808 playa and general heartbreaker Kanye West pleaded not guilty to charges of misdemeanor vandalism, battery, and grand theft this morning. The court appearance came some eight months after his arrest for allegedly attacking a TMZ camera crew. While Kanye is certainly in the hot seat, common conjecture is that his manager, Don “Don C” Crowley, is more likely to go down over the altercation (he’s the one who did the serious smashing). If he does, he’ll join some pretty infamous company in the clink. After the jump, seven hip-hop acts whose managers have been called into court (including associates of Clipse, Ja Rule, Akon, and Eminem) and a breakdown of the crimes.
1. Clipse Former Clipse manager and long-time confidant Anthony “Geezy” Gonzalez was charged in early May for heading a $10 million drug operation. Hrm, I wonder if it was the duo’s epic coke-themed opera that gave it away.
2. Ja Rule Murder Inc. impresario and Ja Rule manager Irv “Gotti” Lorenzo (aka Irving Lorenzo) was charged in 2005 with laundering more than a million dollars in drug money for infamous dealer Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff. While Gotti got away, McGriff was convicted in 2007 for hiring a contract killer. Lorenzo went on to commit a more serious crime: producing Vanessa Carlton’s third album.
3. Plies In 2007, David Lee Gay Jr., manager for sugary Florida rapper Plies, was busted in a pretty serious sting. Authorities caught him toting 80 pounds (!) of coke. In his defense, he may just have been holding the coke for Clipse.
4. Snoop Dog/Tupac The head of Death Row Records — home to seminal west coast rap acts like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, and Tupac Shakur — Suge Knight spent 9 years in the pokey for violating parole. While the infamously ruthless label head emerged in the early oughts, he went back in 2003 for assaulting a parking attendant (maybe he mistook him for Vanilla Ice?).
5. Akon Proving that the old-school doesn’t always come out on top, Akon manager Robert Carnes, Jr. recently socked Suge Knight outside a hotel nightclub, sending the offender into another kind of confinement (the hospital). In February he pleaded not guilty to charges of assault. Maybe he mistook Suge for Vanilla Ice?
6. D-12 In 2007, Jeremy Nathanial Geffen, manager of Eminem-affiliated supergroup D-12 was accused of sexually assaulting a pair of underage girls. According to a disturbingly detailed rap sheet (ha!), the acts included “oral copulation of an unconscious person, oral copulation by anesthesia of controlled substance, attempted sodomy of a person under 18, sexual penetration by a foreign object, possession of cocaine and furnishing cocaine to a minor; four counts of oral copulation of a person under 18; and two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse.” Um “attempted” sodomy? Ewww.
7. Insane Clown Posse In 2001, road manager William Dail was arrested for assaulting a fan of Eminem who, as an act of defiance, allegedly tossed M&Ms rappers Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J. While choking someone until they pass out isn’t OK, being in any way affiliated with a clown-faced hip-hop metal act is bound to put you on edge.