This Veterans Day, as families across the nation celebrate those who’ve taken up arms to serve their country, The FlipSide is celebrating those hip-hop artists who’ve done the same. Having put their careers, families, and lives at stake for the greater good, these rappers deserve our thanks in a way we can all deliver: cold coolin’ it and turning up their record. Happy Veterans Day.
Ice-T — Army:
Ice-T joined up with the U.S. Army shortly after graduating from high school. After undergoing advanced infrantry and paratrooper training, the former gymnast was discharged early so he could care for his daughter in Los Angeles. Soon after his discharge, Ice-T was back on the streets.
No Malice — Army
Of Clipse fame, No Malice served in the military after realizing he had to step up his commitment to his girlfriend and their future child. During his time in the Army, Malice was stationed in New Jersey, Virginia, and North Carolina. After his discharge, the musician began making serious moves with his rap career.
Freddie Gibbs — Army
An unintentional soldier, Freddie Gibbs was pressure into joining the army after being arrested for thievery and illegal gun possession. Wanting no part of the “George Bush military,” Gibbs was never as enthusiastic as he could have been, and was eventually dishonorably discharged for smokin’ the reefer.
Nate Dogg — Marines
Weeks after graduating from high school, Nate Dogg enlisted in the Marines. Although he spent the majority of his time in the service sorting ammunition on Okinawa, the discipline and work ethic obviously rubbed off on him. One of hip-hop’s hardest-working featured artists, the man spent his time in the proverbial trenches of studio and stage. Happy Veterans Day, Nate Dogg – wherever you are.
Mystikal — Army
Mystikal never had it easy. After graduating from high school in New Orleans, the rapper enlisted in the Army so he could afford a new car. Mystikal then followed in his cousin’s footsteps, clearing mines during the Gulf War as a Combat Engineer. After leaving the service, the rapper hopped on Master P’s metaphorical No Limit battle tank as a ‘No Limit Soldier.’
Shaggy — Marines
Shaggy served in the U.S. Marines after moving from Kingston, Jamaica to Flatbush, Brooklyn. The Jamaican-American musician operated in a field artillery battery as a part of 5th Battalion 10th Marines. It’s said that Shaggy developed his signature style while serving in Operation Desert Storm.
Canibus — Army
Another Kingston, Jamaica native, Canibus moved to New York, London, Buffalo, and beyond during his childhood. After working as a data analyst for the Department of Justice and studying computer science, Canibus launched his career as a rapper, eventually achieving Gold success. The musician enlisted in 2002, serving as a Cavalry Scout. Perhaps inevitably, Canibus was discharged from the military in 2004 after being caught on camera smoking cannabis.
MC Hammer — Navy
Oakland legend MC Hammer is the only hip-hopper we know of to have served in this particular branch of the armed services. The former Petty Officer worked at an airbase in California for three years, and was honorably discharged into a world of hip-hop and pop stardom. He didn’t serve in the airborne, so we’re still looking at other explanations for those parachute pants.