Who has yet to hear of Christopher Dorsey, popularly known as B.G? As one of the founding members of the iconic rap group Hot Boys alongside Juvenile, Turk, and Lil Wayne in the late 90s, B.G. helped put Southern rap on the map with his energetic street anthems.
However, his promising career was cut short after being convicted on gun charges in 2012, resulting in a 14-year sentence. Let’s look at B.G.’s rise to fame in the music industry and how his life drastically changed after being locked up.
The Early Years
Born in 1979, Billy “B.G.” Knapp grew up in the impoverished Calliope housing projects of New Orleans. With high rates of violent crime and gang activity, the projects were a dangerous place to be. B.G. got caught up in this environment at a young age, committing minor crimes and selling drugs to make ends meet.
As a teenager, he started chasing his musical dreams, linking up with local rappers Birdman and Lil Wayne to form the group that would become Cash Money Records. Their unique Southern bounce style fused local zydeco and hip-hop influences.
This caught on quickly in New Orleans and helped establish Cash Money as the dominant label in the city by the mid-90s.
Rise to Stardom
In 1993, Cash Money Records officially formed when Birdman and B.G. and others signed a distribution deal with Universal Records. This provided national distribution for Cash Money’s early compilation albums and helped launch the careers of Birdman, B.G., Lil Wayne, and others.
B.G.’s debut solo album “Chopper City in the Ghetto” was released in 1996 to critical and commercial success, making it to #7 on the Billboard rap charts. Full of hard-hitting New Orleans flavor and B.G.’s coarse yet dexterous flow, it cemented him as a star.
His charming persona and gangster image made him hugely popular. B.G. lived his lyrics’ lavish lifestyle, with luxury cars, parties, and women. This only added to his authentic impression of the streets of New Orleans.
Legal Troubles Begin
Despite his fame and success, B.G.’s entanglements with the law from his younger days were catching up. In 1998, he was sentenced to 4 years in prison for possessing crack cocaine with intent to distribute. He was released after only nine months. However, this was just the beginning of his legal woes.
In 2000, he was sentenced to another year for battery of a police officer. Even while incarcerated, B.G. continued to make hit records with Cash Money. However, his ongoing incarceration prevented him from capitalizing fully on this success and momentum.
A Decade Behind Bars
In 2004, B.G.’s problems with the law escalated dramatically. He was charged with attempted first-degree murder for an incident after a Lil Wayne concert in New Orleans. In controversial circumstances, B.G. was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
This was a crushing blow that many felt was disproportionate. B.G. would spend over ten years behind bars at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola. His incarceration was the longest of any Cash Money artist. During this time, hip-hop evolved dramatically without him.
Life After Prison
2016, after serving 11 and a half years of his 14-year sentence, B.G. was finally released. At age 37, he reentered a world that had moved on without him. Gone was the lavish lifestyle and stardom he once knew. B.G. has spoken candidly about the challenges of rebuilding his life post-incarceration.
These included adjusting to technology advances, reconnecting with family, and figuring out his place in hip-hop. However, he has proven remarkably resilient. After paying his debt to society, B.G. seems committed to living righteously and using his story to inspire others.
He has released a handful of well-received mixtapes and plans to record an entire album to remind fans of his enduring talent and impact on the culture. Now in his 40s with a new perspective, B.G. is ready for his second act.