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Hip-Hop is known for praising for the gangster lifestyle. Many of your favorite rappers jacked their names from gangsters from back in the day. 50 Cent stole his name from a real life street hustler and decided to turn the name on its ear by saying it’s a metaphor for change. While Hip-Hop is busy celebrating the gangster lifestyle, real gangsters are using the music industry to turn their lives around. Our friends at The Smoking Section created a list of nine gangsters who made their presence felt in the music industry. Check out an excerpt:

3. Chaz Williams

Before Steven Soderbergh’s Oceans movie series made bank robbing fashionable, there was Chaz Williams. Williams was a brazen bank robber known for his prison escapes and countless shoot-outs with the law. When one particular robbery went awry, resulting in a security guard catching a gunshot wound to the head, Williams’ string of luck ended and he was sentenced to a total of 95 years. After obtaining degrees in business and knocking his original prison sentence down to 15 years via appeals, Chaz came home looking for a new lease on life through the music game.

Staying close to his Jamaica, Queens roots, Williams had a hand in molding the career of a young 50 Cent, once managed Foxy Brown and his Blackhand Entertainment franchise player Grafh amongst others. A mainstay behind the scenes, Chaz remains militant with his independent approach to the game. And, odds are he’s probably helped your favorite rapper get his jewelry back somewhere along the line.

Peep the rest of the list at The Smoking Section.


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9 Gangsters Who Hustled Their Way Into The Music Industry  was originally published on