This week in big rap no-nos: Fat Joe faces the possibility of two years in the slammer after pleading guilty to evading more than $700 grand in taxes. Meanwhile, Nasty Nas, still suffering under the liens and garnishments of various federal and state taxman boot-heels, is in some even deeper shit now: he's being sued for $10 million by that concert promoter who popped up last year with the following shocking tale of woe.
At the end of 2011, Nas failed to appear at a New Year's Eve concert in Angola — after allegedly pocketing a $300,000 fee — and the show's American promoter was kidnapped at gunpoint by the hired ruffians of some Angolan concert kingpin. The promoter was not allowed to leave the country for 49 days, during which time he claims he lost his home and his business. For his part, Nas told MTV News that the promoter failed to arrange flights and visas in time, so the show was cancelled and the fee returned. I believe Nas, but I worry he'll lose this one — we all know that the Man loves nothing more dearly than sticking it to rappers.
T.I.'s latest record, Trouble Man, has a fantastic cover. Illustrated in the style of a vintage movie poster, it depicts the rapper holding up a handgun adorned with classic icons of male mischief: dice, fast cars, beautiful women. There's just one problem (well, aside from the fact that firearms are exceedingly unpopular accessories at the moment): after serving time in prison for federal weapons charges, the one thing T.I. definitely should not be caught doing is holding a gun.
In an interview with MTV, T.I. fired off a tongue-in-cheek barrage of excuses and denials for the gun image, telling rap journo Sway that it was "a metaphorical, creative, conceptual gun that represents all of the things in life that can get a man in trouble in the form of what one can consider a gun, however, not a real gun. And that was not even a real pose, that was an illustration. So if it was a real gun that would've just been a real gun that they drew in the hand of someone that looks very similar to T.I." For a so-called "trouble man," T.I. sure sounds like a guy who really, really doesn't want to get in any trouble, right?
But wait — T.I. was whistling a very different tune during a Hot 97 interview around the same time. When the conversation turned to the hot topic of gun control, he said, "Right now, there's criminals that can't have assault rifles or pistols but they got them and they know they can't have them." (T.I.'s prison term stemmed from, among other things, a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.) "So if they ban them, what, it's gonna be double illegal for me now? I'm still gon' carry mine." Double illegal? There's the Trouble Man we were promised!
For a more nuanced opinion on the gun-control question, we turn to rapper/complete idiot Gunplay, who may be best known for getting himself videotaped committing armed robbery, and for having — and I'm not kidding about this — a swastika tattoo on his neck ("It's just my symbol of genocide to the bullshit. I came to Nazi that shit. Put all the fake motherfuckers in the gas chamber")