Richard Morales, Jr. (born July 18, 1979), better known by his stage name Gunplay, is an American hip hop recording artist from Carol City, Florida. He is currently signed to Def Jam and Maybach Music Group. He is a member of Southern hip hop group Triple C's, who released their debut album titled Custom Cars & Cycles, in 2009. After breaking out as a solo artist, he released several mixtapes such as the acclaimed 601 & Snort. His debut studio album Living Legend, is scheduled for release in early 2014.
He grew up in Carol City in South Florida with his Jamaican mother. He started using and selling cocaine at age 16 saying he used to spend $600–700 a week on drugs and thousands after his record deal.
1997-2009: Career beginnings with Triple C’s
In 1997, he met with Carol City native Rick Ross and their passion for music led them to form the group Triple C's (Carol City Cartel) alongside rappers Torch and Young Breed. The group worked hard to build a buzz, later releasing their debut album Custom Cars & Cycles in 2009, which debuted at #44 on the U.S. Billboard 200.
2009-present: Solo career and debut album
Gunplay made his solo debut on Rick Ross track "Gunplay" on the album Deeper Than Rap. He released mixtapes under Maybach Music Group while appearing on featured tracks and making appearances on collaborative albums. In July 2012, he signed a solo deal with Def Jam and will be releasing his debut album Medellin, originally called Bogotá, under both labels. He announced that he was working with producers from the south and he will be collaborating with producer Pharrell Williams. His mixtape, titled "601 & Snort," released September 2012 and has been well praised by critics and was named the tenth best album of 2012 by Spin Magazine. One of his featured guest appearance songs, "Cartoon & Cereal" with Kendrick Lamar, was ranked in Complex's Best 50 Songs of 2012 list at #2.
His mixtape Cops & Robbers was released on January 18, 2013. On May 7, 2013 he announced that he had changed the title of his debut album from Medellín to Living Legend. The album was described as "raw" and a "real street album by Gunplay and in early 2013 was claimed to be 75-80% done. He would go on to reveal Pharrell Williams will be producing a track called "Steel Drums" for the album and Yo Gotti and Big Sean would also be featured on the album. He was also featured on Lil Wayne's I Am Not a Human Being II on the song "Beat The Shit". His debut album Living Legend is scheduled to be released in early 2014.
TMZ had reported that on Wednesday, October 10, 2012, Richard Morales Jr. had turned himself in to Miami authorities, after a warrant had been issued for his arrest on charges of armed robbery. Morales also faced a second charge of aggravated assault with a firearm. According to the rapper's attorney, Gunplay could have faced life in prison if convicted on both counts. On October 13 a video leaked of Gunplay committing the crime. After seen talking on the tape, the man purported to be Gunplay brandishes a pistol, and eventually takes some jewelry and money from the accountant. A third, unidentified man in the meeting, who appeared to have come with the assailant, attempts to mediate the situation after which the man appearing to be Gunplay leaves. On October 22, 2012, he was given a $150,000 dollar bond and placed on house arrest in connection to the robbery which took place at a Miami tax business. He was released from house arrest during January 2013.
On the morning of February 25, 2013, Gunplay's trial began on the charges of armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault, stemming from when he allegedly pulled a gun on his accountant during April 2012. Later that day, it was announced that the case was dismissed because the victim, Turron Woodside, refused to further cooperate with authorities. Woodside refused to authenticate the footage of the incident and was "out of town" according to his family. Subsequently, the prosecution in the armed robbery case was forced to drop the charges against Gunplay.
Gunplay has a Swastika tattoo. In an interview, he said, "Swastika was originally a sign of peace, happiness, and love. The Nazis turned it into the symbol of death. That’s the same way I feel society does to people. We start off as innocent babies and it turns us into monsters. If the shoe fits, wear it."
At the 2012 BET Hip Hop Awards, Gunplay was involved in an fist fight with members of 50 Cent's G-Unit affiliates backstage. 50 Cent was later seen in a video, bowling wearing Gunplay's MMG (Maybach Music Group) chain. The chain was also shown in rapper 50 Cent's single's video clip 'Major Distribution' (ft. Snoop Dogg & Young Jeezy). The chain was worn by Kidd Kidd's son in the video.