Freddie Gibbs, Army
At 19, Freddie was forced to join the army to avoid jail time.
“I caught a theft charge around the same time my [first] gun charge was still pending and the lawyer I was messing with at the time knew this Army recruiter. So they talked to the judge and the judge granted me this thing called ‘pre-trial diversion’ and what that is, is they make your ass go to boot camp and upon the completion of Army boot camp, your charges are pretty much lifted and you are on probation.”
But his time at boot camp was short-lived after he was caught with marijuana. He was later kicked out but happy because he didn’t want to be there anyway. He described that time as “was one of the worst and most grueling experiences” he’d ever gone through.
Dennis joined the army to fund his rap career. He was based in Tokyo, which was an advantage for him because he’d connect with artists who visited. He’d work in the day, and record and perform at night. He told Complex:
“I did my thing in Japan and I did it on big stages. I was out there for two and a half years. Opening for T.I., Chingy, 112, Erykah Badu, whoever was out there killing at the time. I was working on base. After work I would be in the studio, or rehearsing for the show that night. I used to pass out CDs around the base. I had a dope buzz on the underground hip-hop scene in Tokyo. That’s where my grind took place.”
Canibus is the only artist on this list who actually enlisted in the army after the success of his music career. At 28, Canibus joined the army to escape the music industry. “I wanted to do something that gave me a separate definition from what I had done all through my teens and twenties. I was 28 when I enlisted,” he said in an interview with SOHH.
In 2004, he was discharged for smoking marijuana.