While there have been some rappers that have managed to hold onto their fortunes, there are others that have seemed to get caught up in that lavish lifestyle.
When it comes to rap artists and the rap genre in the music industry, it seems like there has always been a certain stereotype when it comes to how these artists should represent themselves. While people have often criticized rap music for detailing crime, disrespecting women, and glorifying drugs, the other part of rap music has often centered around the lavish lifestyle they are supposed to be living. From popping bottles of champagne at the club to driving around in Bentleys, it seems like rap has always contained a certain persona that artists try and personify in real life.
While there have been some rap artists that have managed to hold onto their fortunes and invest wisely during their most successful years, there are others that have seemed to get caught up in living that lavish lifestyle and have succumbed to some poor choices in regards to their finances. Not every rapper has an endless amount of funds that they can squander without any retribution and not every rapper can continue to live that lavish lifestyle that they have so desperately tried to maintain. With so many rappers falling onto hard times in regards to their finances, it's interesting to look back on their successful moments and see how they would flaunt their diamonds and cars. Check out our list of the 15 rappers who blew all their money on cars and are now running on empty and see if any of your favorite lyricists have made the list.
15. LIL’ KIM
When Lil' Kim started to make a name for herself in the world of rap music, she was given a huge amount of legitimacy because of her association with Biggie Smalls. The Notorious B.I.G. was solidifying himself to be thought of as one of the greatest rappers of all time and Lil' Kim was seen performing at his shows and being featured on his albums. After the death of The Notorious B.I.G. in 1997, Lil' Kim had already received a huge amount of acclaim for her debut studio album that was released in 1996. She continued to have a huge amount of success in rap music and was a huge figure in the music industry. While people respected her as a lyricist, she was also becoming a figurehead on the red carpet. She consistently wore over-the-top ensembles and made headlines with some of her scantily clad looks. Lil' Kim was known to be outlandish in her style choices and was no stranger to spending an obscene amount of money in living in luxury. Yet, things changed when she was sentenced to a year and a day in jail time in 2005. This definitely put a damper on her rap career and things got worse when she was sued for $2.5 million by her former label and faced $1 debt to the government for back taxes in 2012.
14. MC HAMMER
When MC Hammer first started making a name for himself in the music industry, there wasn't an exact genre that he could neatly fit in. While he was seen as a rap artist, it seemed like a watered down version in comparison to some of the other hardcore artists in the rap genre. There were some that criticized his style of pop rap music but that didn't take away from the huge amount of success that he had with his music. MC Hammer released a number of hit albums and was the first hip hop artist to ever achieve diamond status due to the stellar amount of sales. While his most famous songs included hits like "U Can't Touch This" and "2 Legit 2 Quit," MC Hammer was by no means considered to be a one-hit-wonder.
Yet, even with such a huge fortune accumulated throughout his career, MC Hammer famously squandered it all and began facing financial problems in 1996. He was known for living a lavish lifestyle and he even once lived in a 400,000 square foot house with a 17-car garage. Regardless of how much he brought in, he seemed to be doling it out just as quickly. MC Hammer wound up filing for bankruptcy in 1996 and was reportedly $13 million in debt.
Earl Simmons, better known by the name DMX, was once considered a huge figure in the world of rap music. He had a signature sound that made him instantly recognizable when he lent lyrics to a song and started making a huge name for himself in the 1990s. Most people remember him best for the hit singles that came from the ...And Then There Was X album but it seemed like he always stood out when he had a verse or two on other music artists' tracks. With his signature sound, it wasn't surprising that Hollywood came calling for him to appear on the big screen and his lead performance in the film, Belly, was hugely acclaimed.
DMX was making a huge amount of money through his work in the music industry and his acting endeavors, but it didn't seem like he was spending that fortune wisely.
On top of living the lavish lifestyle (which included having 15 children with 9 different women), court documents were filed alleging that he had went to great lengths to hide funds from the government to avoid paying taxes. In 2016, DMX filed for bankruptcy for the third time since 2009 and continues to battle his legal and financial problems.
12. BOW WOW
When Bow Wow first started garnering the attentions of big music industry individuals like Snoop Dogg and Jermaine Dupri, it seemed like a brand new category for someone so young to start making a name for themselves in rap music. Yet, people really gravitated towards his small stature and his skills as a lyricist. When he first started becoming known to the public, he was known as Lil' Bow Wow and had a huge amount of success through singles like "Bounce With Me" and "Puppy Love." As he continued to grow and evolve, he was seen as more than just a kid that could rap.
He became a huge heartthrob for young girls and embarked on an acting career that added greatly to his professional career. He starred in hit films like The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and even had a few lead roles on the big screen. He's even had some roles on the small screen, including a sizeable run on CSI: Cyber and the hit HBO series, Entourage. While he's known for being quite flashy with his spending, Bow Wow claimed to only have $1,500 in his checking account in 2012 when he was fighting paying $3,000 a month to his ex.
11. TRICK DADDY
Maurice Young is known by the rap name, Trick Daddy, and started making a name for himself in the music industry when he was featured on a song from the Uncle Luke album in 1996. This gave him the opportunity that ultimately landed him his own record deal and a debut studio album that became a huge success in his home state of Florida. He continued to pursue his career as a rap artist and started to team up with some other well-known artists. Trick Daddy began making headlines when he teamed up with Lil Jon, Twista, and the Ying Yang Twins in the 2000s and he even lent his lyrics to Pitbull in 2007 for The Boatlift album.
With so much success in all of his endeavors, it shouldn't be surprising that Trick Daddy felt like he was able to spend his fortune on things like cars and lavish mansions. Yet, he didn't put the same sort of effort into the way he handled his finances. In 2010, Trick Daddy's home was reportedly foreclosed on and he had to fight the courts with allegedly owing over $150,000 in back taxes. With other up-and-coming rappers starting to make a name for themselves, Trick Daddy just couldn't seem to maintain his popularity and his finances suffered because of it.
10. YOUNG BUCK
When Young Buck started to make a name for himself as a rap artist, he was a rapper within the group, UTP Playas. This was a group on Juvenile's record label and it seemed like there was a lot of promise for Young Buck. Yet, his time with Cash Money Records went through some tumultuous times and the same can be said for his role in UTP Playas. When Young Buck started collaborating with G-Unit, it seemed like things were going to get better for him but there were some legal issues that continued to follow him throughout his career. He was living the lavish lifestyle of someone that was within the Cash Money Records category but that didn't seem like it was going well for his finances.
He filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and continued to fight the judge in his case over the decision to reorganize his debts or liquidate his assets.
With owing the government back taxes and spending the bulk of his fortune, it seemed like the public auction to raise the funds to pay his debt was the best route for Young Buck. While there is still a chance for Young Buck to make that big comeback in rap music, there are many that think that his time has passed.
9. JERMAINE DUPRI
Some people don't realize just how talented Jermaine Dupri is in regards to his role in the music industry. Yet, he has had quite a bit of success over his lengthy career. He is the individual that actually formed the teen duo group, Kris Kross, and established the hugely successful record label, So So Def Recordings. He was also the person that saw the potential in the girl group, Xscape, and has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music industry. People remember him best for the collaborative works with Mariah Carey, but his personal life has also made it to the headlines on more than one occasion. He famously had a romantic relationship with Janet Jackson but the two wound up ending their romance.
With Jermaine Dupri having a hand in the careers of some of the other big names in the music industry, it would seem like he would have a huge fortune to retire on if he were so inclined.
Yet, the expenditures that he was known for seemed to catch up with him. With reportedly owing over $2 million in back taxes, all of the furniture, property and luxury cars he had accumulated over the years were seized by the IRS in 2002.
When people think about the greatest rappers of all time, they inevitably think of best-selling artists like Tupac and Biggie Smalls. Yet, there is still one rapper that is still alive that is also considered to be one of the most influential and successful rappers of all time. Nas is a rapper, record producer, actor and entrepreneur that has released eight consecutive albums that have gone on to become certified platinum. He's sold over 25 million records throughout his lengthy career and achieved a huge amount of acclaim over his portrayal in the hit film, Belly.
While he's often thought of as an underground rap artist, that doesn't mean that he hasn't had a slew of hits that have become beloved by mainstream listeners. His 1994 album, Illmatic, has consistently made the top of the list for ranking the greatest hip-hop albums of all time and people still flock to his concerts to see him perform live on stage. Yet, that doesn't mean that he's been extremely responsible with the funds he's earned over the years. The divorce from his ex-wife, Kelis, brought out a number of documents detailing the failing state of his financial affairs and in 2009, he had his earnings garnished to pay over $6 million in back taxes.
When Xzibit started to make a name for himself as a rap artist, it seemed like there was a niche that he could fill in the music industry. Yet, it didn't take long for people to move on to other up-and-coming rap artists and Xzibit's time had come to an end. Yet, that didn't mean that he was going to completely segregate himself from the limelight since he got a job hosting the hit MTV series, Pimp My Ride. People loved his commentary on all of the great cars and his status as a rapper that seemed to know about that lavish lifestyle of extraordinary cars seemed like the best fit for the show. Yet, the series ultimately came to an end and was canceled in 2008. In 2009, he filed for bankruptcy and his home went into foreclosure. Yet, that wasn't the end to his financial difficulties.
In 2011, there were reports that Xzibit owed around $1 million in back taxes to the government and had to scramble in order to pay off that debt.
There have been a few bones thrown his way in recent years, including another role on the small screen. This time, he wasn't going to be showcasing his bubbly personality. Instead, he portrayed the rival to Lucious in the hit TV series, Empire.
6. METHOD MAN
Method Man was first introduced to the world as a member of the hip hop collective, Wu-Tang Clan. He garnered a huge amount of attention for his role in the rap group, which helped him when he branched out to collaborate with Redman. There was a time when Method Man was considered one of the best rappers in the music industry and even earned himself a Grammy Award. Many people remember his music career through his hit collaboration with Mary J. Blige in the single, "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By," but he's also had quite a few acting roles. While he's undoubtedly remembered for his role in the hit film, Belly, he seems to have had a great deal more success on the small screen.
He starred in three separate shows on HBO and even made an appearance in the superhero television series Luke Cage. While his decisions in his acting roles all seem to have panned out well, that doesn't mean that his financial decisions have worked out well.
He underwent some dire financial struggles in 2009 and owed over $50,000 to the government. This was around the time when one of his vehicles was reportedly repossessed and there were reports that he was still being sought after for not paying taxes in 2002.
5. 50 CENT
When 50 Cent was first introduced to the world, he was seen as a great new talent under the wing of Dr. Dre and Eminem. His debut studio album, Get Rich or Die Tryin', was a huge hit in 2003 and people started thinking of him as a great rapper with mainstream potential. Yet, his endeavors weren't just limited to the music industry and he ultimately branched out to other areas in the entertainment industry. He is seen as a producer, rapper, actor and businessman with a number of great successes that have helped to build up his fortune.
With such success, he's also been known to flaunt his wealth when it comes to his homes, cars, and carrying around big wads of cash.
Yet, living that rapper lifestyle and making a few poor decisions in his personal life ultimately led him to have to file for bankruptcy. In July 2015, 50 Cent filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and in 2014, there was a $17.2 million judgment against him over a questionable design on headphones. While he continues to show off his wealth via social media and he's having some success in his series, Power, there is still some questions surrounding him regarding his finances.
4. KANYE WEST
Kanye West was first introduced to the world as an underground artist that was a big name for rap music, behind-the-scenes. Once he released his debut studio album, people started to think of him as more than just an underground artist and producer. He achieved mainstream success with hit singles like "Gold Digger" and "Heartless." He has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music industry, from Jay-Z to Katy Perry. Yet, his successes in his music career didn't outshine the controversies within his personal life. From grabbing the microphone from Taylor Swift to his ultra-controversial political comments, it seems like West has remained in the headlines in some form or fashion throughout his entire career. While he's known for his incredibly successful and sought after Yeezy line, there are a few things that people don't realize about his endeavors to get into the world of fashion.
In 2016, Kanye West admitted to social media that he was in $53 million in personal debt because of his failed attempts at breaking into the fashion industry.
many people don't realize that West actually had a number of other fashion lines that weren't successful and the incredible sales of his Yeezy line wasn't helping because he wasn't receiving a percentage of the sales with his collaboration with Nike.
3. FAT JOE
When Fat Joe created his own record label, it seemed like one of his talents was being able to see potential in the incredible artists that he signed. The Terror Squad label signed big names like Big Pun, Remy Ma and DJ Khaled, just to name a few. Fat Joe ultimately released his on debut studio solo album in 1993 and it became a huge hit with more than just fans of the rap genre. With a number of successful hit singles, Fat Joe only increased his notoriety by teaming up with other artists like Ashanti, Ja Rule, and Lil Wayne.
He also made a big name for himself through his lavish spending habits. While he was always seen in lavish mansions and luxury cars, he apparently wasn't great at paying his taxes.
He allegedly hadn't reported a huge amount of income that was brought in between 2007 and 2010 and it ultimately came back to haunt him. He was hit with a $139,000 tax lien in 2010 and it seemed like he was in a dire situation for quite some time. While he's currently trying to make a comeback, his collaboration with Remy Ma may not be enough to get him back to where he once was in rap music.
Tyga was once seen as a hugely talented up-and-coming rapper that had a bright future ahead of him. He was featured on Keeping Up with the Kardashians as the hugely sought-after rapper to perform during a birthday episode, which helped to get his name out there with potential fans. Things really started to amp up for him once he started a romantic relationship with Kylie Jenner. The couple was seen lavishing each other with hugely expensive gifts, driving around in luxury vehicles and living it up in mansions. While Kylie's bank account grew exponentially through her Kylie Lip Kits, Tyga's rapping career didn't seem to have the same sort of success. Kylie definitely seemed to be able to afford the lifestyle that they were living but Tyga's finances were in dire conditions.
Tyga has had to go through a number of lawsuits from property owners because he allegedly stopped paying rent on a number of different personal and commercial spaces.
One of the people that sued him was actually the ex-fiancé of Simon Cowell, since she alleged that she rented him a mansion for his rental home and he wasn't paying the rent. Mezhgan Hussainy sued for over $40,000 in back rent and this isn't the first time Tyga has come under fire for not paying his bills.
Brian "Birdman" Williams was once known to the public as a titan in the music industry and one of the biggest rap moguls in the world of rap music. The Cash Money label seemed like one of the biggest names that could help promote a career and it was Birdman that was at its helm. The Cash Money label seemed to have the winning recipe for unleashing new artists into the world of rap music and Birdman was getting a piece out of all of the artists. There was a time when everything seemed to be coming out on top for the Cash Money label and all of its artists but there were grumblings behind-the-scenes that had some people wondering about the financial situation.
Some of the artists complained about not being paid and Birdman was starting to undergo some major financial difficulties. The South Florida Business Journal revealed a foreclosure lawsuit over this multimillion-dollar mansion and there were reports that he was being forced to sell some assets to pay off some of his debt. While trying to save his mansion, there were documents released about his failure to pay off a loan and that it went into default.