The hip-hop community's relationship with law enforcement is one that is lengthy, complicated and, for the most part, strained. Born out of impoverished communities with little in the name of opportunity, hip-hop has always gravitated more to the hustler and the street-wise rather than the straight-laced and law-abiding, which has caused friction with the powers that be. It's no secret that law enforcement has a history of looking down on the very aesthetic that has helped hip-hop culture transcend its humble beginnings and become a global super power.

One of the tactics that was initially used in an attempt to stunt hip-hop's growth was for cops to infiltrate the root of the action, the parks, clubs, basements and other places that housed hip-hop-centric activities, and shut them down or use their presence to make patrons uncomfortable. Arrests and the harassment of figures in hip-hop became a norm, but the higher the stakes became, the more law enforcement bore down on hip-hop, accusing its top figures of criminal activities ranging from narcotics trafficking to money laundering and prostitution. This resulted in investigations and full-blown task forces dedicated to unearthing any dirt on rappers or their associates that they could find to justify the heat.

While in some cases, such as the investigation into the Black Mafia Family, who were subject to police raids and search and seizures, where there was smoke, there was indeed fire, more than not. One example of the latter is the 2016 police raid of J. Cole's recording studio in North Carolina, which was spurred by neighbors' complaints and captured on camera. The incident, which inspired Cole's song "Neighbors," was ultimately unnecessary and excessive in nature, and was the latest reminder of hip-hop's history with police raids and how they've affected artists and the culture itself.

From J. Cole to Young Thug and more, here are 22 instances in which police raids occurred in hip-hop.

  • 1