50 Most Controversial Rappers

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    50 Most Controversial Rappers
    Controversy may as well be hip-hop's fifth element. Omnipresent in today's era, inflammatory statements, arrests and feuds have all come to be expected. At their best, scandals can break the monotony during unexciting times and help drive record sales. On the flip side, tragic incidents have led to jail time and even death.<br /><br />Controversy also seems to come with the territory. There possibly has never been a rap star who hasn't been involved in some sort of drama at some point in their career. The safest of MCs (even Common) have seen their share of bloody headlines. Some rappers, however—whether it's accidental or by design— can't seem to escape the web of controversy.<br /><br /><em>XXL</em> takes a look at the 50 most controversial rappers in hip-hop.—<em>XXL Staff</em>
  • 50. Ludacris
    50. Ludacris
    Chris Lova Lova possesses more comedy chops than most of SNL’s cast, but when he turned his support of President Obama into a freestyle that attacked Hillary Clinton and John McCain, conservatives didn’t find it funny. The DTP chief endured a boycott from Bill O’Reilly and in turn lost a lucrative endorsement deal with Pepsi. The Fox News host continues to bait Luda to this day. Move (on), bitch.
  • 49. Lupe Fiasco
    49. Lupe Fiasco
    The Chicago native has a litany of blunders, from his comments about President Obama (he didn’t vote for him, nor will he vote in the next election, period) to his flailing battle of wits against Bill O’Reilly earlier this year. His worst offense? When he embarrassingly forgot the words to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Electric Relaxation” during a tribute to the Queens group for VH1’s Hip Hop Honors and disparaged his friendship with Q-Tip in the aftermath by saying he never listened to the collective’s catalog.
  • 48. Prodigy of Mobb Deep
    48. Prodigy of Mobb Deep
    Years before the Internet made it easy for a rapper to put his or her foot in their mouth, Prodigy brought the ruckus like a character from the <em>Boondocks</em>. But, luckily for the Web, P later penned a memoir while he was behind bars and his revelations, in particular his crew’s beef with N.O.R.E. and his insinuation that Capone might be a snitch, lit up the blogs. ‘Pone recorded a video threat against Prodigy and the Mobb Deep front man and N.O.R.E. spoke about the incidents in separate interviews, however, the brouhaha faded fast. But P is working on a new book.
  • 47. Lil B
    47. Lil B
    The former Pack rapper raised his profile as a solo artist with his ambient take on music, but when the Berkeley native attempted to increase his mass appeal with a headline-inducing album title, <em>I’m Gay</em>, he found himself between a rock and hard place. Homophobic fans railed against the Based God and GLAAD issued concern over his intent. He later folded like a lawn chair when things got too hot, kinda like he did during that YouTube clip when he got punched in the mouth.
  • 46. Nelly
    46. Nelly
    His smile might make him a Ladies Man, but the St. Lunatic rapper ran afoul of the opposite sex when his “Tip Drill” video drew protests on the campus of Spelman College before Nelly could host a scheduled bone-marrow drive for his, then, ailing sister. The amiable superstar’s swiping of a credit card down the ass crack of a stripper during his video didn’t sit well with the esteemed college’s view of women. No sweat, though, there was no suit.
  • 45. Dr. Dre
    45. Dr. Dre
    The production maestro may barely leave the house enough these days to warrant any controversy, but the headphone hawking Compton native wasn’t always a homebody. Back during his N.W.A days, he made headlines for assaulting female rapper/TV host Dee Barnes and his destructive behavior landed him on house arrest prior to his comeback with the release of <em>The Chronic</em>. Later, he unceremoniously parted ways with Suge Knight and Death Row (not before lambasting Eazy-E and Uncle Luke on record) and went to war with Eminem against rival crews, FCC censors and magazines. Been there, done that.
  • 44.Wyclef Jean
    44. Wyclef Jean
    During the reign of the Fugees, the multitalented Wyclef Jean was instrumental in the group’s success. However, years later, he proved to be just as much of a divider as a unifier as he and both Pras and Lauryn Hill have openly clashed. The gifted musician triumphantly comforted those in his home country of Haiti following a massive earthquake in January 2010. But when the New Jersey transplant attempted to run for president of the island nation his organization’s finances were in worse condition than L-Boogie’s vocal chords. He lost one.
  • 43. Bizzy Bone
    43. Bizzy Bone
    The charismatic Cleveland star helped put Bone Thugs-n-Harmony on the map with his tongue-twisting flow but his emphatic desire to pursue a solo career and his bizarre behavior later on led to in-fighting, a peculiar interview (Houston, <a href="http://www.worldstarhiphop.com/videos/video.php?v=wshha8200fOjlMw87kYZ">we have a problem</a>) and a disbandment of the crew. The original members eventually reunited but Bizzy—who has battled alcohol, legal and mental issues—continues to be estranged from the collective.
  • 42. Ice Cube
    42. Ice Cube
    He might be Mr. Hollywood now, but during the earlier portion of his career Ice Cube caused firestorms as a member of N.W.A (see: “Fuck tha Police”) and later Westside Connection (see: “Bow Down”). As a solo star, he flamed already fractured race relations in Los Angeles following Rodney King’s beating in 1991. That same year, he released <em>Death Certificate</em>, which featured controversial fare such as “Black Korea,” a record that was heavily criticized for inciting violence against the Asian-American community in the wake of a shooting incident in California. The project was pulled from shelves, but helped build O’Shea Jackson’s reputation as the “Nigga you love to hate.”
  • 41. Jay-Z
    41. Jay-Z
    The Brooklyn wordsmith might not spring to mind when one thinks about controversy, but Hov has raised the ire of more than a few people in his illustrious career. Most infamously, he caught a case for stabbing former Notorious B.I.G. business associate Lance “Un” Rivera for allegedly bootlegging Jay-Z’s <em>Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter</em> album. As a businessman, he’s also dealt with his share of legal disputes, whether from residents in Philadelphia recently crying foul over claims Jigga and company are attempting to evict them out of a condo or union delegates protesting at the 40/40 Club in Manhattan insisting the Roc Nation head isn’t using designated laborers to renovate the property. How’d his man say it? Mo’ money, mo’ problems.
  • 40. FAT-JOE
    40. Fat Joe
    Joe Crack from the Bronx is enjoying a fruitful rap career but unfortunately drama is a byproduct of that success. Fat Joe’s Terror Squad was one of hip-hop’s most talented crews but over the years members like Cuban Link and Triple Seis have departed on less than amicable terms. Joe brought Big Pun to the masses but since the rapper’s untimely death he has been feuding with his widow Liza Rios. But the biggest thorn in Joe’s now much slimmer side is 50 Cent, who he has been beefing with on record since the Queens rapper took offense to his appearing on Ja Rule’s hit single “New York.”
  • 39. Waka Flaka
    39. Waka Flocka Flame
    Waka Flocka has said it himself during a number of interviews that lyricism is nowhere near the top of his priorities. While hip-hop purists cry foul, Waka has dropped a gang of hits. Naturally, trouble had followed along with his musical success. In January 2010 he was robbed and shot twice and earlier this year his tour bus was shot at while in North Carolina. The Atlanta by way of Queens rapper’s home was raided by authorities in December 2010 under suspicion of prostitution (he was eventually cleared by a grand jury of any wrong doing). Waka also managed to pose nude for a PETA ad. It’s a party, indeed.
  • 38. Canibus
    38. Canibus
    LL Cool J's undefeated record didn't do much to deter Canibus from battling the Queens legend back in 1997. After Uncle L mistook Bis's shoutout ("is that a mic on your arm, let me borrow that") on "4, 3, 2, 1" for a jab, he had the young upstart rewrite his verse and then dissed him on the record. Bis struck back with the venomous "Second Round K.O." The fiery lyricist also feuded with his former mentor Wyclef Jean after he accused him of spoiling his underwhelming debut album, <em>Can-I-Bus</em>. Bis's fearless name-dropping finally caught up to him when Harlem World's Blinky Blink beat him up at his own album release party for <em>2000 B.C.</em> Bis gratuitously took shots at Blink on the album.
  • 37. Bushwick Bill
    37. Bushwick Bill
    Bushwick Bill has been involved in big time controversy since he got into the rap game. During a drunken argument with his girlfriend he was accidently shot in the head, which led to him losing an eye. A photo taken in the hospital was used as the cover of the Geto Boys’ <em>We Can’t Be Stopped</em> album. Now a born again Christian, Bill recently was facing deportation after he was arrested in Georgia and charged with gun and drug possession last year. Bill beat the case and is not going to be deported to his native Jamaica, but don’t bank on a Geto Boys reunion album.
  • 36. Ja Rule
    36. Ja Rule
    Damn homie. Fans are quick to forget that in the early 2000s Ja Rule was easily one of rap’s biggest stars. Perhaps because of his success, Ja inevitable found himself in tiffs with 50 Cent, Eminem and DMX, amongst others. Also, Ja and his Murder Inc. family kept friendly ties with some infamous crime figures from his Queens hometown, including Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, which in turn left the rapper constantly on the radar of the authorities. In July 2007, in New York City he was arrested for gun possession, on the same evening as Lil Wayne, and just started serving a two-year sentence for weapons charges, as well as tax evasion charges, this year.
  • 36. Mystikal
    36. Mystikal
    Mystikal dropped his fifth album, the platinum certified <em>Tarantula</em>, in 2001. He was one of No Limit’s most prolific and successful acts and still was thriving having departed Master P’s tank a few years prior. But, in January 2004 he was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual battery and extortion. Apparently the New Orleans rapper and two bodyguards forced his hairstylist to perform oral sex on them after discovering she had stolen $80,000 worth of his checks. Released in January 2010, the Man Right Chea is trying to get his career’s momentum back on track and living in Louisiana, as a registered sex offender.
  • 34. diddy
    34. Diddy
    Yeah, Diddy has an amazing track record of making talent household names in the rap game (The Notorious B.I.G., The LOX, Ma$e. etc.). However, just about every artist who made it onto Bad Boy’s roster ends up at least a little disgruntled. Ma$e rededicated himself to Christ, Craig Mack is on the side of a milk carton, the LOX begged him to let them go, Loon is now a Muslim, and the list goes on. Add to that mix the fact that Diddy always seems to be getting sued by somebody and he almost lost his freedom after the infamous Club New York shooting in December that he was involved in which led to then Bad Boy artist Shyne getting hit with a 10-year prison sentence. Not to mention the time he went upside Steve Stoute’s head with a champagne bottle.
  • 33. Lauryn Hill
    33. Lauryn Hill
    No question, Lauryn Hill was the Queen of hip-hop. Gorgeous looks, fierce rhymes and a hypnotic singing voice. Her debut, <em>The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill</em>, won five Grammys, but cracks in her pristine image started showing soon after. The producers on her debut album claimed that L. Boogie improperly took credit for music they helped create (a lawsuit was settled out of court). Then years passed without any new music from Ms. Hill. When she returned it was with an MTV Live 2.0 Unplugged set which mostly panned and left fans confused. Even her love life came under scrutiny thanks to reports of an affair with Fugees frontman Wyclef Jean having at least five children with Rohan Marley, yet never marrying Bob Marley’s son who was rumored to be already married during their relationship. Ms. Hill has been back performing lately, with reviews being mixed, but don’t bank on a Fugees reunion anytime soon.
  • 32. Ma$e
    32. Ma$e
    First he was Murder, then P. Diddy named him pretty. But the slick talking rapper got himself in the sights of many MCs. Jay-Z took him to task; “Check your own videos, you’ll always be number two he rapped on “Ride Or Die,” a clear nod to Puff Daddy and Ma$e’s clip for “Can’t Hold Me Dowm.” But in 1999, right before releasing his sophomore album, <em>Double Up</em>, Ma$e announced he had found religion and was leaving the rap game. After returning to Atlanta to complete his degree, Pastor Betha started his own congregation. After five years out the game, M-A-dollar sign-E had a short-lived comeback in ’04 and even 50 Cent was trying to sign him into the G-Unit fold. But the problem was he was still contractually bound to Bad Boy. Needless to say, that didn’t work out and his comeback ended almost as fast as it started.
  • 31. The_Game
    31. Game
    Just about the only thing Game does more than name-drop is beef with MCs, over the slightest of reasons. Signed by Dr. Dre, and given a career turbo boost by 50 Cent, his precociousness got him unceremoniously booted from G-Unit. Throughout his career, the Compton rapper has also made it a point to throw lyrical shots at Jay-Z. Even his off the record antics can be befuddling. He famously had a butterfly tattooed onto his face, later covered by an LA Dodgers logo. All the drama that surrounds the former <em>Change of Heart</em> participant too often blurs the fact that Game, who just released his fourth full length <em>The R.E.D. Album</em>, has dropped a lot of great records over the years.
  • 30. Young Jeezy
    30. Young Jeezy
    Young Jeezy is the epitome of a thug with a short-yet-effective list of street beefs. There was the one situation with Gucci Mane, which started over the song “Icy.” The track was set to appear on Jeezy’s album but instead made the cut for Gucci’s. After the release of a couple of diss tracks, including Jeezy’s “Stay Strapped” and Gucci’s “Round One” and “Hurry,” the issue turned violent when an affiliate of Young Jeezy’s CTE label ambushed Gucci and a friend, causing Gucci to defend himself, eventually shooting and killing the man. The two have since squashed the beef, but there’s a new situation that’s been brewing, this time with Florida rapper Rick Ross. It began in August 2010, when Jeezy released the freestyle “Death B4 Dishonor,” and rapped, “How you blowin’ money fast? / You don’t know the crew / Oh, you part of the fam? / Shit, I never knew,” over Ross’ “B.M.F.” beat. Although Jeezy said that line wasn’t a jab at Ross, the two have since publicly dissed each other a number of times, including in November 2010 video footage in which Jeezy asked the question, “Where is your favorite rapper at?” while in Ross’ hometown of Miami, and a late 2010 interview with DJ Tim Westwood in which Ross replied, “If you really have an issue, put it on the table and handle it like a G.”
  • 29. Joe Budden
    29. Joe Budden
    The heart of most of Budden’s public beefs are women, including his tumultuous relationships with rapper Somaya Reece, models Tahiry, Gloria Velez and most recently Esther Baxter. It was Baxter who accused Budden of sitting on her during a dispute, which caused her to lose her unborn child. But that’s not all. Budden has also had his share of beefs with rappers, including, Jay-Z (who he blamed for his debut album flopping), Game (the two went at each other over a DJ Clue-ignited beef, but later became friends), Saigon (the beef has been squashed), Royce Da 5’9”, who is now his group mate on Slaughterhouse and Raekwon, who had an altercation with Joey over comments Budden said about Wu-Tang Clan's Method Man.
  • 28. Young Buck
    28. Young Buck
    As short as his time as a mainstream rapper was, Young Buck has seen his fair share of drama. In 2004, he stabbed a man at the Vibe Awards in defense of rapper/producer Dr. Dre, although he somehow avoided trial. Before getting kicked out of G-Unit himself, Buck went head-to-head with rapper Game, who once formed part of the crew but had already been booted out, exchanging a number of diss tracks. Buck also went at Lil Wayne, although he then went on to perform with Wayne on stage and on wax; he insulted DJ Khaled and mocked him after Khaled publicly downplayed <em>Get Rich or Die Tryin’</em>'s classic status; and last but not least, after being dismissed from G-Unit in 2008, releasing a slew of songs against the Unit.
  • 27. Remy Ma
    27. Remy Ma
    In 2007, Remy Ma turned herself in after a shooting that left her friend, Makeda Barnes-Joseph, with a shot to the torso. Apparently, a fight broke out at 4 a.m. outside a New York club when Remy accused Joseph of robbing her of thousands of dollars. Remy pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, assault and criminal weapon possession, but was later charged with witness tampering and assault after an August 2007 incident in which she was accused of having several male friends attack a witness’ boyfriend. In March 2008, Remy Ma was convicted of assault, illegal weapon possession and attempted coercion. She was later acquitted of witness tampering and gang assault but was sentenced to eight years, which she is completing at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in Bedford Hills, New York. She wed her fiancée, rapper Papoose, while in prison in May 2008. Remy is up for a parole hearing in September 2014 with an eligibility date set for January 31, 2015. If denied, she may remain in prison until March 23, 2016, her sentence’s maximum expiration date.
  • 26. C-Murder
    In September 2003, C-Murder, born Corey Miller, was convicted for the 2002 beating and fatal shooting of 16-year-old Steve Thomas at a Harvey, Louisiana nightclub. While awaiting a re-trial after a claim that prosecutors improperly withheld criminal background information, Murder was placed on house arrest. When judge Sassone, the judge on the case, lost her 2008 bid for re-election, prosecutors renewed a request to have Miller return to jail. In 2009, C-Murder pled no contest to two counts of attempted second degree murder, charges that stemmed from a 2001 incident in Baton Rouge in which Miller fired shots from a semi-automatic pistol at the owner and bouncer of a night club. He was sentenced to 10 years with credit for time served. On August, 2009, the murder trial began and C-Murder was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to a mandatory life imprisonment. Two Harvard attorneys are currently helping C with his appeal as he is seeking to overturn the verdict.
  • 25. Busta Rhymes
    25. Busta Rhymes
    The generally jolly Busta hit a brick wall when his bodyguard, Israel Ramirez, was shot dead during a music video shoot in 2006. The dispute was said to have been sparked when G-Unit’s Tony Yayo, who was featured on the track and was on set that day, got into an argument with a rival producer outside of the Brooklyn studio. When police asked Busta to make a statement about what occurred that day, he refused. Instead he released a statement about the friendship he had with Ramirez, referring to him as one of the “rare friends that you come across that you can trust with your life.”
  • 24. Nas
    24. Nas
    The biggest controversy of Nas’ professional career has been his feud with Jay-Z. The long-brewing issues between the two went public in 2001, when Jay-Z released the song “Takeover,” and criticized Nas by calling him “fake,” among other disses. Nas responded with “Ether,” in which he flat out made fun of Jay's looks and mocked him for his constant borrowing of Biggie Smalls's lyrics. In response to “Ether,” Jay-Z released the song “Supa Ugly” on December 2001, which found Jay explicitly boasting about having an affair with Nas’ baby moms, Carmen Bryan. Thankfully, by October 2005, the feud between the two New York rappers had subdued. In fact, during Jay-Z’s I Declare War concert, Jay brought Nas onstage and the two performed “Dead Presidents”—the song samples Nas’ “The World is Yours”—together. The two also collaborated on “Black Republican,” off Nas’ <em>Hip-Hop is Dead</em> album, and “Success,” from Jay-Z’s <em>American Gangster</em> set. Nas also put his foot in his mouth on several occasions. When breaking down the concept behind "Mastermind" off of <em>God's Son</em>, Nas caused quite a stir when he said that he looked up to Hitler. The titles of his last two solo albums, <em>Hip-Hop Is Dead</em> and <em>Untitled</em> (originally called <em>Nigger</em>) also sparked a lot of controversy.
  • 23. Snoop Dogg
    23. Snoop Dogg
    Even as an international star, Snoop Dogg has always gotten himself into major legal troubles. While recording <em>Doggystyle</em> in 1993, Snoop was arrested in connection to the death of a member of a rival gang. Snoop, along with his bodyguard, was charged with murder and was defended in court by Johnnie Cochran. Both were eventually acquitted. Snoop’s been fined and arrested a number of times for marijuana possession and at times has been banned from entering certain countries or performing on certain stages because of it. In ’05, Snoop was sued for assaulting a fan and in ’06. He was arrested after being turned away from British Airways’ first class lounge and vandalizing a duty-free shop in Heathrow Airport in return. The latter year, he was charged with carrying a collapsible police baton in his carry-on bag and was sentenced to three years probation and 160 hours of community service. In 2007, his visa was rejected because of the Heathrow incident. And, most recently, Snoop Dogg’s many legal issues forced San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom to withdraw his plans to issue a proclamation to the rapper.
  • 22. Cam'ron
    22. Cam'ron
    Cam’ron is right up there with 50 Cent as far as rap beefs go. Killa has had issues with most of hip-hop’s upper echelon. Sparked by Jay vetoing Dame Dash appointing him as a VP of Roc-a-Fella Records, Cam dissed Hov on the songs “You Gotta Love it” and “Swagger Jacker.” He attacked Kanye West on “Toast,” a freestyle over ‘Ye’s “Runaway,” and called him a “sucker nigga.” And most famously, Cam’ron had a public dispute with 50 after the G-Unit general said Koch Records, the label which The Diplomats were signed to, was a “graveyard.” Cam responded with “Curtis” and “Curtis Pt. II,” in which he called 50 a “gorilla with rabbit teeth,” among other insults. 50 released “Funeral Music” and “Hold On” in retaliation. And last but not least, Cam even went ahead and beefed with his own group mates, Jim Jones and Juelz Santana, although they have since reconciled.
  • 21. Rick Ross
    21. Rick Ross
    Since his inception into the rap game, Rick Ross has been no stranger to controversy. In 2008, the Smoking Gun website obtained what appeared to be official paperwork that proved Ross was a corrections officer in a Florida prison facility in the early ‘90s. Ross initially denied the allegations, but later admitted that he did work as a CO at some point. Later on that year, DJ Vlad filed a lawsuit against Ross for assault, after claiming that Ross organized an ambush against him for asking questions about his past as a CO. As if that weren’t enough, Ross found himself a nemesis along the way by the name of 50 Cent. The feud started at the top of 2009 apparently because 50 looked at Ross sideways during an event. Ross then released the track “Mafia Music,” which took shots at 50. Not one to stay quiet, 50 responded with “Officer Ricky (Go Head, Try Me),” which was followed by a slew of diss videos, including “Warning Shots,” “Officer Ricky” cartoons and an interview with Ross’ baby moms, Tia. Ross followed up with the release of a track titled “In Cold Blood,” with an accompanying video which portrayed 50 Cent’s mock funeral. In 2010, Ross was again sued, this time by drug trafficker Freeway Ricky Ross for the use of his name. Freeway also threatened to stop the release of Ross’ then upcoming album, <em>Teflon Don</em>. The suit was thrown out of court a month later and the album was released on July 20 as scheduled.
  • 20. Lil Kim
    20. Lil' Kim
    The Queen Bee is no stranger to controversy, whether lying to a federal grand jury in 2005 and doing subsequent jail time, undergoing major changes in her facial appearance or repeatedly dissing Nicki Minaj.
  • 19. Max B
    19. Max B
    Booked on murder conspiracy and robbery charges in 2009, Max was sentenced to a whopping 75 years behind bars. The wavy rapper infamously laid down the hook on Cam’ron’s diss to Jay-Z, “You Gotta Love It.”
  • 18. Slick Rick
    18. Slick Rick
    The Immigration and Naturalization Service attempted to deport Slick Rick back to London in 2001, citing that he was convicted felon (he infamously served five years for attempted murder in the early ‘90s). It would take seven years, and a pardon from a New York governor, for Slick Rick’s troubles with the INS to finally end.
  • 17. Foxy Brown
    17. Foxy Brown
    There was the incident in which she spit on hotel workers in 1997 followed by her assaulting two manicurists in the Chelsea section of Manhattan in 2004. She reportedly assaulted another beauty store technician three years later and was sentenced to prison that same year, serving seven months of a year-long sentence.
  • 16. Shyne
    16. Shyne
    Shyne was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2001 stemming from a 1999 Club New York shooting, which also involved his then-boss Diddy and his girlfriend Jennifer Lopez. But the controversy didn’t end for Shyne-Po following his 2009 prison release. Besides being swiftly deported to his native Belize, as he was heavily criticized for his severe change of flow, which went from drawing shades of Biggie Smalls to a slower drawl delivery.
  • 15. Gucci Mane
    15. Gucci Mane
    Remember the old Beef documentary, which told the story of Gucci Mane killing a home intruder in self-defense back in 2005? Gucci was charged with murder, although the charges were later dropped. Two years ago, he served a one-year prison sentence for violating probation from the 2005 incident. A prior beef with Young Jeezy only beefs up his controversy file. Gucci's also been in and out of prison in the last three years over a series of probation violations.
  • 14. Lil Wayne
    14. Lil Wayne
    There was his alleged addiction to lean and Weezy was released from New York City’s Rikers Island prison facility last November after servinhg eight months for criminal possession of a weapon and marijuana. Let’s not forget the infamous photo of Wayne and Birdman kissing on the lips.
  • 13. The Notorious B.I.G.
    13. The Notorious B.I.G.
    After selling drugs as a youth, Biggie’s career took off when his demo tape landed in the hands of Big Daddy Kane’s DJ and fellow Brooklynite DJ Mister Cee. Tragically, though, Christopher Wallace was gunned down in Los Angeles in 1997, the second mega star victim of the infamous East Coast/West Coast feud after Tupac. Both murders remain unsolved in a cloud of remaining controversy.
  • 12. Big_Lurch
    12. Big Lurch
    Lurch infamously murdered a 21-year-old female in Los Angeles back in 2002 and ate some of her body parts while under the influence of PCP. In 2003, he was hit with a life sentence, which he’s still serving for the heinous act.
  • 11. Eminem
    11. Eminem
    He’s calmed down now, but oh boy did Eminem have his fair share of controversy from various bouts with drugs to the point he almost overdosed–to wars with his mom, including infamously digging her grave in his video for “Cleanin’ Out My Closet.” He also had words with GLAAD over his use of “faggot,” before sharing a Grammy Awards stage with Elton John to quell the situation. Em's also landed in hot water when <em>The Source</em> magazine released old tapes of a young Em using the n-word. He apologized, explaining that he was young and had just broken up with his girlfriend at the time.
  • 10. Soulja Boy
    10. Soulja Boy
    Soulja Boy’s teeny-bopper days were short-lived. Just as his debut album, Souljaboytellem.com, was closing in on a platinum certification, word spread that SB’s breakout hit wasn’t as kid-friendly as it seemed. Apparently the lyrics, “Superman that hoe” were a reference to an odd sexual fetish in which a man ejaculates on a woman’s back and covers it with a sheet. Soon after rumors surfaced that SB, then 17, had impregnated a 19-year-old girl. The gossip turned out to be false. After being accused of single-handedly killing hip-hop by Ice-T in June 2008, Soulja caused a stir passing blame to Nas for hip-hop’s demise. He later apologized for his remarks. SB historically hasn’t shown much respect for his elders since he’s also feuded with Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA and Fabolous. Soulja capped ’08 with a bang when he praised slave masters during a BET Black Carpet interview. “Shout out to the slave masters,” SB told Black Carpet correspondent Toure. ”Without them we’d still be in Africa. We wouldn’t be here to get this ice and tattoos.” Last year, SB revealed that he shot at the robbers that allegedly stole his chain during a home invasion as reported. And ket’s not forget the viral clip in which Kat Stacks claimed to have witnessed Soulja sniff coke and filmed herself with the rapper in his hotel room. More recently, SB found himself in hot water after dissing the U.S. Army troops on a song titled, “Let’s Be Real.”
  • 9. T.I.
    9. T.I.
    T.I. has barely gotten to enjoy the fruits of his multiplatinum labor throughout his career. The king of the south was convicted of assaulting a female deputy sheriff at Tampa’s University Mall in 2003. In 2004, T.I. was sentenced to three years in prison after violating his probation from a drug conviction in 1997. Controversy found Tip behind bars when an inmate escaped from the Fulton County Jail during the filming of a video shoot at the prison. On October 13, 2007, only four hours before the BET Awards, federal authorities arrested Tip on possession of three unregistered machine guns and two silencers and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Though he faced 10 years, he made a plea deal and only served nine months of a year and a day sentence. On September 2010, Tip and his wife Tiny were arrested.
  • 8. Eazy-E
    8. Eazy-E
    The founder of the world’s most dangerous group, N.W.A, Eazy-E got law enforcement’s attention years before Ice-T did. Upon release of N.W.A’s “Fuck tha Police,” the F.B.I. and U.S. Secret Service sent letters to Ruthless Records to voice that they were unhappy with the song. As co-founder of Ruthless Records, Eazy—aided by partner Jerry Heller— took in millions of dollars while members of the group were only compensated $75, 000 for the release of the double platinum debut, Straight Outta Compton. Ice Cube soon left the group over financial disputes, which sparked a feud between Cube and N.W.A. Eazy also began feuding with Dr. Dre after he left the group over financial disputes several years after Cube. Eazy-E announced that he was diagnosed with AIDS on March 16, 1995. He died 10 days later.
  • 7. Ol' Dirty Bastard
    7. Ol’ Dirty Bastard
    ODB’s legal troubles only added to the Wu-Tang rapper’s bizarre mystique. He was convicted of second-degree assault for an attempted robbery in 1993. He was shot in the stomach after an argument with another rapper in 1994. In 1997, his wife accused him of not paying child support for three of his 13 children in over a year. He pleaded guilty to attempted assault on his wife in 1998. He was shot again, this time in the back and arm, in botched robbery at his girlfriend’s house in Brooklyn that same year.<br /><br />Days after getting shot he was arrested for shoplifting a pair of $50 shoes from a sneaker store in Virginia. Dirty’s incidents include arrests for criminal threatening, attempted murder and weapon possession. In 1999, he was arrested for being a convicted felon wearing a bulletproof vest and driving without a license. He was arrested again shortly after for driving violations and possession of crack cocaine. In 2000, Dirt went on the lam for a month after escaping a court-mandated drug treatment facility. Though on the run, ODB spent studio time with RZA and appeared at an album release party for Wu-Tang Clan’s The W album. He was eventually arrested outside of a McDonalds in South Philadelphia.
  • 6. DMX
    6. DMX
    In his heyday, DMX had the rap game on lock. These days, the troubled MC can’t seem to avoid lockdown. X beat rape, sodomy, unlawful imprisonment and assault charges early in his career, but he hasn’t been as fortunate in recent years—winding up in prison for a myriad of drugs and driving offenses. In 2004, the Yonkers rapper was arrested at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on charges of cocaine possession, weapon possession, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and impersonating a federal agent. He was discharged for the offense, but plead guilty to a parole violation, which he’s repeatedly broken in the last seven years. <br /><br />He served 70 days for violating his parole in 2005, was sentenced to 90 days on theft, drug possession and animal cruelty charges in 2009 and spent four months for violating drug probation in 2010. He was sent to jail for 90 days in July 2010 after picking up a reckless driving charge and was arrested for consuming alcohol at a show in November 2010. He was released from Yuma Prison in July, but was once again booked for driving with a suspended license in August. <br /><br />Aside from legal troubles, X has also been involved in his share of feuds. He’s been in battles with Lil Flip, Ludacris and Shawty Lo, but two of the beefs didn’t stay on wax. Legend has it that he and Flip came to blows in Houston in 2005 and he reportedly beat up Ludacris’ partner Chaka Zulu days before the BET Awards in 2007.
  • 5. Luther Campbell
    5. Luther Campbell
    In 1990, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled that 2 Live Crew’s third album, <em>As Nasty As They Wanna Be</em>, was legally obscene and it was momentarily taken off shelves. The verdict was later overturned by the Eleventh Circuit. The controversy helped push the album to a double platinum plaque. The record would be the last project released via Luke’s Skyywalker Records after a lawsuit filed by Star Wars director George Lucas forced the entrepreneur to change his label’s name to Luke Records. Luke’s controversial past continues to haunt him decades later. Earlier this year, Campbell was involved in a heated argument during his campaign to become Miami’s new mayor.
  • 4. ice-t
    4. Ice-T
    He may play a cop on TV, but there was a time when Ice-T demanded 5-O’s head on a platter. “Cop Killer”—the 1992 single from Ice’s metal band Body Count—ruffled the feathers of many higher ups. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle and Tipper Gore all criticized the song while law enforcement groups asked for its boycott. The song was removed from a retail store in North Carolina and the New Zealand Police Commissioner tried to bar Ice-T from holding a concert in Auckland in 1992. Soon after death threats were sent to Warner Bros.—Ice-T’s label—and shareholders threatened to pull out of the company if the conflict wasn’t resolved. Ice eventually pulled the song on his own and left Warner in ’93. <br /><br />Ice has also gone up against a few rappers. He and LL Cool J traded diss records for several years, but the battle stayed on wax. Iceberg was criticized for telling then 17-year-old Soulja Boy to eat a dick after accusing the rapper of single-handedly killing hip-hop in 2008. Though he’s much less controversial these days and more known for his role on <em>Law & Order: Specials Victim Unit</em>, his reality show with wife Coco and being a fan-favorite talking head on VH1, Ice is still remembered for shaking the establishments in ways today’s most rebellious MCs couldn’t fathom.
  • 3. Kanye West
    3. Kanye West
    Kanye West has historically made headlines the unconventional way. He perpetually shies away from beef with others rappers and save for one incident in which he and best friend Don C smashed a paparazzi's camera into the ground at LAX airport, Yeezy never gets arrested. His impulsive nature and bite-my-tongue-for-no-one attitude, however, has ironically repeatedly come back to bite him in the ass. <br /><br />In 2005, Kanye went off the cuff and famously proclaimed, "George Bush doesn't care about Black people" during a concert for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The controversy took place days after the release of West's sophomore LP, <em>Late Registration</em>, and helped drive the album's sales to a whopping 860, 000 in its first week. <br /><br />Yeezy has also become notorious for his award show tantrums. In 2004, he vowed to never return to the American Music Awards after losing Best New Artist to country singer Gretchen Wilson. In 2006, he stormed onto the MTV Europe Music Awards stage after “Touch the Sky” lost Best Video to Justice and Simian’s “We Are Your Friends” clip. The next year, cameras caught ‘Ye raging against the MTV machine after the network allowed Britney Spears—who turned in a deplorable comeback performance—to open the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. There was something a bit comedic about the Louis Vuitton Don’s outbursts up to this point, but Kanye’s interruption of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 VMAs was no laughing matter. West suffered a severe backlash in the wake of the incident. He mounted a comeback with the release of the superb <em>My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy</em>, but found himself vilified once again after he blasted Swift for not defending him during a concert at New York’s Bowery Ballroom.
  • 2. 50 Cent
    2. 50 Cent
    Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s career took off on a controversial note. In a desperate move to avoid label purgatory, Fif released his debut single, “How to Rob”— a song on which the Queens MC played stick-up-kid to rap stars like Jay-Z, DMX, Big Pun, Ghostface Killah and Puff Daddy, just to name a few—in 1999. Hov, Pun and Ghost all fired back. The responses only wet Fif’s appetite for destruction. <br /><br />The following year, 50 and Ja Rule kicked off their long-standing feud. Fif claims the rift started when his friend robbed Ja, while Rule contends the “Back Down” rapper grew jealous of him when he witnessed the attention he received at a video shoot in Queens. Legend has it that the two came to blows in Atlanta and Murder Inc. rapper Black Child stabbed 50 during an altercation at New York City’s Hit Factory Studios in March 2000. Roughly two months later, 50 was shot nine times near his grandmother’s house in Jamaica, Queens.<br /><br />Fif would eventually recover, sign to Shady/Aftermath and resume his war of words with Ja and and Murder Inc. The G-Unit general has also traded barbs with Fat Joe, Nas, Jadakiss, Cam’ron and Rick Ross, taken shots at Jay-Z, Lil Wayne and P. Diddy and kicked The Game and Young Buck out of G-Unit. Fif’s candid ways have also made him a quote monster, which sometimes lands him in the middle of controversy.
  • 1. Tupac Shakur
    1. Tupac Shakur
    In the wake of Tupac Shakur’s death, several rappers on this list (50 Cent, DMX, Ja Rule, Lil Wayne) have drawn comparisons to the rebellious MC—namely because of their penchant for going shirtless and the drama they’ve been involved in. In retrospect, likening anyone to ‘Pac—let alone rappers—is blasphemous at best. Months after portraying the infamous Bishop in <em>Juice</em> in January of 1992, ‘Pac found himself involved in a string of seemingly never-ending scandals.<br /><br />‘Pac pulled out and fumbled his Colt Mustang during a heated exchange after his performance at a festival in Marin City, California in August 1992—resulting in the death of 6-year-old Qa’id Walker who was hit by a stray bullet while riding his bicycle nearby. Ballistics tests later proved that the bullet that killed the boy wasn’t discharged from Shakur’s gun, but the damage was done. ‘Pac wasn’t charged, but he paid Walker’s family an undisclosed settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit and was painted a menace. He shot two off-duty police officers in Atlanta in October 1993. Again, Shakur wasn’t charged. A month later he was accused of sexual assault by Ayanna Jackson—a woman he claims gave him oral sex on the dance floor of a New York night club days before. <br /><br />The allegations did little to slow ‘Pac’s roll. In 1994, Albert and Allen Hughes—the directors of <em>Menace II Society</em>—filed a suit against the rapper for allegedly assaulting them on the set of a music video. In speaking on the incident during an appearance on <em>The Arsenio Hall Show</em>, ‘Pac revealed that he was facing seven lawsuits at once. On November 30, 1994, Tupac was shot five times at New York’s Quad Studios. He would later accuse The Notorious B.I.G. and Sean “Puffy” Combs of setting up the shooting, which contributed to fueling the East Coast/West Coast rivalry and lead ‘Pac to diss Biggie, Puffy and the Bad Boy crew on the inflammatory “Hit ‘Em Up.” A day after being shot, Shakur was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half years in prison. <br /><br />Upon his release from prison, ‘Pac vowed to change his ways, but it was too little too late. Hours after stomping out Southside Crip Orlando Anderson at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, ‘Pac was shot on September 7, 1996. He succumbed to his gunshot wounds on September 13.

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  • mrcool612

    how is immortal technique not on here. he doesnt even talk much about o rielly instead he takes shots at the united states government (rightfully so) G.W. and saying condalezza rice is a new age sally hemmings cmon thats a bit more controversial then young jezzy

  • Khallid

    where’s Public Ememy?

  • me2

    Does anyone realize that 50 cent propelled Kanye into this Icon that he is today, with that sh*t in 07


      YUP!!! Now he is a knock of the real jerk that 50 is. 50 is a real jerk so we appreciate it,. But Ye be faking

    • Garrett

      I realize that you’re an idiot for actually believing in what you posted. Graduation was far better than Curtis, not cause of hype, but good music (No gay ass pun). 50 hasn’t had a great album since (I think we all know which ONE), Ye has like 4…

      • tazzz

        Ye has a wider population of fans because his music is more commercial but 50 is a rapper and thats that, so to us true hip hop fans we would prefer curtis but the other 95% of the music population, kanyes graduation was better.



    • freakey toney


  • tha truth

    Support real hiphop…support RED ALBUM..all day..west coast..game spits real bars..

  • Sha

    Ummm… I hate to say this but this article should read,


    Some of the rappers on this list shouldn’t be classified as ignorant. Some have helped hip-hop tremendously.

    But most of this list reads like a who’s-who of criminality in rap.

    XXL yall lose points for this one. Knowing how stupid people are nowadays some dudes are going to think this sh*t is cool (hell, whoever wrote this is one of those dudes). Meanwhile putting the rappers with the most idiotic behavior is only hurting the culture.

    How about some stuff to uplift? How about “The Smartest Rappers” or “Ten Rappers That Uplift Their Communities”? Although they may be more difficult to find, there are some in existence.

    Yall are no better than B.E.T. with this sh*t.

  • Will Morebucks

    No PE, Immortal Technique, Mike Bigga, Dead Prez? NVM a lot of these niggas controversial for ignant shit, it’d be a disgrace to put these dudes on the list

  • fuckxxl

    wheres brotha lynch?

  • ssgd

    lil boosie you retards, he is def no.1

  • Saydis

    I like this list but why all they pics look like they about to come out with another Def Jam Game jus sayin

  • Annon

    immortal technique isnt on it cuz hes not on a major label u idiot

    • unknown.

      I forgot this was a list of “Controversial” rappers, not big label bitches.

  • Dan

    I agree immortal technique and boosie should be on here

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Diddy should be #1 that bitch. Dont forget the bodies at City College…

  • Makaveli

    Tupac deserves number 1 spot , although he wasnt just only controversial he was revolutionary ……
    50 cent deserves spot 2, he was/is a real gangsta thats for sure, drug selling, etc. trouble with police he started it before all that hip hop shit unlike lil gayne
    oh and kanye well kanye is a dope producer but he is gay…

  • ?!?!kkkdffff

    wheres styles p guys had beef wit jay beanie 50 threw a chair at diddy and stabbed sum guy in the fuckin ass for disrespecting him in a club one time guys a fuckin legend

  • El Tico Loco

    Immortal Technique? Public Enemy? Paris? And if you got Big Lurch and Max B in there you shoulda thrown Steady B and Cool C (the real death row), Chino XL, and the biggest crime of all was omitting KRS one.

  • luis

    lil b???what the fuck are yall smoking dat stupid bitch shouldnt be a rapper he sucks ass, and even more he shouldnt even b on the most controversial rapper wtf is xxl staff smoking?

  • mullu

    what about charles hamilton?? his career ended before it even began.

  • losjcy

    soulja boy more controversial then nasty nas? Wow, who made this list, some 18 year old that doesnt know there hip hop history?

  • Cylla

    Where the fuck is Chuck D?!

  • dar

    yall forgot big l


    There are many other rappers who should be here. But the question is why put out such ignorance. Theres alot of people who buy your magazine, including myself. But this would affect the urban community because you have teens and even young adults who follow and immitate what these rappers do, and it just would make these communities sink even lower. I use to love and represent hiphop. I was born in 83, but im 90′s baby. Im fortunate to have saw and experience when HipHop was golden, and the last real rapper i followed was 50. But now even hes matured, and is all about buisness. I realize now it was always buisness. That some rappers were real and some were frauds. But they made millions for there labels, who dont care if rappers are fake. But not in this era past 2006, to me every one is a fraud, and Im done with it. I aint supporting it nomore and I aint supporting other HipHop sources either. ONE……

  • wdre`


  • makaveli

    Putting Pac between 50 Cent and Kanye West in that picture it’s a crime against the hip-hop culture or what it’s left of it.

  • AnteK

    MAne, were is Charles Hamilton, Lil Boosie and Public enemy at?, other than that good picks

  • Murda Dogg

    No Tru-Life??? WTF????

  • Larry Loc

    Wild list but I am surprised that snoop was so low on this list. I remember how this dude stayed in trouble in the 90s.

  • Autumn

    that was kinda lame. you coulda just named any 50 rappers and put them on that list.

  • ADAM


  • TicNitty706

    Most of the list is str8 but sometimes I wonder about the thought process at the xxl office. Ludacris? Max B? Wyclef? Soulja Boy? LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! & GTFOH!!!!!!!!!!1

  • LT

    CHUCK D???

  • L

    NaS only 24? hmmmm questionable

  • John Starks

    Ye did areested for the camera incident and LAX

  • Young Reezy

    This doesn’t seem like a list of the 50 most controversial rappers. This is more of a list of the 50 rappers that have gotten arrested. thrown in jail or had failed careers.

  • austin

    You guys gotta stop supporting souljatoy, he is a joke, no skill and is garbage, i guess he is controversial in that he is garbage and people wonder why he got that big in the first place..

  • Romeo Vuitton VDC Breed

    All this shit, is out of order…. Solija Boy in the top 10 wow


    Where the fuck is Tyler, The Creator and the rest of OFWGKTA. they’ve pissed off everyone in hollywood within 6 months.

  • Crae-Zee

    youd think yelawolf would be on here. i mean, the whole country-rap shit is a whole new concept

  • Goldfish


  • Soap2016

    i`m surprised Nicki Minaj or Cee Lo Green isnt on here

    • http://www.facebook.com/cenation.knox Cenation Knox

      Rappers you dumb fuck.

  • anonymous

    This list is a load of shit, Where the fuck is Immortal Technique?

  • http://www.facebook.com/cenation.knox Cenation Knox

    Lil Wayne doesn’t deserve to be on this list. He sucks.

  • Tazzz

    EMINEM SHOULD HAVE BEEN 2ND!!! but tupac is obviously the #1 Public Enemy

  • Danny CoCo Hernandez

    Where’s tyler the creator