Waka Flocka Flame is currently incarcerated in Henry County, Georgia, the county sherriff’s office confirms. The rapper, whose major-label debut album was released in October to positive reviews, was arrested yesterday and booked on charges including possession of marijuana (less than one ounce), possession of firearm by a convicted felon, possession of hydrocodone, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, violation of probation for driving on a suspended license, and violating Georgia’s Criminal Street Gang and Terror Prevention Act. The charges stem from a police raid on his home last month.
A preliminary hearing for those charges today set Waka Flocka Flame’s bond at $31,950. His bond has not yet been paid, but even if it is, he must remain behind bars awaiting a probation hearing on Jan. 6 (this Thursday). A rep for Waka’s label declined to comment.
The timing of Waka’s latest legal mishap is unfortunate given the promising state of his career. In the last 18 months he’s gone from an underrated hanger-on to a legitimate solo artist cranking out some of the most undeniably energetic singles on rap radio (“Hard in da Paint,” “O Let’s Do It”). These charges won’t entirely vaporize the momentum Waka was building, but they won’t help, either.
Waka’s arrest is even more depressing because of the way it fits into a larger pattern. Earlier today, Waka’s mentor and labelmate Gucci Mane was sent to a psychiatric facility as part of a probation violation case. A few states away in Arkansas, their fellow rap star and sometime collaborator T.I. is serving his own federal prison term for probation violation. Who knows how much more amazing music these artists could be making if they didn’t keep (allegedly) breaking probation? As hip-hop fans, we all lose out when talented rappers screw up.
Last month, I spoke with Maurice “Mo Better” Rivera, program director at Memphis’ Hot 107.1 radio, about a related subject. “I can’t remember the last time Gucci, T.I., and Lil Wayne were all out of jail at the same time,” Rivera said regretfully then. “If they were all out of jail and you put them all on tour, it’d probably be the biggest tour out there, at least urban-wise. But you’ll never be able to pull that off.” Today Lil Wayne is the only completely free man remaining among that imaginary supergroup, and that’s just sad.
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