Drugs make any celeb story even more exciting. However, we are not here to talk addictions and tragic overdose-induced deaths. You will explore a far darker chapter of the showbiz world, one where ex-drug dealers explain how they switched the low life for the high life.
While rappers account for the majority of cases, you will be shocked to find actors, athletes, and even country singers. Crack, pot, ecstasy, that’s the awful stuff they merchandised before giving fans a different kind of addiction!
1. Wu-Tang Clan
The Wu-Tang Clan looks like your average drug dealer gang waiting for some junkies to come begging for more.
Indeed, at least some of its members dealt with the awful job of pushing drugs for a living. Raekwon, in particular, is known for his captivating accounts of the illicit trade with hallucinogens.
However, the relationship between the members of the Wu-Tang Clan and the drug world turned tragic on one occasion. Ol’ Dirty Bastard couldn’t keep his act straight and died following an overdose. The tragedy came after many clashes with the law that did more than to give the group a bad, yet very easily marketable reputation.
Wu-Tang Clan went as far as becoming the target of an FBI manhunt. The rappers became prime suspects in the death of 17-year-old drug dealer Jerome “Boo-Boo” Estrella.
On the next page, you get to see another celeb that used to be a drug dealer.
2. Kid Rock
The fact that Kid Rock sold crack to get money as a teen probably fades away when compared to other awful things this controversial artist did over the years.
Even so, let’s take a quick look at his short-lived career as a drug dealer.
Like most other celebs that went down the same path, Kid Rock used a simple philosophy to walk away with a guilt-free conscience. “It’s just a bunch of people that want it, that are going to get it from this guy if I don’t sell it to them.”
Kid Rock started pushing packages at the tender age of 15 when a drug lord forced him to sell crack at a local car wash. Soon enough he had his business kicking and earning him more bucks than his shaky first albums.
What Kid Rock failed to do is obey a fundamental commandment of some the most successful drug dealers. Pablo Escobar would have gone nowhere if he had developed a similar cocaine addiction. Nevertheless, drugs gave Kid Rock the “bad boy” reputation he needed to become a star.
Police caught the next celeb with an impressive quantity of cocaine.
3. Tim Allen
Remember the time when Tim Allen almost earned a life sentence for drug dealing?
If not, it is because you had no idea this funny man once made a living by being a criminal. Allen’s story is by far the worst case on the list.
In October 1978, Allen was arrested in the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport for possession of over 650 grams of cocaine. It might not sound much for someone unfamiliar with how the drug world works.
You would have a hard time finding a price better than $200 per gram. Adjust it to inflation, and you begin to realize why Tim faced such a severe penalty.
Fortunately, the DEA likes the kind of men that rat on their own kind. Tim Allen got his sentence substantially truncated after revealing the names of his associates, who probably still rot in jail as we speak.
The next celeb enjoyed so much the years dealing drugs he went back for more.
4. The Game
The Game (Jayceon Terrell Taylor) is one of the very last drug dealers turned rappers.
That’s not because fans are fed up with the same cliché story, but rather because there is a growing trend to push for drug legalization (especially marijuana).
Taylor is a part of the new wave of crack heads. His reign on the streets, selling drugs and doing illegal gang stuff take us back only as far as the early 2000s.
The Game is the latest musician to invest in marijuana. The 37-year-old confessed that he “felt a responsibility to his family, and the rest of the cannabis community, to do this the right way.”
What you have is a former drug lord saying it is more comfortable to sit in an office and pass you the weed re-branded as recreational and safe to use. The rapper makes use of the recent law in California that established marijuana legal.
Coming up next is one celeb with a huge appetite for getting in trouble. And yes, he sold drugs for a living.
T.I. is one rapper who learned it the hard way that pushing dope is bad.
As a teen, Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. took the streets in the hope of affording a better life for him and his family. The rapper lost his father to Alzheimer and decided to cut some shortcuts through life.
1997 was the year when police finally caught T.I. 18-year-old Tip was close to becoming a Heisenberg of the crack world when his luck ran out. He received seven months in prison and a seven-year probation that he violated repeatedly.
Although T.I.’s focus gradually shifted towards his music career, marijuana and ecstasy remained close friends whom he revisited in times of trouble and inner strife.
Look for a second time at the photo above. Is it just our imagination or T.I. looks like a textbook drug dealer?
On the next page, you will get to meet another famous name who stepped on the wrong side of the law.
6. Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean confessed that he cooked and sold crack throughout his school years.
You are right in having troubles picturing today’s celebs as chaotic teens living the tough life. Bewildering as it is, such a transition proves that everything is possible as long as you make a firm commitment to keep your act straight.
Frank is one of the lucky ones. He didn’t have cops pushing his head against the wall and performing a cavity search for that elusive hidden stash all junkies carry with them.
Pushing drugs was just a part time job for Frank, one is not afraid to mention alongside washing cars, mowing lawns and walking dogs
Everyone loves the next celebs, so authorities kept a blind eye at his drug dealing schemes.
7. Willie Nelson
Willie Hugh Nelson is another heavyweight name that had to do with the world of drug dealing.
If you think that drugs are only for rappers and rock stars, you are in for a shocking discovery. Nothing makes listening to outlaw country music better than smoking a joint. Willie Nelson is arguably the one celeb most active in the fight to legalize marijuana.
The 84-year-old was arrested for possession too many times to make a big deal out of it. There is no longer a secret for state troopers that Nelson’s tour bus is loaded with pot and that any careful inspection can earn him good years behind bars.
Nevertheless, Willie talent offered him a special kind of immunity against the law. One Texan judge allowed him to walk freely with his stashed after paying a small fine and performing “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” in the courtroom. Willie probably fired up a joint in the courtroom’s smoking area just to celebrate his regained freedom.
We continue our journey through the wonderful world of drugs and the famous people that used to sell them on the streets. This time we have an A-list actor!
8. Idris Elba
Idris Elba made use of his real-life experience when he played drug runner Russell “Stringer” Bell in “The Wire.”
The 44-year-old admitted numerous times that his less known past involved drug dealing and struggling to cope with poverty. Idris moved from London to New York in his early 20s, joining an impressive number of celebs who used to push suspicious packages in Times Square.
Elba was a drifter when he first auditioned for HBO. The actor slept in the back of his van and probably contemplated going back on the streets.
Let’s all join hands and say a prayer. The showbiz world destroyed many individuals who dreamt of becoming stars. Only this time, it took Idris Elba and turned his life around.
Dealing drugs taught our next celeb how to manage a business.
For those wondering what makes Jay-Z so successful in business, the answer is surprising.
‘I knew about budgets; I was a drug dealer.’ One of the richest men in the music industry is not shy about admitting his criminal past taught him everything about making money and making them stay.
According to some sources, Shawn Carter used to move about 1 kg of crack cocaine per week, fueling the incredible popularity of the drug throughout the 1990s. We don’t know for sure, but Beyoncé’s husband probably fought turf wars with other celebs who supplied the Brooklyn area.
“You have to have an exit strategy because your window (for dealing drugs) is very small. You’re going to get locked up, or you’re going to die.” Such words coming from Jay-Z proved that the 47-year-old approached the entire operation with a clear head and long-term goals in mind.
Jay-Z understood that a music career is a safer bet and used his years as a street pharmacist just to attract attention to his act.
Check out the drug dealing story behind one of the most famous cars in history.
10. John DeLorean
John DeLorean – the man, the legend, the drug dealer.
Few of you probably heard about the car constructor behind the iconic “Back to the Future” time machine. John DeLorean attempted to create a company that would rival General Motors. He failed after an incredible string of bad circumstances that saw John trying to become a drug dealer.
The case is more than hilarious. DeLorean was in debt and in desperate need of money to keep his business afloat. Therefore, he accepted to deal cocaine worth $24 million. What the car tycoon didn’t know was that the whole thing was a sting operation commissioned by FBI and the DEA.
You will be relieved to know John DeLorean was found not guilty. He managed to prove to the judge that authorities knew of his financial struggle on chose him on purpose. Nevertheless, business partners, as well as the public, continued to view John DeLorean as a drug dealer. His days of building cars were over.
Our list continues with a celeb that will not surprise you. The rapper never made it a secret.
11. Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg is most likely the first name that pops to mind when thinking of celebs that were drug dealers in the past.
Indeed, the 45-year-old rapper has an impressive “work experience” that involves innumerable frictions with the law. It is enough to look at his many music videos. Like others before him, Snoopy talks with pride about his criminal record.
Cordozar Calvin Broadus scores extra points because he used to sell marijuana to Cameron Diaz. The two went to the same high school, and the disclosure came a bit too late for the police to press criminal charges.
Snoop Dogg recently gave his relationship with marijuana a corporate touch. “Leafs By Snoop” includes marijuana flowers, concentrates, and edibles and marks the first time a celeb gets involved in the wonderful world of legal recreational drugs.
“Smoke weed every day” is a piece of rap lyrics that evolved to become one of the best punch lines in drug marketing.
Check out another famous actor who got busted for selling drugs on the streets.
12. Mark Wahlberg
Mark Wahlberg was quite a nasty fellow before turning into a adored A-lister.
Troubles began when Mark dropped out of school at age 14 and started hanging out with the wrong crowd. Like most teens, he did not resist the temptation of drugs and was soon dividing his time between dealing and consuming cocaine.
A 45-day jail sentence was enough to get Wahlberg back on track. It’s pointless to say that once acting and modeling contracts came his way he gave up the old ways. Even though Hollywood is not exactly church when it comes to keeping addictions away, Mark Wahlberg completely rehabilitated himself.
You could say that next rapper was notorious for dealing drugs.
13. Notorious B.I.G.
New Yorkers buying crack back in the 1990s from a chubby fellow going by the name of Biggie Smalls probably fantasize about going back in time and asking for an autograph on the bag.
The Notorious B.I.G is arguably one of the greatest rappers we ever had, one that continued his drug dealing business until the very end. It’s probably not news that The Notorious B.I.G. died aged 24 at the hands of a drive-by shooting.
Christopher George Latore Wallace first started dealing drugs at the age of 12. Five years later, he was a high school dropout. Biggie continued his involvement with drugs well into his musical career, part as a hobby, and part as wanting to offer his daughter the life he never lived.
The rapper extracted incredible inspiration from his trade and released songs with catchy titles like “10 Crack Commandments.” We assume the first one is “Thou shalt have no other drug dealers before me.”
It seems that even NBA superstars feel like augmenting their earnings with some drug cash.
14. Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson did his fair share of drug dealing at the start of his career, an accurate prediction for the troubles that would later come.
It all started back in 1997 when Iverson was charged with possession of marijuana. The incident occurred just one year since Iverson joined the NBA and after him receiving the “Rookie of the Year” award.
The basketball player was again dragged in the muddy waters of drug trafficking when his Mercedes took part in an exchange busted by the police. Although Iverson did not participate, the fact that close friends of him were involved was good enough.
We all know what followed. Iverson climbed at the top of NBA just as fast as he went down to personal bankruptcy. Reports of him begging for change outside a mall in Atlanta proved that the former NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) lost everything and is set to take back his old job.
Check out the reason they say you first have to be a drug dealer before writings good raps.
15. Fat Joe
The world of rap has always been in close connection with the street crime, and the story of Fat Joe is another example that dealing drugs is a rewarding first job for aspiring musicians.
We borrow you a time machine to go to the less glamorous Bronx of the 1990s. However, don’t just ask junkies on the street for instructions on how to find Fat Joe. Back then the rapper went by a different nickname, one pretty suggestive for his trade – Joey Crack.
Let’s make it clear. Joseph Antonio Cartagena (Joe) wasn’t selling cocaine for the thrill of not knowing whether we will return home alive at the end of the day. No, he was doing it to support his family at a time when the Latino community had a very hard time fitting in.
It was Joe’s older brother who instructed him on how to make the difference between your stash and the one that is supposed to pay the bills.
The next story on the list will leave you speechless.
16. Lil’ Kim
Lil’ Kim admitted on a couple of occasions that she hit the back alleys of New York’s Brooklyn neighborhood in an attempt to supplement her modest earnings as a startup rapper.
However, Kim’s off the record drug dealing is nothing compared to what her boyfriend did. Damion ‘World’ Hardy dominated the city’s criminal skyline throughout the 1990s.
The man Lil’ Kim dated ruled the infamous drug gang called Cash Money Brothers (pretty suggestive). Damion was found guilty of ordering six killings. He is now serving six consecutive life sentence.
Going back to Kim, you could say she dodged a bullet that had her name written in bold on it. She dedicated herself to music just in time to avoid trial as accomplice.
Lil’ Kim is a now a brand worth tens of millions. Dating a legendary drug dealer offers you not only the badly needed place in the spotlights but endless material for your rap music.
Only God knows how the next rapper avoided the cuffs for selling dope.
17. Busta Rhymes
Busta Rhymes earned his first bucks as a crack dealer before finally committing his life to rap music.
The 44-year-old will never forget the days he hustled his way out of poverty. In the early 1990s, Busta was still living with his mother, who worked long hours as a receptionist. Not a promising start for one of the most successful names in the industry!
The streets became a second home for Rhymes, whose entourage obviously included junkies, dealers, and mafia kingpins. East Coast hip hop was deeply tangled in the criminal world back then, and it is a known fact that most rappers were part-time thugs.
You could say that stepping outside the law by dealing cocaine gave Busta Rhymes the kind of experience he needed to make his verses sound more convincing. It’s not the bling on your neck that makes you a rapper, but the intimate knowledge of organized crime.