Rappers are often characterized as reckless individuals obsessed with materialistic possessions and the fast life. Most often, when we hear about them in the news, it’s often about some new trouble or legal case they are involved in, then again the same goes for most celebrities. However, there are some rappers who take time to give back to their communities, help others, and inspire the youth who look up to them. Here is a list of 10 of the most charitable rappers in the industry …
Of all the rappers in this list, the young Dee 1 probably has the least fame and visibility. He’s originally from New Orleans, and he’s presently managed by Jason Geter – who also manages superstar Atlanta rapper T.I. Even though he’s not rich yet by any means, Dee 1 spends a lot of his time making uplifting YouTube videos, recording motivational songs and sending empowering messages to his fans. He used to be a school teacher so he certainly understands firsthand what guidance and inspiration means in the lives of young people. He’s also known for organizing food drives and volunteering his time to worthy causes in his hometown of New Orleans.
In recent years, formidable Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy has mostly been in the news for his recurring beef with Miami kingpin Rick Ross and also for his very public break-up with his young protégé Freddie Gibbs. He recently released his latest album titled Seen It All, and all the critical acclaim the LP has received seems to have put Jeezy in a very good mood. He recently donated a whopping $1 million to the Jay Morrison Academy – an educational institution that teaches people from all walks of life about getting into real estate. The substantial scholarship donation was given through Jeezy’s Street Dreamz Foundation.
Houston rapper Trae tha Truth is one of those goodhearted rappers who is always giving back to his community – no matter whether the cameras are watching or not. The husky-voiced rapper is signed to T.I.’s Grand Hustle Records label and even though he really hasn’t had any huge mainstream success, he has a constantly growing and very loyal fan base. Every summer in Houston, he hosts a Trae Day festival where he organizes free rap concerts and has toys and other free activities for the local kids. He’s also known for spearheading food drives and winter coat giveaways during Thanksgiving and Christmas for the homeless and underprivileged. If you’re talking about the good guys in rap, Trae definitely needs to be mentioned.
As the original founding member and leader of the popular Black Eyed Peas, Will.i.am has made a load of money and produced hits for some of the biggest music stars in the industry. He has won 7 Grammy awards to date and he also has a very successful solo career. Over the years, Will has also established himself as a community leader and very generous philanthropist. In 2009, he launched his i.am.angel foundation which provides college scholarships, financial literacy education and home mortgage assistance for low-income families. His foundation also places a major emphasis on bridging the technology and computer literacy gap for young people in under-privileged inner-city neighborhoods.
Nas is one of the most talented rappers to ever rock a microphone. Even though his content matter usually harkens back to his tough upbringing in the Queensbridge projects of NYC, he’s also known for making some very uplifting songs like “One Mic,” “One Love” and “The World is Yours.” He also has a kind heart too. Last year, when he heard about an unemployed construction worker and single father of eight losing his home in a fire, he quickly went to work. He started an online charity drive and raised close to $50,000 to find the family a new and permanent home. Also in 2011, he worked together with UNICEF to provide aid relief to the Horn of Africa by donating $14,000 from a painting he sold at Art Basel. Not only is he a gifted poet and lyricist, but he’s a gracious giver too.
Lil Wayne currently makes his home in Miami, but he’s originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. After Hurricane Karina hit in 2005, the multi-millionaire rapper did his part to help with rebuilding the devastated region. Wayne donated $250,000 of his money to restore a community park he used to play in as a kid. Also last year, he collaborated with a non-profit after-school initiative called The Motivational Edge and donated $30,000 towards their projects. Often when Lil Wayne is in the news, it’s for legal troubles, so it’s definitely great to hear about the positive things he’s done.
Together Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce are worth over a billion dollars, so it would be really sad to hear that he doesn’t give back at all. But thankfully, that’s not the case. It’s been reported that since the inception of his Shawn Carter Foundation in 2003, Jay-Z has given away a little over $1.3 million dollars to various charities. He has also participated in numerous charity concerts and one can’t deny the fact that his plentiful business ventures have provided jobs and a source of livelihood to hundreds (perhaps thousands of people). After all, he was a major player in building the Barclays Stadium in NYC. The entire NYC economy probably got a huge boost from that project alone.
People may look at 50 Cent and think he’s this big bad rapper from Queens who raps about drugs and violence, but that’s just part of the story. 50 Cent may be filthy rich, but he is also one of the most charitable rappers in the game. 50 Cent has his own foundation called G-Unity, and through that, he does regular food and clothing drives and uplifting community projects. He’s always been a savvy entrepreneur and he uses ventures like his energy drink named Street King to do lifesaving water projects in Africa. He also donates portions of the profits from his headphone company to charity as well.
Some people may think Puff Daddy is only about the parties, the bling, the mansions and bottles of Ciroc – which is partly true. But the truth is that Diddy also does a lot of charity work to give back for all the blessings he’s been bestowed with. In 2003, he got himself in shape and ran the NYC Marathon to raise $2 million dollars for New York public schools and children suffering from HIV & AIDS. He’s also supported Breast Cancer cures by making a special pink slip through his successful Sean John clothing brand. Sean “Diddy” Combs is also on the board of directors of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network that offers scholarships and provides mentoring and guidance to inner-city kids.
Dr. Dre may just be one of the smartest businessmen in Hip-Hop. Over his long and illustrious career, he has made the transition from a producer and gangster rapper to a tech savvy businessman whose company owns a lion’s share of the total headphone market. Now that he’s almost a billionaire – due to the purchase of Beats by Dre by Apple, he made a very substantial donation to the University of Southern California. The amount of the donation was $70 million and it was a joint donation by him and his business partner Jimmy Iovine. The large endowment was to create a new degree program that blends business, marketing, product development, design and liberal arts.