10 Best Rappers To Drop Albums While In Jail – Penitentiary Chances

Slick Rick Behind Bars (1994)

When Slick Rick dropped his debut album, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, in 1988, he had the game on lock. But by the time his third album dropped in 1994, the tables eventually turned and it was Ricky D who was under lock and key due to the second degree attempted murder charges he caught in 1990 after shooting at his own cousin. Behind Bars was an appropriate title for the album released on Def Jam. The tracks, produced by the likes of Prince Paul, Warren G, Pete Rock and Vance Wright, were all recorded before Rick’s sentencing, four years prior.

To make up for the fact that Rick wasn’t able to promote the project, Def Jam shot an animated video for the single “Behind Bars” and got a lookalike to play the Ruler in the clip for “Sittin’ In my Car.” Overall, the album received a lukewarm response, but did provide some memorable moments.

2Pac Me Against The World (1995)

Nominated for Best Rap Album at the 38th Grammys, Me Against The World remains one of Pac’s most revered albums—if not his most. However, it came at a point of turmoil in his life. In late November 1994, he was shot at Quad recording studios in Manhattan; the following day, he was convicted of sexual assault stemming from a 1993 incident. ’Pac then recorded much of the album in the short time frame in between his conviction and sentencing, which occurred in February 1995.

A number of videos for singles were shot, including “Dear Mama,” “So Many Tears” and “Temptations,” but none included Shakur. The man was already a star, but this album, as well as the legal troubles and incidents that occurred leading up to its release, launched him to the superstar status he held until his untimely death in 1996. The 15-track disc also made 2Pac the first artist to have a No. 1 album while in prison. It was him against the world, baby.

Capone-N-Noreaga The War Report (1997)

C-N-N’s debut disc The War Report is considered a classic amongst many hip-hop aficionados, an amazing accomplishment considering Capone (one-half of the duo) was locked up for much of the recording and the album’s release. Amid street bangers like “L.A., L.A.” and “T.O.N.Y. (Top of New York)” were phoned-in jail skits (“Capone Phone Home”) and up-north dedications (“Live On, Live Long”).

Without his partner-in-rhyme, Noreaga was forced to carry on The War Report’s promo for self. Check the split video for “Closer (Remix)/Driver’s Seat” where N.O.R.E. appears by his lonesome. ‘Pone may have missed out, but it was the fans who ultimately won. Still, one could only wonder what the album’s fate would have become if the group was in full force.

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  • Teddy

    whoever didnt vote 2pac kill yo self

  • spm

    Im from houston and when spm got locked up he was just starting to have some cross over success, so he had a decent amount of fans. Also, houston has alot of hispanic people and hes problably the most famous hispanic rapper at the time, especially from houston, and he had alot of hardcore fans. fans already buy gangsta rap albums from a prison guard (rick ross) and r&b albums from men who do terrible things to young girls (r kelly & chris brown)

    • El Tico Loco

      Guess SPM is no exception look how he got more votes than Slick Rick, Shine, and Pimp C.

  • Sha

    Tupac. No doubt.

    But I would love to see a new list.


    Now that’s a hard list to compile.

    • robmarkman

      haha Talib Kweli LOL

    • zac

      1. Jay – Z
      2. Eminem
      3. Birdman
      4. Gudda Gudda
      5. Nicki Minaj
      6. Twista
      7. T-Pain
      8. Nelly
      9. BlokzZ
      10. All Members of Hilltop Hoods

  • Eddie Blanco

    THUG LIFE BITCH!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous


  • SuperFLY

    Here goes XXL again riding lil’ waynes dick… XXL must be ran by 17 year old girls or somethin’.

  • Kenny D

    Who were the 31 idiots who voted Gucci Mane? Probably a bunch of girls. Everyone knows Pac was best hands down. Me against the World was his best album PERIOD!


    Ya niggas missed Keith Murray, that shit he dropped when he got locked was official. I don’t remember the exact name of it but it was some shit like the first . THe most beautifullest something. That shit was tight though

  • caino

    Cant believe u have SPM on this shit!!

  • nasjiggapac

    pac no contest ! only hoodrats and dumb niggas voted for cucci mane

  • Dick B.

    Hahaa I knew some people thought Gucci is better than Pac. Are we voting for the best album or rapper though? Either way it’s Pac.

  • Jon Dog

    XXL, grow the fuck up already!

  • Q461

    I gotta say 2pac. That album is also probably his crowning achievement. Def a classic.

    Crazy how jail fucks with cats careers though.Slick Rick’s first album was a classic. He has had a brief career, but is still one of the greats. Imagine if he had more records. Shyne’s career sidelined 10 years during his bid.

  • Anonymous

    Khadafi dropped “Lethal Weapon” with Trez while locked up, also “The Death Of Tragedy”. Plus Prodigy dropped “HNIC 2″ and “Product Of The 80′s” and hes still locked. These 4 albums SHIT on all these other lames careers, easily. And Khadafi KILLED “War Report” but XXL dont mention him cuz XXL a buncha suits chasin fame.

    • http://xxlmag jayruckNYC

      Cosign. Trag MADE that album. Just listen to CNN hooks since then. Listen to the hooks on Against All Odds or Thug Matrix. Trag definitely had a huge hand on what The War Report became. For some reason Trag don’t get credit but CNN ain’t been the same since he left.

  • TicNitty86

    Why even talk about some ig’nant azz crap like this?

    Half those mofo’s have no true talent anyway.

  • TicNitty86

    Why even talk about this ig’nant azz crap?

    Half these mofo’s have no true talent anyway…

  • http://xxlmag jayruckNYC

    I only looked at the list to make sure Beans was there. If dat album wouldnt have been on the list XXL would have dropped the ball big time. Pac gotta be number one on this list. Me Against The World to me is Pac best album. None of that shock value east/west bullshit just real songs. Gotta love it. Beans gotta be a close second tho. The War Report third and Slick Rick fourth. I’m surprised Gucci is gettin so many votes. lol

  • Darth H8ter

    Yuck, SPM i sa sick individual if his Wikipedia page is to be believed.

  • loyal 2 tha game

    whoever voted gucci instead of pac is obviously young ass underaged cats ‘new 2 tha game’ 4real . .

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nz77ATFVhs&feature=player_embedded Smooth Operateur

    This vote makes me happy. At least 2Pac gets its right due comparing to Gucci Mane. Me Against The World is the only “work of art” among those albums. Pimp C, C-Murder, Shyne’s albums have all been fabricated while they were absent so they can’t really be counted as a proper work. CNN’s was a cool album but Capone was only one of the ingredients. Beanie Siegel should come 2nd…

    There are plenty of undergound rappers like SPM who were in jail and dropped albums, so why talking about him especially, trying to look like you know underground music????

    OH, AND WHAT ABOUT C-Bo (I can’t remember how many times he was in jail while dropping great albums) and Z-RO? “The Life Of Joseph Mc Vey” and “Still Livin” should be just behind “Me Against The World”, but, like someone said, XXL’s writers are 17 years old girls lol

  • nishan

    tu pac the real only rapper till now no bullshit and every thing true what the fuck all ya knew about pac shit nth listen to his cronic album and all of his song ya al know who was iridgt and who was wrong me frm nepal may be the most of u neva heard thename of ma country but me frm so far i know how rue he was if he had been alive yo nigga no one should be twistd in the game no after math chain he should have stopped it unfortunately he stood in path he died because for all of u nigga

  • thizz mountain

    the fact that mac dre isnt number 1 or even up there just shows how hard ur fuckin up