot and killed Rashied Flowers, a friend of the group who often posted videos of himself hanging out backstage at their shows. It didn't take long for authorities to zero in on Harris, who was arrested not two months after the crime; he initially faced 25 years to life for the crime, but copped a plea deal in 2023 that will still see him spend 21 years in prison. 


Philadelphia's Abdul "Ar-Ab" West is another rapper who might have been a pretty big deal if his crime-ing had stayed within the bounds of his lyrics, but this was decidedly not the case. Despite an early association with Cash Money Records, a 2012 endorsement by legendary producer Swizz Beatz as "the most important new artist in rap," and a series of highly successful mixtapes throughout the teens, the cash flow associated with his burgeoning career apparently was not enough. As prosecutors outlined in his 2019 trial, West essentially converted Original Block Hustlaz, the label he founded nearly a decade prior, into a drug distribution clearinghouse, one responsible for at least one killing.

West didn't help his own case by seemingly making extensive references in his lyrics to such events as federal authorities seizing ten kilos of cocaine from an OBH stash house, and his ordering of a hit on a rival dealer. He likely also didn't endear himself to the judge by exhibiting the opposite of contrition at his 2021 sentencing, saying that the court and the prosecutors "don't understand my culture ... We don't rap about flowers and rainbows. We're gangsta rappers." Not anymore. Perhaps due in part to his boast about being a rapper with a criminal record, West and three of his OBH compatriots are now inmates, with West himself receiving the lengthiest sentence of them all — 45 years in the slammer.

Kaalan 'KR' Walker

There's no question that Kaalan "KR" Walker was a multi-talented individual. He first made noise as part of the Marvel, Inc. dance crew in the late aughts before moving on to dropping mix tapes in the next decade, and he even made a bit of a splash as an actor, appearing in the 2017 Daniel Craig-Halle Berry feature "Kings" and the 2018 remake of the blaxploitation classic "Superfly." But in 2018, his career came to a screeching halt when he was arrested for a shocking series of crimes.

Prosecutors alleged that Walker had used his fame to lure unsuspecting young women into his orbit, approaching them on social media with promises of modeling work; he would then sexually assault them. Walker's initial arrest came after four women lodged complaints against him, but while out on bail, another six victims joined them — resulting in another arrest, a trial, and a very heavy book thrown at the young man by the judge. In 2022, he was sentenced to a staggering 50 years to life in prison — and if he ever does manage to get out, he'll have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.


The music career of Jacquavius "9lokknine" Smith may prove to be a very short one, indeed. The Orlando rapper drew some attention in 2019 through his work with Jamell "YNW Melly" Demons, who as of this writing is awaiting trial on multiple murder charges. Smith's 2020 mixtape was dropped right around the time he began getting into some serious hot water of his own; in July of that year, he was arrested on charges of attempted second-degree murder after firing a handgun into a house where children were present, with additional charges being filed an account of Smith's already being a convicted felon.

It later came to light that Smith had applied for and received Covid-19 paycheck protection benefits under somebody else's name, piling an aggravated identity theft charge on top of the firearm charges and a litany of others. In 2021, Smith pled guilty to three of these charges and was handed a seven-year sentence; as of this writing, he faces a mountain of other counts, including racketeering and conspiracy charges, that could very well result in that seven years stretching into a whole lot more.


Back in the golden age of rap in the '80s and '90s, having a highly original style was an important part of being an MC, and for better and worse, nobody had quite as original a style as Michael "Mystikal" Tyler. His vocals could accurately be described as "screechy" and "frantic," and his unique delivery and formidable lyrical skill propelled him to considerable success; his 1997 sophomore LP "Unpredictable," his first effort with Master P's No Limit Records, was a platinum seller. His 2000 No. 13 smash "Shake Ya Ass" is a bona fide classic — but Tyler's legacy in rap has been severely tarnished by his incredibly unfortunate habit of sexually assaulting women.

His first conviction came in 2003 after an assault on his hairstylist, and a six-year prison sentence for that offense failed to put him on the straight and narrow. A 2017 sexual assault case was ultimately dismissed by a grand jury, but in 2022, he was indicted in Louisiana on charges of rape and false imprisonment stemming from an incident at the home of a female acquaintance earlier that year. As of this writing, Tyler is in jail awaiting trial — and if he is convicted, state law mandates that he receive a life sentence. 

Kidd Creole

Nathaniel "Kidd Creole" Glover has an unassailable place in the pantheon of rap music; he is a founding member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and the little brother of legendary MC Melvin "Melle Mel" Glover. His vocals graced some of the first rap records to get traction outside of New York, classics like "Freedom" and "The Birthday Party" — and he may very well sit in prison to the end of his days, thanks to a rash act of violence he committed on the streets of New York in 2017.

During a confrontation with John Jolly, a 55-year-old homeless man, Glover simply lost it when he became convinced that Jolly was making a pass at him. For some reason, Glover happened to have a steak knife on his person, and he stabbed Jolly twice in the chest with it, killing him. Despite the fact that Glover apparently took steps to try to conceal the crime — including immediately changing his clothes and washing the knife — he was convicted only of manslaughter; he was nevertheless slapped with a 16-year prison sentence. He began serving his sentence in 2022 at the age of 62, giving him a less-than-fantastic chance of ever being a free man again.


Corey "C-Murder" Miller took a relatively easy road to stardom; he is the younger brother of Percy "Master P" Miller, the No Limit Records impresario who burst onto the scene in the early '90s. They, along with their other brother Vyshonne "Silkk the Shocker" Miller, formed the trio TRU, the success of which — along with his solo work and countless features on other No Limit artists' material — made Miller among the more high-profile rappers of the label's roster. 

Unfortunately for him, that high profile made it difficult to defend himself when, in 2002, he was arrested for shooting and killing 16-year-old Steve Thomas during an altercation in a New Orleans nightclub. Miller has long maintained his innocence, and his lawyers have claimed that the whole thing was a case of mistaken identity. Despite problems with witnesses attempting to recant statements, the granting of a new trial in 2006, and support from celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Miller has remained in prison since his conviction in 2009, which saw him handed a life sentence. He has continued to record and release music while in the big house — notably, under his real name and not his unfortunate moniker — and while he continues to lobby for his release, his prospects don't look good. In 2023, based largely on sketchy testimony from witnesses, his lawyers brought a motion to vacate his sentence before a federal judge, who upheld Miller's conviction.

Big Lurch

While it's easy to see how some gangsta rappers get caught up in lawless behavior despite their fame, there is nothing that is remotely easy to comprehend about the crime committed by aspiring rapper Antron "Big Lurch" Singleton in 2002. According to his attorney at trial, Singleton had been previously hospitalized three times for psychosis brought on by PCP. Nevertheless, he was said to have been misusing the substance for five days when he cornered his roommate, 21-year-old Tynisha Ysais, attempted to eat her face, and cut open her chest — all while she was still alive — before consuming part of her lung.

Singleton's lawyer argued that he had been insane at the time of the crime, saying, "PCP affects the brain to where people go back to their primal state ... you don't have the conscience of a human being, and that's where this man was when he took this woman's life" (via the Los Angeles Times). A psychologist even testified that Singleton had indeed been mentally impaired due to his regular PCP use when the killing occurred — but under California state law, the insanity defense is null and void if the mental impairment is caused by drug use. Singleton was sentenced in 2003 to life in prison without the possibility of parole, and he remains in state prison to this day.