Investing

10 rappers who are investing outside of hip-hop

Jay-Z’s “The Story of O.J.” was great for so many reasons, but its commentary on the black community (and young rappers) making smarter moves with their money was one that struck a significant chord.

Financial freedom my only hope
Fuck livin’ rich and dyin’ broke
I bought some artwork for one million
Two years later, that shit worth two million
Few years later, that shit worth eight million
I can’t wait to give this shit to my children
Y’all think it’s bougie, I’m like, it’s fine
But I’m tryin’ to give you a million dollars worth of game for $9.99

Jay was giving game for sure, but more so than a lecture, it was something he and a lot of rappers have been living.

No matter what profession you’re in, whether it’s professional sports, the arts, dance, real estate, or whatever, knowing how to use the opportunity of breaking the ceiling billions of people will die never being able to break is crucial.

There are stories of NFL players going broke after making more than anyone in their family ever has combined, and it’s because of the lack of examples and knowledge for them to know better.

This is why we should highlight the people who are doing it the right way.

Jay-Z

Sean Carter has always had a chess-like mentality when it comes to business.

Look at the cutthroat moves he made at his label and the clever album releases with Samsung and Sprint.  And the game never gets old to him.

Just in 2015, he invested in startups like Julep, a Seattle-based e-commerce beauty brand, and JetSmarter, a private plane company.

He also bought Aspiro, which we now know as Tidal.


Nas

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Queensbridge’s finest has always been a behind the scenes kind of guy.

I’ve seen his commercials with Hennessy but his mantra rang true when I found out he co-founded Queensbridge Venture Partners, which has a portfolio including Dropbox, Lyft, and Casper.


Snoop Dogg

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As well as being literally everyone you can imagine’s uncle, what makes Snoop so dope is that he has found a way to be constantly relevant without forcing it or being corny.

Whether it’s his GGN online news network or talk show with Martha Stewart, Snoop has always hands in one pot or another.

So when word got out that he started weed-centric fund Casa Verde Capital with $25 million and also started his own marijuana brand named Leafs by Snoop it made complete sense.


Will Smith

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The Philadelphia raised actor/rapper partnered with Andreessen Horowitz and Madrona Venture Partners as an investor in Julep as well as investing in the shopping platform Fancy and Chromatik, which is a site that offers a full catalog of sheet music so users can practice reading and playing their favorite songs.


Ludacris

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Luda is another rapper who decided to flip their money. Just as he did when he transitioned from rap into acting, he’s transcended into another area: business.

Let’s set aside that he co-founded Disturbing tha Peace, he took part in a $10 million Series A round for Roadie, which is an on-demand package delivery service that he invested alongside TomorrowVentures and several other angels.


Chamillionaire

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I bet there’s not a kid in this new generation that can name two of his tracks, but once upon a time Chamillionaire had a smash hit that dominated a solid calendar year in “Ridin’ Dirty.”

But if you think it’s been quiet for him since releasing music, you’re oh so wrong. Last year, he joined Upfront Ventures as an entrepreneur-in-residence.

In 2004, he launched his own record his own record company called Chamillitary Entertainment.


Drake

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Even October’s Very Own is getting into making his money work in his sleep. We know about his partnerships with Jumpman, his label OVO and his deal with Apple Music, but now Drake’s gone off to Silicon Valley.

Late last year, the hip-hop mogul invested in Omni, an on-demand storage app based in San Francisco.


50 Cent

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Maybe the only thing that can match 50 Cent’s trash talking is his gutsy business acumen.

Though he declared bankrupt in 2015, 50 had previously invested in the start-up Vitamin Water, which was bought by Coca-Cola. He’s also kinda taking over BET.

He also founded a clothing and headphones line. 50 did a lot to turn from gangster rapper to business mogul.


Nicki Minaj

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Nicki Minaj does not let anyone come between her and the money. Back in 2015, she invested in Music Messenger, a service allowing users to send and receive full music tracks from their smartphones to anyone on their contact list.

The $30 million deal completed a year ago, reportedly valued the company at $100 million and received participation from other artists including will.i.am and European DJs David Guetta and Tiesto.


Puff Daddy

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Yeah, you know about Ciroc, about how he climbed he way up at Uptown Records, about Revolt TV, and various other ventures, but did you know Diddy was an angel investor in Tiny App? It was later bought over by Paltalk in 2014.

What a lot of these rappers have in common is that they had a main career they were passionate about that came to an end, but still found a way to make as much of if not more than they were in their profession.

Vision can change but the hustle stays the same.

It’s like Jason Kidd turning into a three point shooter later in his career or Kobe reverting more to a post game in the latter days of his career — you have to be able to adapt.

It’s encouraging seeing rappers making these types of plays. They are the types of gems the younger generations need to see.

The only thing worse than not having money is having money and not knowing what to do with it.


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