Here is the story of whether or not the rapper Plies lied about his criminal background...
Hip Hop icon, and creator of the term “thug life,” Tupac Shakur, once confessed that although occasionally sprinkling his rhymes with mentions of felonious activities, he never actually had a record until he made a record.
So too appears to be the case with the arguable Tupac of 2007/2008, Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic Records recording artist, and promoter of his own criminal exploits, Plies. HipHopDX has obtained documentation from the state of Florida that lists the “definition of real” rapper’s first real run-in with the law to have not taken place until two years ago, on April 12, 2006, when Plies - real name Algernod Lanier Washington, born May 22, 1976 - would have been on the eve of his 30th birthday and just beginning his ascension to his current status of gold-certified rap star.
The email printout of the documentation, which appears at the end of this report, was obtained from the Florida Department Of Law Enforcement (FDLE) by paying the $24 fee and searching here [https://www2.fdle.state.fl.us/cchinet/] in the FDLE’s criminal history database for Algernod Washington.
The FDLE’s criminal record for Plies shows that the self-described “goon affiliated, ex drug dealer” who’s “resume solid, street cred bigger” has been arrested just twice within his home state of Florida during his adult life, with both arrests taking place two years ago.
The 32-year-old was arrested for the first time at the age of 29 on April 12, 2006 for the misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer without violence.
The latter of his two adult arrests came during a well-publicized shooting at a Gainesville, Florida nightclub after a Plies performance on July 2, 2006. According to reports, members of the rapper’s entourage, including his older brother, Ronell “Big Gates” Lavatte, pulled out guns and fired in the club after Plies, who’s performance was running long, became angry when his microphone was cut off so that Lil Boosie could begin to perform.
Plies’ career guide/older brother, and another man, Troy Denard Carnegie, were both charged with attempted murder, each accused of firing at least three rounds in the club that night. According to reports, Big Gates has only one more year to serve on his sentence for his involvement in the shooting, but a Ronell Lavatte cannot be located in the Florida Department Of Corrections offender search here [http://www.dc.state.fl.us/InmateInfo...eInfoMenu.asp] to verify that claim. However, a search for Mr. Carnegie here [http://www.dc.state.fl.us/ActiveInma...nID=522963802] revealed that he is scheduled to be released from custody on June 20, 2010.
Unlike his brother and Mr. Carnegie, Plies was charged with just a misdemeanor count for possession of a concealed weapon after police found loaded firearms in the vehicle he and his entourage were riding in. He posted a $50,000 bond shortly thereafter and was released. Plies served no known jail time after later pleading no contest to the charge.
He has however subsequently been sued by five Gainesville residents who claim they were the victims of the shooting at the concert and are seeking $10 million in damages [click to read]. Plies’ attorney has publicly stated in response to the lawsuit that if they’re suing the rapper, they’re “suing the wrong person.”
HipHopDX’s search of the FDLE’s database for Plies’ entire criminal history was pursued after learning that records existed in another criminal database available to the public, that of Lee County, Florida, home to Plies’ native Fort Myers, Florida, which showed that the rapper had been cited for a handful of traffic offenses but never had any criminal charges brought against him.
This record was obtained by searching here [http://www.leeclerk.org/Crim_defendant_Name_sel.asp], with results showing that Plies run-ins with the Fort Myers Police Department during his adult life appear to have been limited to five traffic stops (two in 1997, one in 1999, and two in 2002) and citations for unknowingly not having his driver’s license on him, having too dark of tint on his car windows, and playing his car stereo too loud.
These traffic offenses are not included in the FDLE’s report on all of Plies’ criminal history within the state of Florida because according to the FDLE website no results are returned for “a misdemeanor other than those required to be submitted to FDLE under Florida Statutes.”
DX also searched the public criminal records databases for Hillsborough County here [http://www.hillsclerk.com/publicweb/..._Records.aspx] (which houses Plies’ current known residence in Tampa, Florida), and Miami-Dade County here [http://www.miami-dadeclerk.com/cjis/search4.asp] (which is home to his record label, Slip-N-Slide Records) prior to confirming all of Plies’ criminal activities within the state of Florida via the FDLE’s report. Both countywide searches yielded no records of criminal activity for an Algernod Washington. The Hillsborough County search revealed only a handful of civil filings against Plies, including for unpaid rent.
It should be noted however that none of these county databases nor the FDLE’s report includes any juvenile criminal record that might have existed for Plies prior to his 18th birthday in 1994, or any federal criminal charges that might have been levied against the rapper in the 14 years since.
And, as is commonly understood, the absence of an arrest record is never absolute proof of the complete absence of one’s criminal activity.
However, it’s been documented in previous articles on the “realest” street scribe in Hip Hop today that Plies’ time was mostly consumed in the mid-to-late ‘90’s attending college at either Miami University in Oxford, Ohio – where he reportedly played on the football team – or the University of South Florida in Tampa, or both schools (there are conflicting reports regarding his collegiate career, and DX was unable to substantiate any as of press time).
And while crime has clearly hovered around the rapper’s day-to-day life in recent years, impacting him indirectly via the aforementioned incarceration of his older brother and the recent arrest of his manager [click to read], first person accounts of criminal activities on Plies’ part are conspicuously scarce in his raw rhymes. Instead, sympathetic laments on the cruelties experienced by family members and friends at the hands of an oftentimes merciless justice system, and not his own personal experiences, can be found in most of his material.
But there are the occasional past tense references to what appear to be claims of his own criminal activity. One glaring example can be found during his lament on the suffering his alleged criminal activities caused his mother on “Runnin My Momma Crazy,” in which he recollects: “Remember the nights, me sittin' up in a cold cell/I'm wakin' ya up out'cha sleep, it's me callin' you from jail.” While passionate, his verse’s claim that he was ever in a “cold cell” now appears to be untruthful, as according to the FDLE’s report Plies was never in jail for any period of time prior to 2006.
In addition to fallacious statements in song, Plies has also produced a contemptuous image for himself on the screen, including his portrayal as a high rollin’ drug dealer in the video clip for “Worth Goin Fed Fo” [click to watch ].
Recent “outings” of fellow Floridian, and Slip-N-Slide labelmate, Rick Ross [click to read], as well as “Hypnotized” collaborator Akon [click to read ] have shone a new light on the exaggerated, and in some instances completely fabricated, biographies crafted by too many of today’s Hip Hop artists.
These personal “stories” highlight phantom criminal backgrounds in an attempt to boost so-called “street cred” with fans who often are not living such lives and are therefore attracted to these tall tales of Tony Montana-esque (or in Plies’ case, O-Dog-style) criminal prowess and/or success. These fake personas proving to be alarmingly irresponsible when absorbed by the equally impressionable, but oftentimes far more impoverished, segment of the Hip Hop audience who believe with a dangerous literalism that they too can lead lives of crime ala fictional movie criminals or equally fictional rap criminals and yet in still eventually become an unimprisoned Hip Hop celebrity.
And while fabricated bios are nothing new to Hip Hop, even claiming the careers of some artists (see Vanilla Ice), unlike most emcees of yesteryear like the aforementioned Tupac, who balanced his occasionally outlandish claims of dope dealing and gang banging with cautionary tales of the pitfalls involved in a life of crime (see “Shorty Wanna Be A Thug,” “Young Niggaz,” etc), Plies seems more oblivious to maintaining any artistic responsibility, instead recklessly crafting a seemingly strategic image and seeking to capitalize on fraudulent claims of criminal activity all the while declaring to be Hip Hop’s undiluted truth teller, personifying all that is “real.”
It’s now abundantly apparent that Plies has forsaken being fully forthright with his fans, failing to make the crucial distinction that those around him, and not he, are the real victims of our nation’s often flawed justice system, and that he is merely observing and reporting their experiences within a life of crime and not his own.
Representatives for Plies could not be reached for comment on this report as of press time.
FDLE record for Plies is below (each charge and date of the two offenses have been highlighted)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Jul 25, 2008 1:39 PM
Subject: FDLE Criminal History Search Results
--FLORIDA CCH RESPONSE--
SID NUMBER: 6531501 PURPOSE CODE:P PAGE: 1
BECAUSE ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS MAY BE MADE AT ANY TIME,
A NEW COPY SHOULD BE REQUESTED WHEN NEEDED FOR FUTURE USE
- FLORIDA CRIMINAL HISTORY -
NAME STATE ID NO. FBI NO. DATE REQUESTED
WASHINGTON, ALGERNOD FL-06531501 07/25/2008
SEX RACE BIRTH DATE HEIGHT WEIGHT EYES HAIR BIRTH PLACE SKIN DOC NO.
M B 05/22/1976 5'06'' 155
SID NUMBER: 6531501 PURPOSE CODE:P PAGE: 2
FINGERPRINT CLASS SOCIAL SECURITY NO. MISCELLANEOUS NO. SCR/MRK/TAT
XXX-XX-5534 TAT R ARM
IN AFIS - 2
OCCUPATION ADDRESS CITY/STATE
ARTIST TAMPA, FL
AKA DOB SOC SCR/MRK/TAT
WASHINGTON, ALGERNOD LANIER
ARREST- 1 04/12/2006 OBTS NO.-5801089558
SID NUMBER: 6531501 PURPOSE CODE:P PAGE: 3
ARREST AGENCY-SARASOTA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE (FL0580000)
AGENCY CASE-5802005471 OFFENSE DATE-04/12/2006
CHARGE 001-RESISTING OFFICER-
OBST OR OPPOSING WO VIOL
STATUTE/ORDINANCE-FL843.02 LEVEL-MISDEMEANOR,1ST DEG
ARREST- 2 07/02/2006 OBTS NO.-0102078353
ARREST AGENCY-GAINESVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT (FL0010100)
AGENCY CASE- OFFENSE DATE-07/02/2006
CHARGE 001-CARRYING CONCEALED WEAPON-
ELECTRIC WEAPON OR DEVICE ,PRINCIPAL
STATUTE/ORDINANCE-FL790.01(1) LEVEL-MISDEMEANOR,1ST DEG
SID NUMBER: 6531501 PURPOSE CODE:P PAGE: 4
AGENCY-8TH CIRCUIT COURT - GAINESVILLE (FL001015J)
CHARGE 001 -COURT SEQ COURT NO.-012006CF003156XXXDXX
SUPPLEMENTAL ARREST DATA-
STATUS- LEVEL-FELONY ,3RD DEG
PROSC DATA-AMENDED ,CARRYING CONCEALED WEAPON-
POSSESSION OF CONCEALED FIREARM
STATUTE/ORDINANCE- LEVEL-FELONY ,3RD DEG
DISP DATE-03/05/2007 DISP-N/A
COURT DATA-REDUCED ,CARRYING CONCEALED WEAPON-
CARRYING CONCEALED WEAPON ELECTRIC WEAPON OR D
SID NUMBER: 6531501 PURPOSE CODE:P PAGE: 5
STATUTE/ORDINANCE-FL790.01 LEVEL-MISDEMEANOR,1ST DEG
STATUTE DESCRIPTN-CONCEALED WEAPON
DISP DATE-08/09/2007 DISP-ADJ WITHHELD
COUNSEL-PRIVATE TRIAL- PLEA-NOLO CONTENDRE
FINE- COURT COST- $176
SPECIAL SENTENCE PROVISIONS-NOT APPLICABLE
THIS RECORD CONTAINS FLORIDA INFORMATION ONLY. WHEN EXPLANATION OF A CHARGE
OR DISPOSITION IS NEEDED, COMMUNICATE DIRECTLY WITH THE AGENCY THAT CONTRIBU-
TED THE RECORD INFORMATION. IF YOU DID NOT SUBMIT FINGERPRINTS, THIS RECORD IS
PROVIDED AS A RESULT OF A NAME INQUIRY ONLY. POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION CAN ONLY
BE VERIFIED BY SUBMISSION OF A FINGERPRINT CARD AND COMPARISON BY FDLE. THIS
SID NUMBER: 6531501 PURPOSE CODE:P PAGE: 6
RECORD WAS REQUESTED PURSUANT TO 943.053(3), F.S.
AS MANDATED BY FLORIDA STATUTE 119.071(5), FULL SOCIAL
SECURITY NUMBERS ARE NOW EXEMPT FROM PUBLIC DISCLOSURE
AND MAY BE DISCLOSED ONLY TO GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES AND
CERTAIN COMMERCIAL ENTITIES (UPON A SHOWING OF BUSINESS
NECESSITY AS DEFINED BY THE LAW). FDLE WILL, HOWEVER,
RELEASE THE LAST FOUR DIGITS OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.
EXAMPLE: XXX XX 1234.
THIS CONTAINS FLORIDA RECORD ONLY.
UNKNOWN AS TO NATIONAL RECORD STATUS.
END OF RECORD