Kodak Black was sentenced to 46 months in prison on Wednesday. Kodak was hit with Federal weapons charges and in August pleaded guilty to lying on a background form to purchase the weapon. During his sentencing, Judge Federico Moreno told the 22-year-old South Florida rapper “Young people do stupid things and I normally give them a break for that, the problem is that you have been doing stupid things since 15.”
The “Tunnel Vision” performer does, in fact, have a long criminal history despite his young age. In 2016, Kodak was indicted on first-degree sexual assault charges in South Carolina, and just a year ago was sentenced to a year in jail for gun and marijuana possession.
Aside from his criminal record, Kodak hasn’t been making a lot of friends in the music industry. Yes, Kodak has worked with some of the rap game’s brightest like Travis Scott, French Montana and Young Thug, but he potentially burned a lot of bridges after his comments on Lauren London following Nipsey Hussle’s death.
On Instagram live, Kodak is heard saying, “I’ll be the best man I can be for [Lauren London]. I’ll give her a whole year, she might need a whole year to be crying and s–t for him.” This comment sparked immediate backlash online and prompted Dave East to remove Kodak Black from his latest LP Survival out of respect for Nipsey.
Kodak has also taken shots at legendary Atlanta rapper T.I. and Philadelphia rapper Gillie Da Kid in the diss track “Expeditiously.”
One other rapper comes to mind when you see this level of discourse in hip-hop and that’s Gucci Mane. Gucci himself admits that he became the “boogeyman” of Atlanta based on his reputation in Hip-Hop. Gucci served several stints in prison, created a large amount of industry beef but eventually made a life change that turned the boogeyman of Atlanta into the Godfather of Atlanta.
Putting Gucci’s arrest to the side, the rapper had no trouble creating enemies in the industry. It wasn’t his beef with Jeezy that turned deadly in 2005 that gave Gucci a bad reputation, but it was a tweetstorm in 2013 when Gucci aired out a laundry list of industry people for no apparent reason.
During his regrettable tweet session, the Alabama born rapper insinuated that he and Waka Flocka Flame ran a train on Nicki Minaj, said he wanted to smash T.I.’s wife, Tiny, named T.I., Yo Gotti and Jeezy on his top 3 p—y a– rappers list, and so much more that kept Gucci isolated from the industry similar to how Kodak’s comments on Lauren London have damaged his reputation.
Turning back to Gucci’s legal troubles, in a timeline created by DJ Booth, from 2005-2013 the “Lemonade” rapper was in and out of jail for different charges like aggravated assault, probation violation, damage to government property, battery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, the last of which landed Gucci in prison and eventually forced his life change.
Gucci credits his wife Keyshia Ka’oir for his life change from prison, but Gucci has also said that being in prison with lifers and getting clean helped change his perspective on life. Following his release, Gucci remained clean, got in shape physically, married Ka’oir and got back to making music and mending fractured relationships including with Nicki Minaj who collaborated with Guwop on the song “Make Love” in 2017.
Aside from making music, Gucci also was able to detail his life story in his book The Autobiography of Gucci Mane where he breaks down when he was first exposed to using drugs, selling drugs, and presents stories that any reader would assume that Wop was dealing with some form of paranoia and PTSD.
Gucci and Kodak share similar stories in similar parts of the map. Kodak Black is the self-proclaimed “Project Baby” who has struggled with staying out of trouble just like Gucci. Fortunately, Kodak is only 22 and has plenty of time to make the turn. He’ll get another chance but he first has to admit his mistakes. For the next 3 years and 8 months, Kodak has an opportunity to “pull a Gucci Mane” and right his wrongs not just with the law but with the industry.
It’s going to be difficult for artists to work with Kodak after he disrespected the late Nipsey Hussle and the mother of his child Lauren London as already shown by Dave East. More importantly, if Kodak doesn’t work through his issues with the law whether the solution is therapy, sobriety, or a good woman, two of which Gucci credits for his shift, Kodak will not have a career in music.
There will always be a bag for Kodak when he gets out, no question. There are artists who haven’t had a popular record in a decade who are still making money in music. But if Kodak really wants the bag that he had the potential to get when he first took off, he has to make that life change.