The former G-Unit rap star describes the events that led to his upcoming 18-month sentence, 50 showing him tough love and the Feds violent raid of his Tennessee mansion in Part I of this exclusive interview…
July 31, 2012 – 9:00 AM
Sitting on house arrest with a monitoring bracelet strapped around his ankle, Young Buck is less than two weeks away from beginning his 18-month jail sentence on weapon charges. A whirlwind of events—three major ones in particular—led to the Cashville, Tennessee rapper and former G-Unit star being in the situation that he’s in today. The first occurred at the 2004 Vibe Awards, when Buck allegedly stabbed a man who sucker-punched Dr. Dre. Without too much knowledge of his own legal situation, Buck went ahead and accepted felony charges in 2005 for his involvement in the incident. The decision would come back to haunt him, as an August 2010 IRS raid of his Tennessee mansion for bankruptcy unearthed an old broken gun on a shelf. The combination of the felony charges and the $250,000 he owes to the IRS landed him with his current fate, staring at a year and a half in jail. It didn’t help that even after the major turn of events that Buck had a public falling out with G-Unit boss 50 Cent and later would be the victim of a March 2012 drive-by shooting, in which his SUV was riddled with bullets, but miraculously he emerged unscathed. Here, in part one of this exclusive interview, Buck breaks his silence and talks to XXL about the downward spiral of events that led to his upcoming 18-month sentence, 50 Cent showing him tough love and how he believes that the gun-laden Federal raid of his Tennessee mansion was really conducted in search of drugs and not to retrieve his belongings.—Mark Lelinwalla
XXLMag: You just got a sentence of 18 months that could have been three years. In a way it’s almost an end to these past few years of your life that have been an absolute whirlwind.
Young Buck: I mean, you know honestly man, half of all the crazy bad things that happened to me in the last few years, man—even up to the 18 month sentence, it really happened back in 2005, when I agreed to something even though I didn’t really understand what I was agreeing to, I still agreed to it, you understand? And that’s basically speaking on after my two…the other half happened because I went back and did the exact same things five years later pretty much and when I say that it’s like both of things is really important things, but maybe I didn’t think they was that important at that time, ’cause I knew they were—I knew they were important, but I thought I had more important other things to think about. A lot of the time I thought thinking was someone else’s job. It was people in positions to think for me, to think for me, to make decisions for me. Honestly, I probably didn’t know what to think, and just getting Young to admit it—but this has all been a lesson on how if I don’t think for myself, other people will be happy to do it for you. For me, and you, and you, and everybody else. For me, I’m in a place where I never planned to be, so honestly I think this is why almost everything that’s even been written about me in the last few years is wrong man. To be truthful with you…I just don’t realize if you don’t tell people what’s going on with you, they gon make it up and at the end of the day, sometimes they make it up anyway if you’re not paying attention that’s who you are. And for me, that’s how I was categorized and judged throughout my situation, and it may not be the truth, but if a billion think it is, it doesn’t matter, you understand? So that kinda sums things up in a real way. I’m gonna make you understand how it all goes down.
Your lawyer explains it as a three-pronged attack that sent you on your downfall. The first being the stabbing incident at the 2004 Vibe Awards, the second IRS/bankruptcy issues, which led to the Feds’ raid and discovery of that old gun in your crib and the third being 50 Cent and the soured G-Unit situation. Using that as a base, take me through the one that started it off, the stabbing incident and the subsequent felony charge you took after it.
I mean, you know in that situation, like I say—let’s start off from saying that there was never really no [long pause]. When that situation happened to me, I kinda put my career—my career was already in people’s hands from the very beginning. And when that situation happened, it’s more or less like [short pause] I was following the instructions that was given to me as far as who to deal with and what route to take as far as getting the situation behind me. But the truthful part of the whole 2004 stabbing was that I was being judged behind the table, but multiple individuals was involved, and out of that situation I came out ultimately being the one with the charge, but there was physically no true evidence for me to even get the charge that I walked away with. Now when you speak on the charge, I never really had full knowledge on to what I was actually pleading to. In my mind, my understanding at the time was to plead no contest. I’m given 3 years of unsupervised probation after completing those supervised probation and the charge would be dropped; in my mind that’s what had happened being that it’s 5 years and I’ve completed that. It’s 5 years past before I even had another situation that happened. So for me, I never even viewed or knew in my heart that I had a felony. So honestly when the Darius Ray happened and then they found the gun, my whole thing was the very beginning was—when they came to arrest me for the charges was “I’m not no felon” when they was saying “your charges are possession of a fire arm”, I was like “I’m not no felon” ‘cause I never knew—I never understood what no contest was and that all goes back to what I was telling you in the beginning of having other people think for you. After the footage was revealed, it was revealed that I wasn’t even holding a knife. I didn’t have a knife. At the end of the day, the DNA analysis produced information with the fork. It kind of washed the whole situation about the attempted murder. They had me take a lie-detector test. So, instead of me being totally equitted from the charge, which I feel it should have been, they dropped attempted murder and lowered it to aggravated assault, which is still a felony.
And this was the start of your problems and the first-half of that felony that helped put you in jail. The next part is the financial problems. You’re not the first MC to have financial issues and you won’t be the last, but take me through them and your spending.
I mean, you know, once I started receiving finances the way that we were receiving money at the time of being amongst G-Unit, I came in the situation where I came from nothing. So I was coming in the situation where my mother was literally still living in the projects while I was on TV, BET, selling records and I just come from a real terrible situation. So once I received some type of money, I just did what anybody would probably do that got successful. I don’t fault myself for the spending done, because the spending I done, I done what every man that becomes successful I think should do; the first thing that I did was get my mother out of those projects. I went and got my mother a house, I bought my mother a car, and started to work on myself after I got my family situated, you know. Now how I choose to put them up, that was on me. I did it the best to my ability, so I’m living the life at the time where everything was nice. I definitely wanted my family to experience nice things, so that’s exactly what I done man. I put my mother in a home; I bought her nice things. I put myself in a home—I have 4 children, so my thing is outside of myself, I have four children and three different baby mothers, so even in the midst of that, I just had a lot of things that was done with the money that I was receiving that was useful and the righteous things that you would do with making money. So I don’t fault myself and say, “I didn’t spend my money right or I did this and that”, I think that at times I did do some reckless spending, but that’s apart of being young, growing up and learning and everything else. For the most part the problem comes in as that I’ve never filed my own taxes in my career. I’ve never had no knowledge of even what paying taxes was. I come from the streets and I sold drugs throughout my life, so it was always a thing where our money was always accessible. When you start dealing with banks and things of that nature, that was something that was brand new for me, so when I got this money, I went out and done all these things not knowing that once you make a half a million dollars it’s really 250 ’cause Uncle Sam gets the other half. So when I went and spent all these different things, getting my life and my family’s life together, it did come—Uncle Sam swinging back around saying “where’s mine?” and I didn’t have no knowledge of it and that’s when I bumped my head and that’s when my first experience of the whole tax situation became an issue. At the time financially I was down and out, so I had to do what I felt was the right thing and that was to go to what I considered my brother at the time which was the financial bread winner over our situation, not only me, but the crew at the time and everybody else. And I asked 50, ‘Look man, I bumped my head. I don’t have what they’re asking for.” And at the time, honestly man, I wouldn’t say—whether it was a joke or not, 50 kinda chuckled about it. I think he knew I had no knowledge, and his thing was to, ‘Okay, I’m gonna let you bump your head and learn the hard way.’ And that’s what I did. In honesty he did show up for me and helped me out by loaning me money. You know 50 never gave me nothing that I didn’t have to pay back or haven’t paid back. I say that not in a disrespectful way, you understand what I’m saying? I say that and meaning that if a man loans you a certain amount of money, it’s only right for him to get his money back, you understand? When he did look out for me I was left to give whatever was left in my tax situation to give that back, and that’s what I done. I worked upon paying him back as well as handle my situation and moving forward. But during that time, that’s when the separation of me and 50 and me and G-Unit happened shortly after.
What was your whole contract situation with G-Unit like in the midst of this personal turmoil with you?
To sum up that last question, really I made a lot of money bruh. But I had a very over head and a lot of people to pay, so when it’s all said and done even though that number may look great, when everybody was paid and everybody walked away with theirs, there was only a little bit, 38% to be honest, that I even commissioned. 38% commissions that I paid on gross. In my world, like I say, I wear a lot of the situation just because it’s me, but in reality it’s not just the forces of my failure, but a lot of people’s actions that was done in my situation to get it to this point too. Meaning that, I never filed my own tax situation. Me, 50 Cent, as well as the other cats, we all had the same personal business manager at the time…he goes by the name of Bruce Beckendorf. He pretty much was responsible—he received pretty much everything. He was responsible for filing my taxes, responsible for whatever financial anything that came through. That’s what he was being paid at least from me to handle. After the separation became between me and 50 Cent…let me back track a little bit. Before the separation between me and 50 Cent, I think 50 Cent and Bruce had parted ways. We maintained a relationship; he maintained a relationship for me and handling my business. After me and 50 Cent had our situation that’s when he kinda let his hands go in the air with it. So during the time that it was taxes needing to be filed and in my mind it’s getting done, ‘cause at least I know I’m paying this guy for it. That’s what it’s showing, and it wasn’t. So when it all hit the fan, and everything rolled back around, these people coming back saying, ‘Hey, where is our money?’ and I’m like we didn’t even have no answers for those guys, ‘cause in my mind it’s something that’s being taken care of. That started having to go down the lane of reaching out to Bruce and finding out what’s going on and how do I resolve this situation. From there I had some bad luck. From there is when I started to stretch out to other guys to try and help me out in this situation as far as attorneys to help this tax situation. I ended up running into a snake, and I’ma be honest when I say that. It was a guy I ended up giving a lot of money to kinda help handle my situation which was supposed to be handled, this bankruptcy situation. I gave him a substantial amount of money, and he basically ran off with it. And that led up into the whole seizure, that led to them basically coming into my home from there. So like I say man, the moral of that whole conversation is that I made a lot of money, but I had a lot of overhead. It all goes back to when I said if you don’t handle your business, people will happily handle it for you. But they’re gonna handle it right [laughs], and in my situation, a lot of it was handled right, but a lot of it was handled wrong.
Obviously the Federal raid was a day you’ll probably never forget. Can you describe it for me?
The way that they actually done the raid is what really—my thing is if you guys are looking to actually come and take things that—my valuable things within the home, then I don’t see a need for you coming with all kinds of guns drawn, guns all on my kids. I had to literally grab the shotgun from one of these little agents and push him and let him know ‘If you don’t put that gun away from my child man, you gon’ have to use it on me!’ So you know, my thing was the approach was wrong and I kinda felt from the beginning this was more than just them actually coming for an IRS raid. For me, they really came on a drug raid, I’ma be honest with you. IRS seizure. It was guns drawn the minute that I opened the door, ‘Get down!’ That whole process of that. It wasn’t like, ‘Hey, we’re with the IRS coming to seize your things, nah, it wasn’t like that.’ Actually they had the people to take the stuff, they were parked a mile away while they conducted the raid themselves, the agents. So you know like I say, it was shocking for me and once I realized actually what they were there for in my mind I thought it had already been handled. I was devastated, to be honest. And from there, I had actually got on the phone while they were walking around my home, taking things, I was on the phone with this attorney that ended up running off with the money. I can’t even say it was the attorney that ran off with the money, but it was the guy that worked for the attorney that ended up running off with the money, and all respect to that attorney ‘cause he just passed away and he done the utmost that he could do. It really wasn’t on him on what happened, it was dude. He didn’t get a chance to do a damn thing, but it wasn’t him. He just passed away recently, so I don’t wanna come off, you know.
During this raid, though, they find an old broken gun on your shelf, correct?
Yeah. My fingerprints was never on this weapon. When we get to this, when we speak of the gun, they found a gun that was on the shelf. First and foremost, I never had knowledge that the gun was even on the shelf. From my understanding, once I saw the gun after they brought it out, I had knowledge of it from my tour manager. My tour manager was licensed to carry the weapon at the time. When I seen it, those was my exact words, “hey, that’s my manager’s gun”, and that’s what I knew it for. Outside of that, my baby mother who came to live with me at the time, she also—and til she day she possesses a gun license, she possessed a gun license at the time of the raid. My fingerprints was never lifted from the weapon. Like I said, I had no knowledge of even—I didn’t set the weapon in there or none of that. So my fingerprints wasn’t on the weapon, the gun didn’t work from my understanding. They found bullets that were to other weapons that didn’t match bullets to other weapons that were aside that weapon. My fingerprints wasn’t on none of that! My fingerprints wasn’t on nothing. And outside of that, the gun was found inside the home. I’ve always, even ‘til this day, even with me going to the penitentiary here in a minute, I’m just confused always on the possession part. How am I possession of firearms? I understand that it’s in my home, but it wasn’t in my possession. In all honesty, it wasn’t even in my control, but I’ma wear it ‘cause I had no idea that the gun was even in my home, to be real. If we just gon’ be all the way 100 about the situation. That’s why my fingerprints not on it, that’s why my fingerprints not on nothing. Because I had a studio home at the time, and I got security guards that run around me that’s licensed guys and able to carry these weapons. So even there’s a lot of traffic when you’re running a studio, so in that situation, meaning that what I’m saying is I had literally nothing to do with the gun or the bullets. The gun wasn’t stolen. It was registered to somebody else, I thought the gun was registered to my tour manager, but it wasn’t.
The way the IRS raid happened, did it feel like it was a drug raid? Like that’s what they were really after?
I know it was. I think they thought I was something that I ain’t for whatever reasons. For whatever reasons, they thought –the music man. The things that I speak on, the lyrics, my music, the individual that I am from actually coming from those environments, the things that I speak on are actually happening on a day to day basis, and actually being able to be loved and be able to still communicate and give good direction, to be a person that even has potential to bringing somebody on— So the reason that I think it really wasn’t about the gun situation—these guys decided to indict me 8 months after they actually found the gun in the home. So 8 months after they found the gun in the home, eight months, we almost talking about a year later, out of nowhere—they indicted me 9 months later. When they done the indictment and came out to serve the warrant for the indictment, they sent the DEA, the Drug Enforcement Agent to execute the warrant. Once the guys had came—they actually pulled me over on the interstate in unmarked vehicles.
[Buck's phone cuts out.]
You were saying you got pulled over.
They had pulled me over on the intersection on the interstate, they sent the D.E.A to actually execute the warrant, and they were kind of talking to me ’cause I’m like…this is a gun charge, what is the Drug Enforcement Agency pulling me over for? That was the first…you know, that was the first thing was like…you know, first words to me , ‘Hey, we’re with the Federal D.E Agency, turn your car off.’ And I was like, ‘The D.E.A? Well, you know, what’s the problem?’ and they was like, ‘Well look.’ These were the exact words from the officers, He said, ‘You’re going with us regardless, we have a field indictment for a gun charge…. A weapon and ammunition charge.’ He said, ‘But, these next questions that I ask you, they determine the rest of your life [pause]…In prison.’ I said, ‘What you saying?’ He said, ‘The next questions I ask you, is going to determine whether you go to prison or not.’ And I said, ‘What do you mean?’ and he named a few individuals. And I said, ‘I don’t know nothing about those individuals.’ I said, ‘I’m a celebrity, of course, you know, I may know who people are, but I don’t know what those individuals may do, or what comes along with them.’ And, you know, from there, he’s like, ‘Well, you sure this is your statement?’ and I said, ‘Look man, this is all I can give you…It’s the truth. What do you want me to do, sit her and lie on somebody else, or lie to you about something?’ I said, ‘Man look, whatever you do at this point, it looks like I’m headed to jail anyway, so go ahead.’ So from the very beginning, I realized, what my situation is—Once I realized and know, that this is not about these guns. They used the guns to basically bridge that to basically be able to you know, try to use me at the…at the things that I had no idea about, and other people that I had no idea what these people do or, you know none of that, so, my thing is that, you know, I felt as if I was considered a weak link, and maybe if they pressured me I could give them some kind of information and I have no information to give them. I’m, you know, so far away from anything that’s considered illegal, that it almost seems to me as if, you know, you guys are stupid. Look at who I am, I would be a fool, you know, to even go down the route the you guys are even thinking of. So for me, I realized, that it was going to be a real serious situation, because the agent told me out of his own mouth, the arresting agency…the arresting agent, he said, “Man, ima make sure that you go to the penitentiary.” And I tell you one thing, one of the most craziest things that I experienced in my life was sitting behind that bench a few days ago and watching the agent look at me in my eyes and gave me a smirk and a nod like, ‘I told you.’ And I know in my heart that I’m not supposed to be in prison, I think everybody even involved, fucking to the agent, the arresting agent, knows that I wasn’t supposed to be in prison. But, the fact that they weren’t able to walk away with what they thought they were able to—Well yeah, they could of given me for more…It made them really really drilled, the fact into getting a conviction out of it, a gun charge, which is absolutely ridiculous. But at the end of the day, I been put in a position…Honestly, I felt, I know I’m dealing with the situation, so for me, I felt… I felt as if, you know, Ima fight this situation, and therefor come clean, we’re gonna go and go as far as we possibly can because the truth of it is, you know, I’m not involved.