Tekashi 6ix9ine is seemingly emboldened by a metaphoric Scarlet Letter as a snitch in the urban community.
Whether he continues gaining over 10 million views for his YouTube videos, running his mouth on Instagram Live or calling out Billboard’s questionable charting criteria, The Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods former associate — who testified against them in court, too — unequivocally relishes and capitalizes on being a turncoat.
But there are plenty rappers who lived by a code of silence. Some law offenders never give up names, even if the crime they were caught doing was a setup for police by one of their colleagues. In 2006, recent Verzuz champion Ludacris even made a song about it featuring prison-prone rappers Beanie Sigel, C-Murder and the late Pimp C titled “Do Your Time.”
Here is a review of Hip Hop artists who didn’t flip for the feds to see more daylight in a witness protection program.
In February 1995, Tupac Shakur began a prison bid of 18-months to four-and-a-half years in Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York on rape charges. The sentence was handed down after the late “Me Against The World” legend was found guilty of first-degree sexual abuse charges on a woman named Ayanna Jackson in November 1993.
Jackson said following their consensual sexual encounter in his Manhattan hotel room, she returned the next day to meet Shakur in the same room and was gang-raped by him and his road manager Charles “Man Man” Fuller,” former Jimmy Henchmen associate Jacques “Haitian Jack” Agnant and another male. On December 1, 1994, Shakur denied he’d raped her and said he never acted in concert with other men as he tried to exonerate himself during the trial.
He was released on October 12, 1995 after Death Row Records boss Suge Knight posted $1.4 million bail to have him released and Shakur immediately signed to the label to show his gratitude and loyalty.
The meteoric rise to stardom for Bobby Shmurda in 2014 was parallel to the fleeting success of 6ix9ine before both Brooklyn natives entered prison.
His enduring 2014 single “Hot Nigga,” which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, accompanied by his equally popular rhythmic arm-flailing and semi-pirouette “Shmoney dance,” further validated the New York rap scene’s derivation of Southern trap music with the A$AP Mob.
Shmurda explained in several interviews his stage moniker’s last name “Shmurda” meant that killers and witnesses to the crimes should be adhering to the street’s unwritten code of silence (“Shhhhhhh”).
But the 20-year-old viral sensation was arrested on Christmas Eve that year on conspiracy to commit murder, weapons possession and reckless endangerment charges. He was also found to be a high-ranking member of Brooklyn’s GS9 gang, which was involved in drug trafficking, hidden murders and non-fatal shootings.
In 2016, Shmurda refused to cooperate as an informant ratting out his GS9 gang members, specifically his best friend and music collaborator Rowdy Rebel, in exchange for a reduced five-year sentence.
Shmurda ultimately took the court’s seven-year bid option to match Rowdy’s sentence and pleaded guilty to two charges: 4th-degree conspiracy to criminally possess a weapon and 2nd-degree criminal weapons possession.
He will serve the remainder of his prison term at the Clinton Correctional Facility in New York and is expected to be released by the end of this year.
From 1996 to 1998, The Fugees’ Refugee Camp All-Stars rode a wave of success and substantial credibility to rap traditionalists behind their emerging stars Canibus and John Forte.
The latter lyricist’s illegitimate hustle began several years after Forte’s Grammy-nominated ghostwriting work on The Fugees’ multi-platinum classic album The Score and his standout performance on Wyclef Jean’s Bee Gees-sampled solo debut single “We Trying To Stay Alive” in 1997.
But Forte became a cautionary tale of fallen star affiliates of the Hip Hop’s most celebrated crews when he fell on hard times following the cold reception of his debut solo album, Poly-Sci, the following year.
“I came upon immense hard times,” Forte said explaining his career pitfall in the 2012 Sway In The Morning interview video featured above. “It was after my first solo album came out, Poly-Sci, and even though it came out to critical acclaim, it came out to commercial disappointment. We sold about 100,000 copies of that album. By today’s standard, that’d be great but back then, it was a brick.”
Forte resorted to selling liquid bricks thereafter.
In 2001, Forte was arrested at Newark International Airport after he was caught by federal agents accepting a briefcase containing 14 kilograms of liquid cocaine with a street value of $1.4 million. He faced charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute and was found guilty, then ordered to serve a minimum 14 years in federal prison at FCI Lorretto in Pennsylvania.
He didn’t give up any names of the product suppliers or any others involved in the case for a plea bargain to lower his prison bid.
Forte spent six years in prison until his close friend and legendary 1970s soft rock singer Carly Simon lobbied for a lower sentence with U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, seeing it was his first-ever offense. President George W. Bush commuted Forte’s sentence in November 24, 2008 and Forte was released from prison four weeks later.
The son of a former Belize Prime Minister Shyne was widely perceived by the media and fans as a glaring echo of The Notorious B.I.G. It looked like he would sign to Diddy’s Bad Boy imprint for his baritone registered vocal styles to fill Biggie’s unsettling void upon his death in 1997.
At age 21, Shyne’s promising career was rapidly taking off, but the “Bad Boyz” star’s life changed drastically for the next 10 years after the night of December 27, 1999.
The rap rookie was a part of former lovers Diddy and Jennifer Lopez’s entourage as they marauded former Manhattan hotspot Club New York. When Diddy was in the club’s V.I.P. section, he briefly maneuvered into the crowd to greet people before encountering a man and his crew who was said to have made unflattering comments to the music mogul. As a fracas between the two parties escalated, guns were reportedly brandished, including one from Shyne.
He fired a warning shot and claimed it was in response to two bullets fired from the opposing group in the incident. One of the bullets struck two people including Natania Reuben, who alleged in court Diddy had a gun.
Shyne maintained his shots were in self-defense but never disclosed in court documents or his testimony who fired the initials shots that hit the two victims. He was charged with attempted murder, assault and reckless endangerment and faced up to 25 years.
After Diddy’s legal team advised Shyne to get his own counsel during the trial, Diddy was acquitted, but Shyne was sentenced to 10 years in prison on June 1, 2001. He was released from Woodbourne Correctional Facility in early in 2009 and deported to his native Belize as a non-citizen felon.
Mysonne was on the rise as a first-rate spitter during the late 1990s. He was discovered and managed by late industry heavyweight executive Chris Lighty, signed to Island/Def Jam and delivered stellar guest appearances for two tracks on the Hip Hop all-star compilation Violator: The Album in 1999, including the track “You Can’t Stop Me.”
At age 23, “The N.Y. General” was allegedly involved in a series of robberies of two cab drivers in his hometown, just over a week before album was released. He was convicted on August 2, 1999 by a Bronx County Court judge who said Mysonne committed the second of the robberies in March 1998. Both charges carried up to 50 years in prison and Mysonne ended up doing seven.
Mysonne still maintains his innocence to this day yet refused to rat on the person who he truly believes is responsible for the heists.
Loon became Bad Boy Records’ passable flagship rapper by default following Biggie’s 1997 death, Ma$e trading his music industry celebrity for Christian ministry in 1999 and Shyne’s aforementioned incarceration.
The “How You Like That” charmer left Bad Boy in 2004 to start his own Boss Up Entertainment imprint and converted to Islam four years later. Born Chauncey Lamont Hawkins, Loon would go on to change his legal name to Amir Junaid Muhadith, subsequently ending his music career as he moved to Egypt and dedicated his life to religion.
During a trip to Brussels, Belgium in 2011 however, Muhadith was booked by police and eventually extradited to the United States in May 2012. He was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison on charges of imprisonment for conspiracy with intent to traffic one or more kilos of heroin in July 2013.
Muhadith is serving his time after opting to not tell who else was involved in the international drug ring.