Jelly Roll Opens Up About His Past Felony Charges for the First Time: ‘It Was a Heinous Crime, Admittedly’
Jelly Roll has been candid about his past as an incarcerated felon, but in a new interview, he opens up about the nature of his crime for the first time publicly.
In an interview with Joe Rogan, the 36-year-old rapper-turned-unlikely-country star talks about his conviction, which happened after “we robbed a couple of guys for some weed" when he was 15 years old.
He was charged as an adult because "it was a heinous crime, admittedly ... it was an armed robbery, we went in there with a gun."
"I regret it every day of my life," the "Save Me" singer says, adding that he spent much of the period between the ages of 14-25 behind bars.
Though he's long since turned his life around, Jelly Roll says, "I've carried that inexpugnable felony for 20-something years" due to Tennessee's zero-forgiveness policy for violent offenders.
As a result, it impacts his life in ways both large and small: He can't get life insurance and has to pay inflated rates for homeowner's insurance, "if I can get it at all ... dude, I can't even volunteer at the YMCA," he says incredulously, given his extensive work with at-risk youth in trying to keep them from the same path he took in his early years.
In fact, Jelly Roll says he put a quarter of a million dollars into some programs for incarcerated youth in Nashville after a triumphant hometown show at the Bridgestone Arena. He spent Thanksgiving with a group of kids, "and said, 'Look, y'all, I know a couple of you have been in here for a year or two, just like I was. I'm building a studio in here, and I'm building trade programs, and I got y'all's back.' We helped with a lot of lawyers, we worked with the state ... now they're building a new juvenile (detention center) that we're gonna sink millions into, and have an after-care program. I'm gonna do so much for at-risk youth in Nashville," he says determinedly.
He's also doing his part to offer a second chance to felons who've served their time; the singer is hiring felons only to work at his new food truck.
Jelly Roll is set to release his debut country album, Whitsitt Chapel, on June 2, and he'll hit the road for his 2023 Backroad Baptism Tour beginning July 23.