Todays hip hop artists may be known better for their entrepreneurship than for their platinum recordings. A number of rappers have branched out and created strong names in the business world.
Here are 10 hip hop artists (in no particular order) that don’t have to depend on the music industry to put food on the table.
Hip Hop Entrepreneurs
1. Sean Combs
Sean Combs also known as Diddy is worth approximately $580 million himself. Owner of Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group, Combs has his hand in a variety of ventures. Have you been to a Justin’s restaurant in New York or Atlanta? Combs owns them. Have you watched a movie produced by Bad Boy Films? Combs owns that. Clothing lines, production companies and cologne lines; Diddy has them all and runs them with a Midas touch.
Diddy ranked in as #1 Highest Paid Hip Hop Artist this year on Forbes.com.
2. 50 Cent
Worth over $250 million, and surprisingly most of his earnings sit well outside the music industry. 50 Cent had a start in Entrepreneurship when he inked his G-Unit Clothing line with Reebok, he then carried on his ventures with Vitamin Water’s parent company Glaceu who eventually sold to Coca-Cola for a whopping 4.1 Billion, cutting off a nice piece of the cake for 50 Cent, leaving him with $100 Million straight off the bat.
50 Cent could not get enough of the “entrepreneur hustle” and decided to release “Magic Stick Condoms”, “SMS Audio” headphones and a sports energy drink called “SK Energy Shots“.
Stay tuned for more news on 50 because he’s not slowing down anytime soon.
3. Shawn Carter
Better known to the public as “Jay-Z,” Sean Carter has been an entrepreneur from the time he was young. Carter was the president and CEO of both Def Jam and Roc-A Fella Records, a minority owner of the New Jersey Nets, and a co-owner of sports-bar chain 40/40.
The super-star rapper’s latest business outlet is Roc Nation Sports, a sports management company that has agents shaking in their shoes.
4. Kanye West
By the time Kanye West hit his late 20′s, the rapper was an accomplished film director, record producer and fashion designer. His sophomore effort during 2012′s Paris Fashion Week was received with positive reviews.
Not content to design only clothing, Kanye West has designed shoewear for Guiseppe Zanotti, Bape and Louis Vuitton. Though West’s foundation, The Dr. Donda West Foundation, ceased operations in 2011, he continues to offer his support to a variety of charitable efforts.
5. Styles P
This well known bronx rapper is not afraid to step outside of the gritty hood and make a world wide name for himself in various arenas.
Styles P released his first novel “Invincible” back in 2010 and has become a 5 star read on Amazon. Styles P also understands that a well balanced life doesn’t just come from reading, that you have to look after your body and health also so he setup a healthy juice bar in Bronx, New York and called it “Juices For Life“.
6. Jermaine Dupri
Jermaine Dupri became a producer at the age of 14 and quickly turned the gig into a successful rapping career. The former Virgin Records Executive is the CEO of So So Def Records, owner of Café Dupri in Atlanta, and a player in the distillery 3 Vodka.
Keep an eye on Jermaine Dupri; plans are in place to franchise his healthy eatery and expand beyond the Atlanta market.
He’s not called “Chamillionaire” for nothing. This talented young grammy award winning rapper burst onto the scene with a plan: to make money and invest it wisely. “Hakeem Seriki” is the owner of his own record label, Chamilitary Entertainment.
Chamillionaire is also an investor in Fly Rydes, a Houston-based car customization company. Additionally, Seriki owns a tour bus company and Masterpiece Mind Frame, a modeling agency that helps young models achieve their goals.
8. Katrina Taylor
You know her as “Trina,” the self-professed “baddest bitch” in hip hop. Perhaps better known currently for her business ventures than her music, she’s been putting her money where her mouth is since coming onto the scene in 1998.
A perfume line – Diamond Princess, a clothing line – Denim and Diamond, and a nonprofit organization – Diamond Doll Foundation, prove that this lady knows how to get the job done.
With a given name too long to say, Akon has two records under his belt and an incredible business career. The hip hop artist and singer is a film producer, a fashion designer, and has a hand in non-conflict diamond mining in Africa. A new record label, Kon Live Distribution, is the brainchild of this ever-evolving artist.
Word is that Akon is venturing into NASCAR launching AkonMotor Sports this year.
10. Carlton Ridenhour
You know this entrepreneur by his stage name, “Chuck D”. Pioneering a new breed of rap wasn’t enough for this businessman. Ridenhour created Chuck D Mobile, a service acquired by VeriSign for a cool $250 million.
Look for Chuck D in the news as he continues to show support for digital rights for artists within the music industry.
If there’s anything to learn from the 10 hip hop artists turned entrepreneurs on this list, it’s this: Never get pigeonholed. Each of these hip hop artists are an excellent example of both following your dreams and branching out.