Hours before President Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, the outgoing leader Donald Trump granted clemency to 143 people early Wednesday, January 20th, 2021 morning, including rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black.
Trump granted a pardon to rapper Lil Wayne and a commutation to rapper Kodak Black, two of the raft of pardons and commutations on his final day in office.
“President Trump granted a full pardon to Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., also known as ‘Lil Wayne,'” the statement from White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany read.
Early Wednesday, Lil Wayne found himself among the 143 pardons and commutations announced by former President Trump during his final hours in office.
He joined three other figures from the hip-hop universe, including the Florida rapper Kodak Black, Desiree Perez, the chief executive of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation; and Michael Harris, known as Harry-O, a founder of Death Row Records who has been in prison for 30 years.
Lil Wayne, a multi-platinum artist and record label founder who has won five Grammys, pleaded guilty to illegal gun possession on December 11, 2020, after a December 2019 arrest, and was facing up to 10 years in federal prison as he awaited his sentencing later this month.
Lil Wayne had been charged with criminal possession of a firearm and ammunition as a prior felony offender. Prosecutors said the gold-plated, .45-caliber handgun carried in a bag on a private flight was loaded.
He was arrested in December 2019 as he arrived on a flight from California at the Opa Locka Executive Airport near Miami. Officers spoke with the rapper, who told them that he had a gun in his bag, officials said.
He had previously pleaded guilty in October 2009 to a felony gun charge as part of a deal with New York prosecutors. That charge stemmed from his arrest in 2007 outside of New York City’s Beacon Theater in which a .40-caliber pistol was found on his tour bus. He accepted a plea agreement and was sentenced to a year in prison, serving eight months before being released.
Kodak Black — who was raised in Pompano Beach, Florida, and whose breakout hit “Tunnel Vision” became his first top 10 song on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart — has been arrested multiple times and faced gun, drug and sexual misconduct charges.
Kodak Black, whose real name is Bill Kapri, was sentenced to more than three years in prison on weapons charges in November 2019. He pleaded guilty in August 2019 to knowingly making false written statements when trying to acquire firearms from a federally licensed firearms dealer.
US District Judge Federico Moreno in Miami sentenced Kapri to 46 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
In April 2019, he was arrested on separate gun and drug charges near Niagara Falls, New York, while trying to enter the US from Canada. Kapri faced allegations of criminal possession of a weapon second degree and unlawful possession of marijuana.
He pleaded guilty in that case in March. The sentence was to be served concurrently with the case out of Miami.
Kapri was also indicted by a grand jury in South Carolina in 2016, accused of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
“Kodak Black is a prominent artist and community leader,” McEnany said in the statement.
“He has served nearly half of his sentence. Before his conviction and after reaching success as a recording artist, Kodak Black became deeply involved in numerous philanthropic efforts.
In fact, he has committed to supporting a variety of charitable efforts, such as providing educational resources to students and families of fallen law enforcement officers and the underprivileged.
In addition to these efforts, he has paid for the notebooks of school children, provided funding and supplies to daycare centers, provided food for the hungry, and annually provides for underprivileged children during Christmas.
Most recently while still incarcerated, Kodak Black donated $50,000 to David Portnoy’s Barstool Fund, which provides funds to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kodak Black’s only request was that his donation go toward restaurants in his hometown