Rappers And Firearms: Self-Defense Or Ticket To Jail?

Rappers and guns are a losing combination.

Name one rapper that can say their firearm actually protected them from harm. Take your time.

Now, think about how many rappers are in trouble with the law, or sitting in the bing right now, because they were packing heat. That list would take a long while to finish.

The latest MC to stand before a judge because of illegally having a gun, allegedly, is former G-Unit member Young Buck. The Tennessee rapper is looking at a possible ten year sentence because when the IRS raided his home they found a .40 caliber pistol. A no go since Young Buck was on probation after literally sticking a fork in Jimmy James Johnson at the 2004 Vibe Awards.

Prodigy of Mobb Deep just finished serving a three year bid because instead of just getting issued a ticket for an illegal u-turn, police found a gun in his car. Since he was already previously convicted of gun charges, P plead out to a few years instead of the mandatory 15 he was facing.

Even Ja Rule, who during his commercial peak made a living off rap ballads, is going to serve two years for gun charges (attempted criminal possession of a weapon) after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.

Then there is Shyne, who lost 10 years of his freedom, and the right to live in the United States, after squeezing the trigger in a New York club in 2001. In 2009, B.G. was arrested for illegal gun possession in New Orleans, his old Cash Money running mate Lil Wayne spent a year
on Rikers Island over gun charges and Lil Boosie is sitting in jail because of gun charges too.

But the most high profile of these cases belongs to T.I., who infamously got arrested by ATF agents at the 2007 BET Hip Hop Awards. Tip was caught trying to by machine guns, silencers and other arms the convicted felon had no business being near. The display of weapons at a news conference where detectives displayed the artillery T.I. had in his possession was alarming. The rapper noted the guns were for
protection in light of the murder of his best friend Philant Johnson, who in 2006 was gunned down in a van he and T.I. were riding in after a performance in Cincinnati.

Perhaps more profound is that while hip-hop has lost it fair share of artists to natural causes or tragic accidents, far too many have perished because of gun violence. The Notorious B.I.G, Tupac Shakur, Big L, Soulja Slim, Freaky Tah and Stack Bundles are only a fraction of some of artists who had their careers cut short in a hail of bullets.

Too many times the line between reality and fantasy are getting crossed which can lead to tragedy. Waka Flocka, whose video for “Bustin At Em” is like an NRA wet dream, recently had his tour bus shot at while in North Carolina.

While plenty of artists are quick to boast their prowess with a pistol, few give anti-gun violence any lip service at all. Pharoahe Monch did on “When The Gun Draws” from his 2007 album Desire, but mainstream artists rarely stay on message. Maybe keeping the peace doesn’t sell as many records?

The irony is that most of these aforementioned incidents, could have, and should have been avoided.

Rappers, take heed. If you are a convicted felon, you cannot carry a firearm, period. If you’re that concerned over your safety, hiring some licensed muscle will probably cost less than court fees, attorney retainers and missed show dates due to you being locked up behind bars.

If you can carry a firearm, get a permit. The fees to obtain a handgun license in New York City total about $500 with addition of your time to fill out an application and a generally clean record. Have a spotty past? Then maybe carrying a handgun just isn’t for you.