Rappers aren’t exactly known for rapping about birds, bees and idyllic fields of beautiful flowers. Their content is often more risqué and deals with the harsh realities of inner-city street life: drugs, guns, violence and more. In this article, we talk about several rappers who have been denied entry into various countries because of the unsavory nature of their lyrics or other legal blemishes in their past. There are some rappers here that you would expect to see, and there are others that might surprise you. So without further ado, please proceed to the list below.
10 Tyler The Creator
A lot of rappers tend to say some really provocative things under the umbrella of artistic license. But every now and then, those controversial lyrics can come back and bite them in the behind. That’s what happened to California rapper Tyler the Creator when he was banned from entering the UK this year for 3-5 years. The reason was lyrics he rapped on his 2009 album, which reportedly advocated violence against homosexuals. To his credit, Tyler said those were just ramblings of an immature teenager, and his views have evolved now. Even with that being said, the ban still stands.
9 The Game
The Game is one of the most successful rappers from the West Coast. His career has been bolstered greatly by his affiliation to Hip-Hop giants like Dr. Dre and 50 Cent. In Game’s gangster lyrics, he often professes his affiliation to the violent “Bloods gang” of Los Angeles. Well, these lyrics came to haunt him in 2011 when he was trying to enter Canada to perform a show. The border authorities deemed that his affiliation to this street gang might be problematic for Canada, and as thus his entry was denied. The truth is several countries have enough problems of their own, and they will do their best to prevent dangerous elements from crossing their borders.
8 Snoop Dogg
Uncle Snoop is no stranger to countries not allowing him to perform on their soil. In his long rap career, it’s actually happened more than once. In 2007, he was supposed to perform down under for the Australian Music Video Awards, but his visa was denied because the consulate deemed that there were problems with the rapper’s “character.” And then just as recently as 2012, he was banned from entry into Norway when 8 grams of marijuana were found on his person. Come on, if Snoop is coming into your country, you should already know that the weed isn’t going to be far behind.
7 Cam’ron & Vado
When you talk about godfathers of the Harlem hip-hop scene, you have to mention Cam’ron. He has been relevant since the 90s and he was also the leader of the infamous Dipset NYC rap crew. In 2010, Cam was trying to enter Canada with his protégé, Vado. But both rappers were denied entry for different reasons. Vado had a past felony on his record and Cam’ron was denied because he allegedly brought a machine gun across the Canadian border in 2003. Word of advice to all rappers out there: before you attempt to travel to Canada, make sure you have all your ducks in order.
6 MF Doom
The 44-yr-old MF Doom is one of the most respected underground artists in the game of Hip-Hop. He’s known for his “Metal Face” on-stage persona for which he dons a heavy metal mask to hide his real identity. He has worked with highly respected lyricists like Ghostface Killah and Bishop Nehru, and he has a very loyal fan base. Doom was born in the UK but moved to the USA when he was a child. He apparently never got his citizenship papers sorted out, and when he was attempting to return to the States in 2010 after an international show, he was denied entry. Currently, DOOM has resettled in London but he is still very active in the American rap scene.
5 Waka Flocka Flame
Waka Flocka Flame is one of the most rambunctious and rowdy rappers in the game today. The Atlanta rapper stands well over six feet and his height combined with his long dreadlocks make for a very imposing presence. Just this year, he was scheduled to do a mini tour in New Zealand and Australia, but it didn’t work out so well. He was granted entry into New Zealand, but wasn’t so lucky with Australia. He was denied entry into Australia because of recent firearm and drug charges he had accrued in the United States.
These days, Jay Z is a hugely successful artist and multi-millionaire rap mogul with several businesses, including the sports management company called Roc Nation. Let’s not forget that he’s also married to one of the most beautiful women in the world, Beyoncé. Why would a country want to ban him from performing in their land? That’s exactly what happened in 2006 when Jay Z was slated to perform for the first time ever in China. The nation’s Ministry of Culture deemed that his lyrics were too vulgar for the good people of China, and therefore his entry was denied.
3 50 Cent
In the early 2000s, Queens rapper 50 Cent exploded on the scene and truly brought the limelight back to New York City rap music. His affiliation with Eminem and Dr. Dre also played a major role in his ascent to the top. 50’s lyrics mostly dealt with the ills, drugs and violence that come from living the street life. But in 2005, this lyrical content would deny him entry into Canada. The Junior foreign minister at the time stated that 50 Cent’s lyrics might incite hate and other kinds of violent activity amongst Canadian youth.
This is one of the most unique situations in this list. All through this article, we have been talking about rappers who have been banned from entering different countries. However, in the case of UK rapper M.I.A., she was actually banned from leaving the United States. The reason was that her American ex had filed a restraining order against her, and she was forbidden from leaving the country with the couple’s son. All of this happened in 2013, but apparently, this situation has since been cleared up.
1 Odd Future
We started this article with Tyler the Creator and we are going to end it with the crew that he formed called Odd Future. When Odd Future first exploded on the scene in 2009, they were known for their wild and energetic live performances. In 2014, the Hip-Hop group was scheduled to perform in New Zealand but their entry was denied because they were deemed to be a potential threat to public order and public interest. This was a certainly a situation in which their reputation preceded them and prevented them from earning a nice check for their rapping craft.