Rappers Today Aren’t Just Making Music, but Are Building Their Business Empires as Well. Here Are 10 Such Richest Rappers.
As if music wasn’t hard work enough, these richest rappers have invested and built up impressive and successful businesses that have earned them millions breaking all stereotypes of what modern-day rappers are all about.
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Birdman – $100 Million
Bryan Christopher Williams, born in New Orleans in 1969, is better known by his stage name of Birdman.
Aluxers, if you need inspiration to turn your life around, this is the guy to look up to. He lost both his parents, his mom when he was 2 and his dad at 27. He grew up in Magnolia Projects, an area notorious for crime in New Orleans. He committed robberies and sold heroin and spent 22 months at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center.
You could say the rest is history, but it took hard work and determination to become one of the richest rappers in the world.
On the business front he founded Cash Money Records in 1991. There was talk of an oil and gas exploration company in 2010, but that hasn’t come to fruition and then his clothing line, Respek, was launched in 2016.
Hopefully its wedding bells soon for him and fiancé, Toni Braxton.
LL Cool J – $120 Million
James Todd Smith, born in Bay Shore, New York in 1968, is better known by his stage name of LL Cool J.
He has been rapping since he was 9, creating demo tapes at his grandparents’ home by 16 and it was his jazz saxophonist grandfather who bought him his first turntables.
Aside from music, his business endeavours have kept him busy over the years. They include a clothing line called Todd Smith, a music label called P.O.G, Rock the Bells Records, he founded and launched Boomdizzle.com where aspiring artists could upload their music and could get feedback, votes and enter contests.
He has a radio station, RockTheBellsSXM CH43, and launched the Rock The Bells fashion collection in 2020.
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Pharrell Williams – $150 Million
Pharrell Lanscilo Williams, born in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1973, is better known by his stage name of Pharrell Williams.
This 13-time Grammy Award winner is also a business mogul, with several successful collaborations and business ventures under his… hat, earning him a place in the list of richest rappers.
He partnered with Japanese fashion icon Nigo to release streetwear brands Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream footwear. In 2011 he was named creative director at the online retail giant Karmaloop. A year after, he launched his social media venture called “I Am Other.”
He has launched a sunglasses range, collaborated with massive names like Adidas to launch his NMD “Human Race” collection and we completely endorse his collab with G-Star Raw and his own textile company, Bionic Yarn, called “Raw for the Oceans.” This initiative saw denim being made from recycled plastic found in the ocean.
Drake – $180 Million
Aubrey Drake Graham, born in Toronto, Ontario in 1986, is better known by his stage name of Drake. He started his career out in acting. He was on the teen drama television series Degrassi: The Next Generation. He was so determined to be a muso, and left the series after releasing his debut mix tape.
Drake knows that there is more to life than just making music, like making money.
His business interests are broad, from whiskey to clothing, restaurants and radio stations, he has managed to amass a small fortune.
Besides owning an impressive property portfolio and having hugely successful collaborations with names like Adidas, Nikem, Sprite and Burger King. He is co-owner of O.V.O – October’s Very Own — an umbrella company for his clothing line, record label, and radio station and in November 2019, launched More Life Growth Co., his own cannabis company.
Take to heart Drake’s words, Aluxers, “Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.”
Usher – $180 Million
Usher Raymond IV was born in Dallas, Texas in 1978, is better known by his stage name of Usher. His mother saw talent from a young age, and when he was 12, started entering him in local singing competitions.
Usher is not only born to be a musician, but he’s got the green thumb when it comes to doing well in business too. Besides acting, he’s been involved in several successful restaurants, he’s launched his own fragrance range and is also part owner of Tidal – a music streaming service owned and managed by musicians – including Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Beyonce, Rihanna, Madonna, J.Cole, and Nicki Minaj.
In 2015 he did something unique, and became partners with Yoobi, a school supplies company based in LA whose aim is to also provide stationery for children in need.
Add investments and endorsements, and you have a businessman to look up to, making his way in the richest rappers list.
Master P – $200 Million
Percy Robert Miller was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1970 and is better known by his stage name of Master P.
He started off as an avid basketball player and was granted an athletic scholarship to Houston University but left to attend Merritt College in California to major in business administration. With the help of inheritance left to him by his grandfather, he opened a record store in Richmond, California called No Limit Records. This eventually became the name of his own record label.
You could say Master P has a business empire. Here’s a look at his business ventures:
– No Limit Records
– No Limit Clothing
– No Limit Films
– No Limit Sports Management
– P.M. Properties / MP Realty
– Big Poppa Burgers
– Moneyatti – a luxury brand selling shoes, clothing and accessories.
– Rap Noodles
– Uncle P’s – a food brand owned by a black company with black people endorsing the products.
Other endeavours included a phone sex business, No Limit Communications, and an energy drink called Make Em Say Ughh!
Dr Dre – $820 Million
Andre Romelle Young was born in Compton, California in 1965, and is better known by his stage name of Dr Dre.
As a kid he moved often and had a multitude of step siblings added into the mix. Not having the best grades, Dre didn’t study further and decided to focus on his social life and entertainment.
Dre is one of the richest hip-hop singers/ rappers, and has a lot of businesses interests that have helped him gain a net worth of $820 million.
Music labels aside, one of his biggest business ventures is Beats Electronics. This was launched in 2006 along with his friend, Interscope Records founder, Jimmy Iovine. Iovine had two major issues in the music industry. Piracy and sh*ty quality earphones. As he said, “Man, it’s one thing that people steal my music. It’s another thing to destroy the feeling of what I’ve worked on.”
Beats Electronics produces high-quality audio products, and several well-known musos endorsed his range in their music videos, including Akon, Lil Wayne, and Lady Gaga.
P Diddy – $885 Million
Sean John Combs was born in Harlem in New York City in 1969 and is better known by several stage names including Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Puffy, Love, Diddy and a year ago to Sean LOVE Combs according to highsnobiety.com.
Diddy is a business guru and has had great success in several business ventures. As he explains it, “My mother was always working for a job, so I guess I was always trained that I should have multiple jobs, multiple aspirations. And I remember she had multiple aspirations, always hearing about her dreams and things she did in the past and things she wanted to do.”
Here’s what he’s been up to while still recording and producing.
He released a clothing line called Sean John which won the Council of Fashion Designers of America award for Menswear Designer of the Year in 2004.
He released a fragrance dedicated to Barack Obama, Muhammad Ali, and Martin Luther King Jr., called “I am King,” and then later the brand’s GIRLS collection.
From there it was Combs Enterprises, an umbrella company for his portfolio of businesses, he helped develop the Cîroc vodka brand, he has a major equity stake in Revolt TV and has a majority holding in Aquahydrate.
Kanye West – $1.3 Billion
Kanye Omari West was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1977 and is better known by his stage name of Kanye West.
He needs little introduction; we focus on purely on his business dealings which include his deal with Adidas for his sneaker brand Yeezy. It’s this collaboration that got West recognized as an official billionaire by Forbes, as it generated roughly $1.3 billion in sales in 2019.
Separate to the Adidas collab, he owns the Yeezy apparel line, and he’s had great success with his Sunday Service.
Gap announced in 2020 that would start selling his Yeezy range.
He’s tried his hand in the restaurant industry, he’s got record labels, he opened a content creation company called DONDA, there was talk of an automobile company to work on flying cars and then of course, his passion for politics.
His music doesn’t define him. As he puts it, “Why, if someone is good in one field can they not be accepted or given the slightest opportunity to express and be creative in other fields?”
If you want to know more about Kanye and learn lessons from his life, check out 25 Things You Didn’t Know About Kanye West.
Jay Z – $1.4 Billion
Shawn Corey Carter was born in Brooklyn, New York City in 1969 and is better known by his stage name, Jay Z.
This rapper / business mogul has investments left, right and centre and he has the Midas touch when it comes to businesses successes.
Just recently he had two enormous business deals come through making him top the list of richest rappers. He sold a majority share of Tidal to Square for $297 million and he sold half of his stake in his champagne brand Armand de Brignac to Bernard Arnault’s LVMH, while still retaining 50%.
Add the cognac brand he owns, D’Usse, the salad restaurant chain, Sweetgreen, insurance start-up, Ethos, cannabis product range called “Monogram.” There’s Tidal, Roc Nations Sports, his own cigars and Aluxers, that’s just scratching the surface.
We recommend you listen to “Empire State of Mind, How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office,” By: Zack O’Malley Greenburg on Audible.com using Alux.com/freebook.
We leave you with his words, “I’m not a ‘Business-Man’! I’m a Business… man! Let me handle my business, d*mn!”
Aluxers, which of these richest rappers do you find most inspiring? We’d love to hear your thoughts.