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You have to work hard for years before you become a famous rapper (check out these 10 Most Amazing Yearbook Photos Of Rappers). It’s especially challenging in this economic climate (see the 7 Things Rappers Can Talk About In The Recession). Today, the media machine is so desperate for the next rap superstar, they’ll paint every aspiring hip-hop artist as “gangsta,” even if the artist is a nurse ballerina Hare Krishna, like the artists below.

10. Tupac Shakur

Job: Ballet Dancer

This is real. The best-selling Death Row rapper studied dance. His crowning achievement was a performance as the Mouse King in “The Nutcracker.” So, not only was he gangsta, he was Sharks vs. Jets gangsta – that’s Original Gangsta!

9. Rick Ross

Job: Prison Guard

Known for rapping about life of the streets and drug trafficking, Rick Ross spent 18 months as a prison guard. Here’s a tip, Rick. It doesn’t count as “drug trafficking” if you obtain your stash through cavity searches.

8. Plies

Job: Nurse

The recent hit maker has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and spent time caring for patients at Mayfield Hospital. Apparently, patients get suspicious and uneasy when their nurse is wearing tons of expensive jewelry.

7. KRS-ONE

Job: Hare Krishna

The first three letters of KRS-ONE’s moniker were taken from his adherence to the tenets of the Hare Krishna. So, how come his chanting was on-beat?

6. Ice-T

Former Job: Army Ranger

Before he made fat stacks of cash rapping about being a hardcore independent gangsta, Ice-T spent four years getting yelled at in the Armed Forces. We’re not sure if he considers the army as an actual “gang,” but it doesn’t.

5. Lil Wayne

Job: Middle School Drama Club Actor

Sure, it may be fudging things to count playing the Tin Man in “The Wiz” in a middle school play as a job. But when you leave an arts school and become part of gangsta rap group, you’re probably the gang’s equivalent of Pee Wee from “Porky’s.”

4. Mike Jones

Job: Phone Assembly Line Operator

Jones worked on the assembly lines of Compaq, putting together cell phones. Hearing phones ring all day explains how he developed his rap style into a blaring, annoying, impossible-to-ignore shrill wail.

3. Ice Cube

Job: Architect

Right before N.W.A. blew up as the premiere music of choice for street-hardened gangsta criminals (and rich white teens), Ice Cube left the group to complete his degree in architectural drafting. This explains why he’s so good at designing abattoirs for white folks.

2. 50 Cent

Job: Junior Olympian

When you think of Junior Olympians, you think of the most outstanding young student-athletes in America. 50 Cent competed in the Junior Olympics as a boxer, and probably even admitted to loving his mom, the wuss.

1. Violent J from ICP

Job: Professional Wrestler

Before Violent J dressed up flamboyantly for on-stage performances, he dressed up flamboyantly to roll around with men in the ring. Having a job in the world of “fake performing arts” is a great way to get street cred.

Violent J

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