An undertone of violence pervades some parts of hip-hop culture, and some artists embrace it more than others. Radric Davis, aka Gucci Mane, has built a career on it.
Gucci's breakout year, 2005, was marred when he was charged with murder for shooting an armed attacker. Those charges were dropped, but an assault conviction that year sent him to prison for six months. In 2009, he was back in for violating probation. In January 2011, a battery charge landed him in a mental facility for evaluation. As of this publication, he was expected to be released in June.
Gucci's jail time has always seemed to inspire creativity, with heavy nods to the experience in his albums "The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted" and "The State vs. Radric Davis." After his last incarceration, Gucci promised a fresh start. He said that he understood his actions had consequences, and that he'd learned about being a role model by mentoring younger inmates -- from now on he would be "the coldest in the game". He got a new tattoo, an ice cream cone on his cheek, and planned a new album, "The Ice Cream Man," to testify to his new attitude.
That's good to remember -- but we wonder what having an ice cream cone on his face will do for Gucci's cred.
Fittingly, the crown of our countdown belongs to a man whose fans called him King James -- before they started calling him names we can't print here.