The genre of Hip-Hop music has the ability to completely transform the lives of rappers. There are so many rappers who came up from the poorest neighborhoods, but they were able to use their words and creativity to become multimillionaires and totally change their lives. Another thing we’ve also noticed is how rappers tend to be natural and gifted entrepreneurs. It’s become a common occurrence to see them diversifying their portfolios and getting into real estate, restaurants, the clothing industry, endorsement deals and so much more. In the following article, we feature 10 rappers who decided to use their Hip-Hop dollars to open various eating and drinking establishments. Many of them talked about here went the franchise route, but there are others who decided to be more creative and open some very original eateries. Please proceed to the feature below …
10. Rick Ross
Rick Ross is certainly one of the biggest bosses in the rap game. He has been successfully carving a lucrative career for himself in the last ten years, and his reign doesn’t seem like it will end any time soon. Ross also happens to be a very savvy business man. In the last couple of years, he has diversified his portfolio by owning nine Wingstop franchises around the country. Not only is he an owner of these well-loved eating establishments, he’s also a big fan of their poultry-rich menu. As he says in several of his rap songs, their Lemon Pepper wings are his favorite of all time.
When it comes to business smarts, Jay Z is a master amongst minions. Apart from his successful music career, he has a thriving music and sports management company, he owns a popular Champagne brand and he’s also the owner of the popular upscale chain of sports bars/restaurants named 40/40. There used to be quite a few 40/40 locations spread all over the nation, but now there are only two located in some very prime areas. One of them is located in Atlantic City and the other is located in the Barclays Center Basketball stadium in Brooklyn. Ka-Ching!
Harlem rapper Cam’ron is one of the most conspicuous and entrepreneurial rappers in the Hip-Hop industry. It seems like those are traits that ran through most rappers hailing from Harlem, NYC. He’s a flashy emcee who’s always about his money. When the Ebola scare was at its highest heights, he even tried selling “Killa Cam” facemasks. But in a more traditional business move, Cam’ and Dame Dash will soon be opening a Mediterranean restaurant in Dumbo, Brooklyn called Dish. It’s scheduled to open this year, and it will also have a lounge area called Dash.
7. Doug E. Fresh
The rapper Doug E. Fresh is most likely an unknown name to fans of Hip-Hop today. His heyday was way back in the mid to late 80’s, and he was one of the Hip-Hop pioneers who truly mastered the art of beatboxing. These days, his sons have formed a rap group called Square Off, and he’s in the restaurant business. In October of 2012, he opened an eating establishment in Harlem called Doug E Fresh Chicken & Waffles. The spot is doing very well, and he’s in plans to open a second location soon.
Pharrell is a rapper, singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and all-around creative genius. He is also known for doing collabs with some of the biggest fashion brands in the world including Chanel and Louis Vuitton. But you may also be surprised to hear that Mr. Pharrell Williams is also an investor in the fast food business. According to Forbes magazine, the Virginia-based hitmaker partnered with the Fatburger Chief Executive Andrew Wiederhorn in 2007 to open restaurants all the way in China. There must be some latent attraction between Fatburger and celebs. Other stars that have been associated with this burger company in one way or another include Queen Latifah, Magic Johnson, Janet Jackson and The Roots.
5. Styles P
The rapper Style P is 1/3 of the hardcore NYC crew called The LOX. Their crew is certainly one of the most consistent street oriented outfits in Hip-Hop. Each of the group members (Jadakiss, Sheek and Styles P) has a very unique and independent style, and they have survived through several different eras of the Hip-Hop game. It would also interest you to know that Styles P. is a very health-conscious person (even though he has such a tough guy persona). A couple of years ago, he started a juice bar called Juices For Life and he recently added a second location in 2014.
4. Kanye West
When you look at Kanye West and all his rich tastes, luxurious habits and fine threads, the last thing one would associate him with is fast food. However in 2008, in an attempt to make himself even richer, he was able to obtain a franchise license to open 10 locations of the popular West Coast chain Fatburger. One of those flagship locations closed in 2011, but there are reports that last year, he scooped up some Burger King locations all over the world and gifted them to Kim K on her birthday. Is that the future of Kimye – becoming moguls of the highly profitable fast food world?
There’s no doubt about it, Pitbull is one of the most popular and loved celebs in Miami. Not only is he a successful rapper and global selling musician, but he is also a great role model for Cuban-Americans everywhere – especially with the type of mainstream success he has achieved. In 2012, it was announced that Pitbull had a major equity stake in the Florida restaurant company, Miami Subs Grill. It seems like a great relationship for both parties; Miami Subs gets the exposure from being associated with Pitbull and the party rapper gets to diversify his investment portfolio.
This is a very new development and one that seems to be very promising indeed. Rapper T.I. is often labeled the King of The South, and it seems he’s trying to add the tag of culinary mogul to his many accomplishments. It was recently announced on Atlanta Eater that the successful rapper would be renovating the Vibe restaurant and lounge in Atlanta and transforming the space into an upscale southern eatery. The restaurant is slated to open this March and it will be located in historic downtown area. All his other ventures including clothing labels and Hollywood movies have been very lucrative, so it will be interesting to see how this new direction works for him.
While most rappers usually enter the food industry with fast food franchises, the rapper Ludacris decided to aim for the stars by opening an exotic, upscale Singaporean restaurant in 2008 called Straits. The restaurant was located in his hometown of Atlanta and it had a good four year run before closing its doors in 2012. One of the main reasons that Chris “Ludacris” Bridges decided to close it down is because he wanted to focus on a new restaurant concept called Chicken N Beer (also the name of his third album) which is slated to be opened at Atlanta’s International airport.