Two of hip-hop’s biggest artists are locked behind bars and could face years in prison. Did their music lead to this fate?
She my trap queen, let her hit the bando
We be countin’ up, watch how far them bands go
We just set a goal, talkin’ matchin’ Lambos
At 56 a gram, 5 a hundred grams, though
In the above excerpt, Fetty Wap sings about the culture of selling drugs. Then, Drake remixed his single featuring Monty “My Way.” Then, “679” became a hit and a viral Twitter video made “Jimmy Choo” another Billboard hit single. He also used the momentum to star on other artists’ singles like Lil Dicky’s “$ave Dat Money.”
Fetty Wap had a total of 13 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, all songs spanning from 2015 to 2016.
On Aug. 22, Fetty Wap pled guilty to a conspiracy drug charge that carries a mandatory five-year sentence.
Young Thug has slowly built himself into one of the largest forces in all music for over the past decade. The Atlanta native had his first major placement on the popular Rich Kids’ single “100 dollar autograph” in 2011. In 2014, “Danny Glover” and “2 Cups Stuffed” established him as a mainstay in hip-hop and his popularity grew to a mainstream level thanks to collaboration mixtapes like Black Portland with Bloody Jay and Rich Gang Tha Tour: Pt. 1 with Rich Homie Quan.
In January 2015, Donovan Thomas was shot and killed at a southwest Atlanta barbershop in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood. He was 26. Thomas was also known as “Big Nut,” and was affiliated with Rich Homie Quan.
Long live nut fly high homie. Think about u everyday big bro. https://t.co/tp09Ny4Vzl
— RICH HOMIE BABY! (@RichHomieQuan) February 25, 2015
Soon after Thomas’ death, Quan and Thug went their separate ways in terms of working on music together. In May, as a part of the many charges Young Thug is facing in the YSL RICO case, renting the car used to kill Thomas is something the artist is also accused of doing.
One of the many reasons Black people had a problem with the creation of an AI rapper using the N-word was the reality of hip-hop is it gives the Black youth an opportunity to change their family’s lives, oftentimes most rewarded by rapping about the times of struggle and taking an illegal route to make ends meet.
“I always use my music as a form of artistic expression, and now I see that Black artists and rappers don’t have that freedom,” Young Thug told fans at Hot 97 Summer Jam. “Everybody please sign the ‘Protect Black Ar’ petition, and keep praying for us. I love you all.”