Legendary Struggles of Hip Hop Artists with Criminal Records

Where the mind is without fear, the melody can be made in peace. Some of the Top Hip Hop artists’ struggles and mental illness that makes for great stories for Oscar-winning films.

How often we hear stories of mental illness, depression, and anxiety for top artists and celebrities. Amongst these special ones are the Top Hip Hop Artists have gone through such ailments and extreme struggles and coming out of it victorious. They are highly talented, skilled, intelligent and therefore a lot more ambitious.

More so ‘Hip Hop Artists’ Struggles’ tell stories that are epic and offer immense learning and inspiration. In recent past multiple Hip Hop Artists’ struggles have surfaced – here’s DKODING some of these stories and ‘bet’ all of them have all ingredients to be Oscar-winning films!

10 Top Hip Hop Rappers And 10 Oscar Winning Films

“If Hip Hop’s to die before I wake up, roll in every station and murder the DJ.” Hip Hop is not just a genre, it is a religion. Every one of the top hip hop artists, the meaning to live for many and their source of inspiration to escape poverty. While the hip-hop world has enlisted many emotional rags to riches stories, some stand out.

Struggles and their epic life stories top Hip Hop artists’ with criminal records:

It’s amazing to see , how each one of them escaped the hood life and prison to emerge as celebrities and role models for millions, epitomizing the struggle of ages whose biopics would be Oscar-winning movie scripts.

#1 Jay- Z

JayZ | Newsline | Image Credits: DKODING Studio

Shawn Corey Carter, professionally known as Jay- Z is an American rapper songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, and record executive. He has become one of the most successful musical artists in history, as well as the owner of his own entertainment company, clothing line, record label, and more. 


Jay Z grew up in Marcy, a housing project in Brooklyn, New York City. In 1982 his father left him with her mother and his three older siblings. The father issues haunted Jay-Z for decades.

Video Credits: Hov Movies

Jay-Z didn’t have a drum kit or Pro Tools growing up, but that didn’t stop him from making beats to rap over (he used his fist and a kitchen table). He’d even read the dictionary cover to cover on multiple occasions, scouring for better rhymes.

The rapper was turned down by every label in the industry. Instead of stopping he started his own record label. He’d even read the dictionary cover to cover on multiple occasions, scouring for better rhymes. He was able to start telling his story through his music.

Top hits

Jay-Z continues to leave his mark on the world and is counted among the top Hip Hop artists. He is a fan favourite with material favored by the masses. He has charted 72 entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with 19 songs going into the top 10, the most top 10 hits among rap acts.

His top hits:

“Suit & Tie” Justin Timberlake feat. Jay-Z

Video Credits: Justin TimberlakeVevo

Rihanna – Umbrella (Orange Version) ft. JAY-Z

Video Credits: RihannaVevo

Criminal Record

His neighborhood wasn’t the best, crime was raging. At the age of 11, he went to the streets and started selling the same drugs. He also explained that during these years, everyone around him was using crack, but he never touched the drugs.

Video Credits: HOV Videos

He even shot his brother in the shoulder once during an argument.

#2 Snoop Dogg

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Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr., professionally known as Snoop Dogg is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, media personality, entrepreneur, and actor. He is a West Coast rapper who was evolved under the guidance of Dr. Dre in the early 1990.


He started making music as a way out of his troubles and recorded early demos with his cousin Nate Dogg and friend Warren G as 213.

Video Credits: Evan Carmichael

A track on one of these came to the attention of Dr. Dre who invited Snoop — then rapping under the name Snoop Doggy Dogg — to audition. 

Top hits

Snoop’s first album, Doggystyle (1993), climbed its way to the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s hip-hop. He also reached Top 200 charts, based in part on the success of the singles “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” and “Gin and Juice.” Snoop Dogg is a global star and definitely one of the top Hip Hop artists of all time.

Video Credits:

Criminal record

Snoop was arrested several times for drug possession and spent time in prison. He was also associated with the Rollin’ 20 Crips Gang.

Video Credits: Before they were famous

 After graduating from high school, he was arrested for possession of cocaine, and for the next three years was frequently gone in and out of jail.

#3 Eminem

Eminem-Top-Hip-Hop-Rapper-Entertainment-Hollywood-DKODING (1)
Eminem | Newsline | Image Credits: DKODING Studio

Marshall Bruce Mathers III, professionally named Eminem is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, record executive, film producer, and actor. He is labeled as King of Hip Hop. He is one of the greatest and most influential rappers of all time.


Eminem’s father Bruce left the family and moved to California. He was raised by his mother who was a drug addict. He was picked up and bullied for his race. His life already has a biopic which could have developed like some Oscar-winning movie scripts.

Video Credits: Interesting Vines

After dropping out of school, he chose to rap. At times of his performance, he was rejected for being white by the rapper community. Eminem took the revenge for this criticism with his music later on.

 In 1995, Eminem worked hard on his first album – Infinite which failed to sell well in the market. Failure of the album made Eminem commit suicide, but he got admitted and was saved.

Top Hits

After coming back from recovery he started working on a new album, ‘The Slim Shady Ep’. With this EP, Eminem could finally net a rapper cum producer Dr.Dre, who signed Eminem on a contract deal. This opportunity boosted his confidence.

Video Credits: WatchmojoTV

He has earned seven Billboard 200 No. 1s, five Hot 100 No. 1s, countless of awards, and respect from just about everyone in hip-hop. Even the best count him as one of the top Hip Hop artists.

Criminal record

In the year 2000, Eminem got into trouble with Douglas Dail from ICP and John Guerra, the man who kissed his ex-wife Kim.

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He was charged for carrying a concealed weapon, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, and with brandishing a firearm a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail.

#4 Ice Cube

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O’Shea Jackson, known professionally as Ice Cube, is an American rapper, actor, producer, director, and writer. He gained popularity in 1984 as a member of the hip hop group C.I.A. He then formed a group N.W.A, alongside Dr. Dre and Eazy E where he gained extreme notoriety.  After some hiccups and struggle, one of the great hip hop artists Ice Cube was enjoyed success as a solo artist and actor.


Ice Cube was raised by his mother Doris who worked as a hospital clerk, while his father Hosea was a groundskeeper at the University of California, Los Angeles. His story with NWA counts for a definite slot in Oscar-winning movie scripts.

Video Credits: Sports Illustrated

The cube was able to navigate the tricky landscape that was his neighborhood, which became increasingly shaped by drugs, guns, and violence. 

Top hits

His first solo album, ‘AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted’, was a hit that peaked at number 6 on the U.S. ‘Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums’ chart in 2007. The album was listed as one of the ‘1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die’.

Video Credits: IceCubeVevo

His second album, ‘Death Certificate’ peaked at the number two position on the ‘Billboard 200’. This album also reached the number one position on the ‘Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums’ chart.

Criminal Record – None

#5 50 Cent

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Curtis James Jackson III, professionally known as 50 Cent, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, television producer, entrepreneur, and investor. Jackson became one of the world’s best selling rappers and rose to prominence with East Coast hip hop group G-Unit.


If we had enough dough, one of the Oscar-winning movie scripts to choose from is this man. He was raised by a single mother in the neighborhood of Jamaica. His mom worked as a drug dealer and died in an unexplained fire when Jackson was only eight years old; after her death, he was raised by his grandmother.

Video Credits: Breakfast Club Power 105.1FM

He later began pursuing a musical career and in 2000 he produced Power of the Dollar for Columbia Records, but days before the planned release he was shot and the album was never released.

Top Hits

50 Cent soared to fame with his 2003 debut album ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin.” The hip hop artist and businessman who became famous for his streetwise raps and rags-to-riches life story.

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50 Cent’s debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, was produced by Eminem and Dre. It was a massive commercial success that eventually sold 9 million units

Criminal Record

50 Cent was arrested for selling four vials of cocaine to an undercover police officer. He was arrested again three weeks later when police searched his home and found heroin, ten ounces of crack cocaine and a starter’s pistol. 

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Although he was sentenced to three to nine years in prison, he served six months in a boot camp.

#6 Nicki Minaj

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Onika Tanya Maraj, professionally known as Nicki Minaj is a Trinidad and Tobago-born rapper, singer, songwriter, actress, and model. Minaj has been called one of the most influential female rap artists of all time.


Nicki even moved to New York, she was bring raised in Trinidad and Tobago by her grandmother while her parents moved to America looking for a new life for the family.

Video Credits: Pinkgasm Visuals

Minaj’s father was a severe drug addict with a long history of violence. At one point, he set fire to the family’s home in a failed attempt to kill Minaj’s mother.

Those early struggles, Minaj has said, helped fuel her drive to rise 

Top Hits

Minaj released her first studio album, Pink Friday (2010), which peaked at number one on the US Billboard 200 and was ultimately certified triple platinum.

Video Credits: WatchMojo

Her second album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded was released in 2012 and debuted at number one in several countries.

Criminal Record

Nicki was arrested by NYPD cops in December 2003 for criminal possession of a weapon. Just for her oomph factor, Nicki would go into the list of Oscar-winning movie scripts.

Video Credits: Hollyscoop

At that time she was 20 and was known as Onika Maraj and worked as a Red Lobster waitress.

#7 Kendrick Lamar

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Kendrick Lamar Duckworth is an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer. He is one of the most skillful and successful hip hop artists of his generation.


Kendrick Lamar’s father had been associated with the Gangster Disciples gang. In the 1980s crack trade and West Coast gang presence increased, Lamar grew up around that, but he seemed more influenced than harmed by it.

Video Credits: MTV

Kendrick still has a number of battles one of them dealing with depression and what he would call his innermost demons.

Top Hits

Kendrick’s certified double-platinum fourth album DAMN. Postured itself at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 solidifying the LP as his highest-ranked yet. But there’s no doubt that Kendrick is on his way to becoming one of the top Hip Hop artists in the world.

Video Credits: WatchMojo

He has received five Grammys, including a sweep in the major rap categories.

Criminal Record – None

#8 Nipsey Hussle

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Ermias Joseph Asghedom known professionally as Nipsey Hussle was an American rapper, entrepreneur, and community activist. Hussle was fatally shot outside his store “Marathon Clothing” in South Los Angeles.


Video Credits: Nipsey Hussle

Hussle, 33 was raised in the Crenshaw neighborhood of South Los Angeles with his brother Samiel and his sister Samantha. He left home and joined the local Rollin 60’s Neighborhood Crips, a sub-group of the larger Crips gang primarily based in his home neighborhood of Crenshaw.

Top Hits

VIdeo Credits: Hip Hop Best List

He was nominated for a Grammy Award for his first studio album Victory Lap. From the first project to his last, and all the loosies in between, these are the ten songs that best represent Nipsey Hussle’s legacy.

Criminal record

He was a Los Angeles-based gang member-turned-rapper who saw many of his friends fall victim to street violence.  A man who had confronted Hussle earlier his death was arrested and charged with murder. Definitely one of the Oscar-winning movie scripts.

#9 Drake         

Drake-10 Top Hip Hop Rappers And 10 Oscar Winning Films

Aubrey Drake Graham is a Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur. The multi-Grammy-award-winning rapper Drake has had two shots at fame and nailed them both. 


Drake was raised by biracial parents who divorced when he was 5. He first came to prominence in the teen soap Degrassi: The Next Generation in the role of Jimmy Brooks, a wheelchair-bound character he played for seven years.

Video Credits: Notable Interviews

After leaving the show he became one of the biggest rappers on the planet after signing a deal with Lil Wayne’s label Young Money Entertainment.

Top Track

Drake released his debut studio album Thank Me Later in 2010, which debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and was soon certified platinum.

Video Credits: WatchMojo

His next two releases, 2011’s Take Care and 2013’s Nothing Was the Same, were critically and commercially successful, this earned him his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.

Criminal record

The rapper Drake is under investigation by Houston Police after he allegedly threated a woman he had a sexual relationship.

#10 Lil Wayne

10 Top Hip Hop Rappers And 10 Oscar Winning Films

Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., known professionally as Lil Wayne is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record executive, entrepreneur, and actor. At the age of 12, he was discovered by Birdman and joined Cash Money Records as the youngest member of the label.


Unfortunately, Lil Wayne’s parents divorced when he was 2, and his father permanently abandoned the family.

Video Credits: Mycomeup

Although Wayne and rapper Birdman have a father-son relationship and Birdman calls Carter his son, Wayne’s biological father.

Top Tracks

At age 15 Wayne joined the Hot Boys alongside B.G., Turk, and Juvenile. By 17, he unleashed his debut album The Block Is Hot, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and later earned platinum status.

Video Credits: WatchMojo

Lil Wayne launched his solo career with Tha Block Is Hot (1999). The title track was a big hit, and the album reached the top of the hip-hop charts.

Criminal record

One of the all-time Oscar-winning movie scripts. He sold crack for a time and accidentally shot himself in the chest. Wayne told “It was like a chopper hit me. But the bullet went straight through, and I bounced back in two weeks.” 

In another instance of struggle, great hip hop artist Lil Wayne was arrested in 2007 after his first headlining concert in New York and charged with one count of criminal weapons possession and one charge of criminal possession of a loaded weapon.


In conclusion, It’s most appropriate to say that these Top Hip Hop Artists’ struggles are inspiring stories and great lessons of life through their struggles and make amends.

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