It's sad but true that hip-hop is the musical genre most closely associated with criminal activity. Whether it's the lyrics that glorify the illegal life or the big money floating around behind the scenes, rappers seem to get in a lot of trouble. In this feature, we'll venture back into the case files to spotlight 10 hip-hop personalities who committed truly crazy crimes.
10. Shyne, 1999
Many hip-hop organizations are structured like street gangs, with the foot soldiers at the bottom of the ladder often taking the fall to keep the heat off of the capos at the top. The club shooting that landed up-and-coming rapper Shyne in prison has been the subject of tons of speculation for exactly those reasons. Shyne was at a club with his girlfriend as well as Bad Boy president Sean "Puffy" Combs and Jennifer Lopez when shots were fired. It's never been truly proven who shot three people at Club New York in 1999, but Shyne took the fall for it and spent a decade in prison. He kept silent during his decade in jail. But after being deported immediately upon release, Shyne has started firing verbal shots at Combs, claiming that he saved his life and his career.
9. Big Lurch, 2002
Many of the crimes on this list are pretty easy to break down in hindsight, but the insane murder of Tynisha Yanis by Houston rapper Big Lurch in 2002 defies all attempts at understanding. Lurch (real name Antron Singleton) worked with a veritable who’s who of Bay Area rappers including Too Short, Mac Dre and Yukmouth, and his first solo album was in the pipeline before the tragedy. One April evening, Lurch, Yanis and Yanis’s boyfriend stayed up all night smoking PCP. Under the influence, Lurch lost his mind, grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed Yanis multiple times, tearing her lungs from her body and eating bits of her flesh. Police picked him up naked and bloody in the middle of the street, staring blankly at the sky. He’s currently serving life in prison.
8. Mystikal, 2003
New Orleans rapper Mystikal of "Shake Ya Ass" fame is a dude who loves to party. Unfortunately, he took that love a little too far in 2003 when he forced his hairstylist to go down on him. Born Michael Tyler, Mystikal found success with the No Limit crew, mentored by superstar producer and rapper Master P. High on his own success, the rapper and two bodyguards accused the stylist of cashing $80,000 of unauthorized checks from his account and told her that she needed to service his sexual needs or he'd call the cops. She turned him in and he spent six years in the pokey.
7. X-Raided, 1992
Hundreds of rappers were associated with California's Crips and Bloods gangs, which have been eternal rivals both on the streets and the Billboard charts. Most of them dialed back on the criminal activity once they started recording, but Sacramento rapper X-Raided, a member of the Garden Blocc Crips, kept blasting caps even after dropping his debut album, "Psycho Active." In 1992, X-Raided plotted to murder two Meadowview Bloods who had dropped some of his Crip brothers earlier in the year. Creating a plan loosely based on his song "Tha Murder," X-Raided led two other men to the home of Patricia Harris, the mother of the two Bloods, and shot the innocent woman to death. Amazingly enough, he's continued to record tracks from jail, to the confusion of prison officials.
6. C-Murder, 2002
Corey Miller, the rapper known as C-Murder, was born into Southern rap royalty. The brother of No Limit CEO Master P and rapper Silkk the Shocker, he made his solo debut in 1998 with "Life or Death," which hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart. Unfortunately, he wasn't long for the top. In 2002, a 16-year-old fan named Steve Thomas came to the Platinum Club in Harvey, La., with the intent of seeing his idol perform. What happened after that is still a mystery, but a group of people saw C-Murder's posse beating and stomping the young man before the rapper yelled "Do you know who the f--- I am?" and shot him in the chest. Murder was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
5. Remy Ma, 2007
Female rappers aren't immune to the lure of the criminal world, and they have tempers that rival their male counterparts. Case in point: Terror Squad associate Reminisce Smith, better known as Remy Ma. After earning a Grammy nomination for "Lean Back," Ma seemed on top of the world. But when she got into an argument with a woman named Makeda Barnes-Joseph outside of the New York club Pizza Bar early one July morning, Ma's career went straight into the crapper. The argument was about Barnes-Joseph stealing thousands of dollars from Remy Ma, and during the scuffle, the rapper shot her in the torso and then went through her purse looking for the stolen money. Wisely, she turned herself in the same day, but she still may be in jail until 2016 for attempted murder.
4. Chi Ali, 2000
The youngest member of the Native Tongues rap crew that brought intelligent, conscious rap to the New York scene in the early 1990s, Chi Ali released his first solo album, "The Fabulous Chi Ali," in 1992, spawning the single "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number" and bringing him to national attention. But then, nothing. After the novelty of a young teenage rapper wore off, Chi Ali couldn't get many verses, and turned to a less salubrious life. In 2000, he shot Sean Raymond, the brother of his girlfriend, in his South Bronx apartment. The former rapper took off, living on the lam for a year and appearing on "America's Most Wanted" before finally being caught.
3. South Park Mexican, 2001
Many of the rappers on this list were busted for crimes that are pretty tough. But the case of Latino rapper South Park Mexican, born Carlos Coy, is probably the most disgusting on this list. Coy began his career as a Christian rapper before realizing that there was more money on the gangster side of the fence, and released several records throughout the '90s. However, the MC unfortunately had a secret life as a pedophile. In 2001, he was busted for sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl, and then saw several other underage females come forward as well, including one he'd gotten pregnant. Needless to say, he was sent to the pen for a very long time. He'll be eligible for parole in 2024. Somehow, we doubt he'll get it.
2. DMX, 2004
No list of rapper crimes would be complete without DMX. Earl Simmons, as his mama calls him, has been in trouble with the law so many times that it would take a whole book to tell the stories. Probably the most demented thing X ever did happened in 2004, when he was arrested at New York's JFK International Airport after trying to carjack a vehicle while under the influence of cocaine. DMX pulled a pistol on a hapless driver, claimed to be an FBI agent and started barking in the man’s face. Why exactly he wanted the car has never been explained, but one can probably blame the bag of crack cocaine found in his SUV when the cops came and got him after he plowed it into a security gate.
Next: Ridiculous Fake Tough Guys of the Internet
1. G. Dep, 1993
Let’s close this list with a rare example of a rapper actually doing the right thing in regards to a crime. In 1993, aspiring rapper G. Dep -- born Trevell Coleman -- had barely begun his career when he shot a man named John Henkel in the chest outside a Harlem housing project during a botched burglary. The NYPD had no leads and G. Dep went on to sign a five-album deal with Bad Boy, releasing "Child Of The Ghetto" in 2001. However, after a struggle with PCP addiction, G. Dep decided it was time to square himself with God and walked into the 25th Precinct station in 2010 to confess to the murder and turn himself in, solving a cold case that was nearly two decades old. He's currently serving 15 years in prison.