20+ Famous Rappers in Jail Now (and Previously)

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Many of the most famous rappers of all time have spent time in prison. And behind every prison sentence is a world of drama.

The list features several rappers in jail now, as well as famous rappers who have been released in recent years.

Run-ins with the law are a common theme in hip-hop. As the examples in this article show, even at the top echelons of the rap game there are plenty of rappers who have spent time “behind bars” in the literal sense.

Some of the cases mentioned on this list are relatively clear-cut. Others have been surrounded in controversy amid claims of racial discrimination. For some of these rappers, the case is not as simple as it seems on the surface, and there are important details and context surrounding their convictions and incarceration.

Let’s dive in and discover some of the most famous rappers who are in jail now, or have been in the past.

YNW Melly

Felonies: TBC
Length of Sentence: TBC
Time served: TBC

YNW Melly, whose most famous song is hit 2018 hit ‘Murder On My Mind,’ had several run-ins with the law in his short years. However, his most recent case is by far the most significant.

On 13 February 2019 he was arrested on murder charges. Along with YNW Bortlen, Melly allegedly shot and killed two of his friends YNW Sakchaser and YNW Juvy, setting up the scene to appears as a drive-by shooting.

Since his arrest, he released the highly successful Just a Matter of Slime (2021), which features the likes of Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Baby, Lil Durk, Future, Kodak Black, and more.

YNW Melly’s trail began on 12 June 2023, and the rapper faces potentially life imprisonment, or even the death penalty.

Young Thug

Felonies: Gang-related, racketeering
Length of Sentence: TBC
Time served: TBC

Jeffery Lamar Williams, better known as Young Thug, is one of the most-celebrated rappers at the heart of the Atlanta trap scene. He is currently in prison with gang-related charges.

Young Thug and fellow rapper Gunna were two of twenty-eight individuals associated with YSL Records who have been charged in a RICO indictment. Following a search of Young Thug’s home, the rapper was also charged with felonies including possession of illegal substances and firearms.

The case is still unfolding, and Young Thug remains in jail right now.


Felonies: Drugs possession with intent to sell
Length of Sentence: TBC
Time served: TBC

Casanova, real name Caswell Senior, is currently behind bars after being indicted on RICO charges, in connection with the “Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation.”

The rapper is in jail right now, and currently awaiting sentencing relating to intent to sell marijuana. The sentencing of the rapper, who is signed to Roc Nation, will be announced in April 2023.

Casanova’s current stint is not the first time he has been in jail. Several years ago he was serving at sentence at Rikers Island, when he met ASAP Rocky, who was serving two weeks. Casanova was allegedly able to advise Rocky on prison etiquette, stepping in to prevent a fight.

Tupac Shakur

Felonies: Sexual assault
Length of Sentence: 4 years, 8 months
Time served: 8 months

Tupac Shakur served jail time for sexual assault, beginning his sentence on February 14, 1995 at Clinton Correctional Facility.

In November 1993, Tupac was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in a hotel room. He was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison and served eight months before being released on bail pending appeal. The case was surrounded with controversy, including claims that the whole thing was a setup.

As the New Yorker put it, “This much is plain: once the gears of the criminal-justice system were set in motion, Tupac was penalized more for who he was—a charismatic gangsta rapper with a political background—than for what he had done.”

It is relevant to note that Tupac was the son of two Black Panther Party members, and the godson of political activist Assata Shakur – the first ever woman to appear on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list.

While in prison, Tupac allegedly read Machiavelli’s The Prince and Sun Tzu’s Art of War, as well as corresponding with Jim Carrey and others.

Lil Wayne

Felonies: Illegal possession of firearms
Length of Sentence: 12 months
Time served: 8 months

Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., better known as Lil Wayne, has faced several criminal convictions throughout his career, however, only one landed the rapper in jail.

In 2007, Lil Wayne was arrested on charges of illegal weapons possession after a loaded handgun was found on his tour bus. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a one-year prison term. He served the sentence at Rikers Island in New York, and was released after eight months.

Snoop Dogg

Felonies: Drug possession with intent to sell
Length of Sentence: unknown
Time served: unknown

Snoop Dogg has had many run-ins with the law, and in the early days of his career is reported to have been in and out of prison. 

The most notable incident was in 1990, when he was arrested on drug possession for sale charges and later convicted. The length of his sentence is not publicly available.

So, while Snoop Dogg has definitely served time in jail, we don’t know how long it was. It also may also have been served in increments or in a rehabilitation centre as part of his sentence.

Snoop Dogg has since faced various drug and sexual assault charges, although none of these have resulted in incarceration.

Gucci Mane

Felonies: Illegal possession of firearms
Length of Sentence: 3 years, 6 months
Time served: 2 years

Gucci Mane, real name Radric Delantic Davis, has served several prison sentences. His most notable sentence was for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He served two years in prison.

However, it’s clear that the rapper did not let prison get in the way of his career. Gucci was extremely productive during this time, releasing twelve projects in 2014 alone. He also began working on his autobiography while in jail.

When he was released, Gucci became the subject of a conspiracy theory that he was a clone of the real Gucci Mane, based on his changed appearance.


Felonies: Illegal possession of firearms, violating probation
Length of Sentence: 3 years (first sentence), and 11 months (second sentence)
Time served: 9 months (first sentence), and 11 months (second sentence)

T.I., whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., has served numerous prison sentences in his lifetime, dating back to his youth.

His first major sentence was in 2004, after he violated his probation of earlier drug convictions. He was sentenced to three years, although he was released early.

In 2010, he served 11 months for violating the terms of his probation. He released his album No Mercy (2010) during this time.

T.I. is another rapper for whom prison time is not idle time, but an opportunity for productivity. He explained in one interview: “It’s just months of planning… I ain’t gonna just be sitting still doing nothing. The wheels will be turning, just the car ain’t going nowhere.”

Meek Mill

Felonies: Probation violation, drug-related charges
Length of Sentence: 2 years, 4 months
Time served: 5 months

Meek Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, has faced multiple legal issues throughout his career, including repeated imprisonment. Meek has often returned to prison for violating parole, but he maintains his innocence of the original charges.

Meek was initially convicted in 2008 for possession of drug paraphernalia, and second-degree possession of a loaded firearm by a convicted felon.

In 2019, Amazon Prime released a docuseries called Free Meek, produced by Meek and Jay-Z, which goes into detail about Meek’s ongoing experiences with the criminal justice system.

Meek and Jay-Z continue to lobby for prison and sentencing reform through their organisation, Reform Alliance.

Bobby Shmurda

Felonies: Conspiracy to commit murder
Length of Sentence: 7 years
Time served: 5 years

New York drill artist Bobby Shmurda, whose real name is Ackquille Jean Pollard, was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2016 on charges of conspiracy to murder, weapons possession, and reckless endangerment.

Bobby pleaded not-guilty to the charges, along with other members of the New York hip-hop collective GS9 who were also sentenced.

He served five years of the sentence at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, and was released in February 2021.

Shmurda’s incarceration has been marked by controversy, with some supporters claiming that he was unfairly targeted by the police and that his sentence was too harsh.


Felonies: Various
Length of Sentence: 1 year (longest)
Time served: Various

DMX, real name Earl Simmons, served multiple prison sentences throughout his life. He has been convicted with all sorts of crimes, ranging from theft, to drug offenses, to reckless driving, to animal cruelty, to tax evasion.

His first sentence came when, as a teenager, he stole a dog from a junkyard. He received two years for the crime. He successfully escaped the prison, but after returning home, his mother forced him to go back and turn himself in.

The top-selling rapper has allegedly gone to prison some thirty times in total, although most have been for relatively short periods. Although DMX has not served the longest sentence of the rappers on this list, he is probably the one who has been in and out of prison the highest number of times.

Slick Rick

Felonies: Attempted murder
Length of Sentence: 5 years
Time served: 5 years

Richard Walters, better known as Slick Rick, was imprisoned in 1991 on charges of attempted murder and illegal firearms possession. 

Slick Rick was sentenced to five years in state prison after being convicted of attempting to murder his former bodyguard, Mark Plummer. Slick Rick pleaded guilty to the charges, although he stated that the shooting was an act of self-defence.

The rapper spent five years in prison – two for the attempted murder, and three regarding disputes with immigration services over his residency in the US (Rick is dual nationality, British-American).

As the name suggests, his 2014 album Behind Bars, which reached fifty-one on the Billboard 200 album charts, touches upon the rapper’s time in jail.


Felonies: Second-degree murder
Length of Sentence: Life imprisonment (overturned and retried, currently serving a life sentence)
Time served: 11 years (ongoing)

C-Murder, whose real name is Corey Miller, was imprisoned in 2003 on charges of second-degree murder.

Miller was convicted of shooting and killing a 16-year-old fan, Steve Thomas, at a Louisiana nightclub. The rapper was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Miller maintains his innocence.

C-Murder’s incarceration has been marked by controversy, with some supporters claiming that he was wrongly convicted and that his trial was marred by misconduct and racial bias.

The rapper has released four albums from prison.

Foxy Brown

Felonies: Probation violation
Length of Sentence: 1 year
Time served: 8 months

Foxy Brown, whose real name is Inga DeCarlo Fung Marchand, was given a one year prison sentence in 2007 for violating her probation.

The award-winning rapper has a record of assault and menacing, and was on probation after a fight in 2004. It was not the fight itself, but the violation of her probation that landed her with the one-year prison sentence.

The rapper’s career slowly ground to a halt following her incarceration, with her last original release being her 2008 mixtape Brooklyn Don Diva.

Lauryn Hill

Felonies: Tax evasion
Length of Sentence: 3 months
Time served: 3 months

Lauryn Hill may be one of the best-selling female rappers of all time, but unfortunately for her, that didn’t make her above the law. In June 2012, Hill was charged with three counts of tax fraud or failing to file taxes. She pleaded guilty to the charges.

Hill failed to pay taxes on $1.8 million in income between 2005 and 2007, and was sentenced to three months in federal prison. She was also ordered to serve three months of home confinement and to pay restitution to the government.

The artist’s incarceration, which saw her spend time in a low-security all female facility, was widely covered in the media.

Fat Joe

fat joe

Felonies: Tax evasion
Length of Sentence: 4 months
Time served: 4 months

Fat Joe, whose real name is Joseph Antonio Cartagena, served time in federal prison in 2013 for tax evasion. The rapper has also been arrested twice for assault, but in both cases the charges were dropped.

The crime that landed the rapper in prison was failing to pay taxes on over $3 million in income between 2007 and 2010. Fat Joe was sentenced to four months in federal prison, and ordered to pay restitution to the government. He also faced a year of supervision after his release.

Fat Joe claims he took advice from Lil Wayne on how to handle prison, with Lil Wayne saying, “Just be humble, bro. Don’t go in there on somethin’. Just go in there humble. You know, if you be humble, they’ll respect you.”

Pimp C

pimp c

Felonies: Aggravated assault
Length of Sentence: 8 years
Time served: 4 years

Pimp C, best known as one half of the rap duo UGK, served time in state prison from 2002 to 2005 for an aggravated assault charge.

The rapper and producer was initially in trouble with the law after threatening a woman with a gun. Pimp C claimed that the police used excessive force against him, knocking him unconscious twice.

After initially being released from prison, Pimp C failed to report to his probation officer on several occasions, failed to do his community service, and failed to pay court fees. This resulted in an eight-year sentence for probation violations. The artist’s lengthy incarceration was met with protests in the hip-hop community.

While in prison, Pimp C got married to his wife, Chinara, in 2003. On December 30, 2005, he was released on parole, and picked up his music career once again.

Lil’ Kim

Felonies: Perjury, conspiracy
Length of Sentence: 1 year
Time served: 1 year

Lil’ Kim, whose real name is Kimberly Denise Jones, served time in federal prison from 2005 to 2006 for perjury and conspiracy charges.

Lil’ Kim was convicted of lying to a federal grand jury about her knowledge of a shooting that took place outside the Hot 97 studio in Manhattan, New York in 2001. She was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison, and also ordered to serve three years of probation. The charges were three counts of perjury, and one count of conspiracy.

She served her sentence at the Federal Detention Centre, Philadelphia.

Max B

max b rappers in jail

Felonies: Armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, felony murder
Length of Sentence: 75 years
Time served: 14 years (ongoing)

Max B, whose real name is Charly Wingate, is currently serving a 75-year prison sentence for his role in a 2008 armed robbery and murder conspiracy case.

Wingate began serving his sentence in 2009, and has been appealing it since. He reportedly took a plea-bargain for aggravated manslaughter, meaning that his sentence has been significantly reduced.

While in prison, Max B has appeared on various artists records, either in the form of recordings that were made before his incarceration, or using voice messages recorded via phone.

He also released his debut album, Vigilante Season (2011), whilst in prison. The album peaked at number twenty-two on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart.



Felonies: Conspiracy to commit murder, armed robbery
Length of Sentence: 2 years
Time served: 1 year, and 1 year home confinement

The controversial rapper 6ix9ine – real name Daniel Hernandez – has faced numerous criminal charges relating to child abuse, racketeering, weapons, and drugs. 

In February 2019, he pleaded guilty to nine charges including conspiracy to commit murder and armed robbery. The rapper had faced a potential forty-seven years in prison, but got off with just two years by testifying against the Nine Trey Gang.

The artist’s lawyer has famously argued that the rapper is not a real gangster, but “portrays a gangster image to promote his music.”

In April 2020, he was released during the Covid pandemic due to his asthma condition. He served the remainder of his sentence at home. 

Kodak Black

kodak black

Felonies: Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
Length of Sentence: 3 years, 10 months
Time served: 10 months

Kodak Black has received numerous criminal charges in his lifetime. Before he was eventually incarcerated in May 2019, he had been arrested on multiple occasions, and charged with robbery, battery, false imprisonment of a child, and drug possession.

In the end, it was a firearm possession that saw the rapper in jail. He was initially incarcerated at the high-security prison United States Penitentiary, Big Sandy, before being transferred to United States Penitentiary, Thomson.

He was commuted after ten months by Donald Trump, in the former president’s last day in office which saw him pardon over one hundred convicts. The rapper has since been a vocal supporter of Trump on social media.

Lil Baby

lil baby

Felonies: Possession of drugs with intent to sell
Length of Sentence: 2 years
Time served: 2 years

Lil Baby, real name Dominique Armani Jones, may be one of the most successful artists in the world today – but things could have been different.

Before the acclaimed trap star’s career took off, the rapper was arrested several times for marijuana possession, and eventually incarcerated for two years on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to sell.

Jones has since spoken out against the criminal justice system. In an interview with NPR he said, “Prison is just sitting you in a room somewhere. What does that do to better you for society? What does that do to help you change? To me, jail makes you worse.”

Beanie Sigel

beanie sigel

Felonies: Firearm possession, illegal possession of prescription drugs, tax evasion
Length of Sentence: 2 years, 1 month (longest sentence)
Time served: 2 years, 1 month

Beanie Sigel has been in trouble with the law several times, for a number of different reasons, including firearm possession, and illegal possession of prescription drugs. In 2004, he served a prison sentence of one year and one day for weapons charges.

However, his longest prison sentence was for tax evasion. He was sentenced to twenty-five months, due to failing to file tax returns for over $1 million between 2003 and 2005. He pleaded guilty to the charges.

In 2003, he was also arrested on charges of suspected murder, although he was acquitted.

Da Brat

Felonies: Aggravated assault
Length of Sentence: 3 years
Time served: 1 year, 9 months

On October 31, 2007, female rapper Da Brat was involved in an altercation at Atlanta nightclub Studio 72. Da Brat struck a hostess in the face with a rum bottle, with the waitress being rushed to hospital and the rapper arrested.

Da Brat pleaded guilty to aggravated assault charges, and was was sentenced to three years in prison, seven years of probation, and 200 hours of community service. She served twenty-months and was temporarily released as part of a work-release program. The victim was award $6.4 million to cover injuries and loss of earnings.

JT (City Girls)

jt city girls

Felonies: Aggravated identity theft
Length of Sentence: 24 months
Time served: 21 months

Jatavia Johnson, better known as JT, is one of half of the female rap duo City Girls. The Miami rapper allegedly turned herself in for making fraudulent credit card charges. She spent over year in prison in Florida, before being released on 7 March 2020.

JT has discussed her prison time in interviews, expressing that the experience has changed her. In one interview she stated, “I found a sense of sisterhood in prison… I met so many girls who made me feel welcome, who made me feel at home. I made great friends in prison, to the point that some days I didn’t feel like I was in prison.”

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