Rap songs are often filled with lyrics about how the rapper had to overcome a myriad of hardships in order to be successful. You get a vivid picture of rough living conditions, turning to a life of crime and doing whatever it takes to provide for their family are often common themes in rap songs. Some hip-hop artists even allude to the fact that they are still living “on the edge,” and aren’t above getting into fights and even murdering someone if it means maintaining their respect and reputation “in the streets.”
Of course, these are not the subjects of all rap songs. A number of hip-hop albums are dedicated to other topics, such as love, romance, family and social issues. Most of the people who listen to rap on a regular basis follow the lives of these artists, and can sometimes confirm whether or not their favorite rappers have lived the lives they rap about. However, there are some rappers who had pretty cushy upbringings, yet still try to pretend they have naturally gritty personas.
Do rich rappers purely see the music art form as entertainment? Do they try to emulate the lifestyles they want to rap about? That’s all debatable, but there’s no denying that some of these rappers were wealthy even before they were even born. Here are 10 rappers who were born rich.
10. Ricky Hil
Ricky Hil, who formerly went by the name Rich Hil, is the son of fashion mogul Tommy Hilfiger. However, you’d never know it unless you looked past the collection of tattoos on his body (and the marijuana smoke that is likely to surround him) to see that he looks a lot like his dad. Ricky grew up in the suburbs of Connecticut, and was surrounded by rich famous people, including rappers who were attracted to his father’s clothing line. Hil started rapping as a teenager and caught the attention of Warner Bros, where he signed his record deal. Ricky Hil has made more than 18 mixtapes, but rap aficionados have a hard time taking him seriously because of his lavish upbringing.
9. JoJo Simmons
JoJo’s rap career didn’t take off the way he thought, but there are still plenty of people, fellow rappers included, that probably wouldn’t mind trading bank accounts with him. While JoJo Simmons’ rap career probably won’t ever reach the heights he’d hoped, the son of Rev Run of Run DMC still gets to enjoy the perks of being rich and famously connected. He was able to avoid time for drug charges, still gets to live in a mansion, and has lots of money to spare. His younger brother Diggy, is doing pretty well in hip-hop these days, though. While JoJo is likely proud of his brother, it’s probably difficult to see all that rap success right under his nose.
8. Jaden Smith
Jaden Smith is the handsome teenage son of actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith. Will Smith, who is also a rapper and rose to fame as a musician as part of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, is making about $20 million for each film he stars in. So, it’s not as though Jaden has to rap about “hard times” in any of his songs. The younger Smith is also an actor, in addition to developing his rap career. He made his screen debut in the film The Pursuit of Happyness, along with his father. Jaden has also been romantically linked to Kylie Jenner, which helps to give him even more buzz in the media.
OMG (Oh My Goodness), whose real name is O’Shea Jr., is the son of California rapper Ice Cube. In the 1980s and 1990s, Ice Cube (O’Shea Sr.) made a name for himself in hip-hop as part of the group NWA, where he rapped about the ruthless conditions of his hometown, Compton. O’Shea Jr., however, never experienced these hardships. After all, his dad, who is also an actor, has a net worth of about $120 million. OMG made his rap debut on his father’s album I Am The West, and later recorded a mixtape entitled Jackin’ For Beats. OMG has his own rap style that is a little more upbeat than his father’s, even though he looks and sounds a lot like Ice Cube.
6. Lil’ Romeo
Lil’ Romeo, who later changed his name to Romeo Miller, is Master P’s son. As a kid rapper, Romeo enjoyed significant success, and he even had a sitcom on Nickelodeon. Romeo Miller has definitely taken some business notes from his father, and is worth quite a lot of cash these days. Master P grew up in the housing projects of New Orleans, and his raps were often filled with lyrics describing murders, robberies and negative treatment towards women. Master P has since cleaned up his image as well, and has even appeared with his son in commercials for ICDC College.
5. The Alchemist
The Alchemist, born Alan Maman, is a rapper and producer, and grew up with the rich kids in Beverly Hills. He even went to school with Angelina Jolie. Maman’s father was a successful dentist in the Beverly Hills area, but when he decided he wanted to rap, The Alchemist left the 90210 area and started to spend more time with friends who were just as serious about hip-hop as he was. One of those friends was Scott Caan, another rap fan who also grew up rich (Scott is actor James Caan’s, son). Caan and The Alchemist formed a group called The Whooliganz and were signed with Tommy Boy records, but their album was never released. Scott decided to become an actor like his dad, and The Alchemist became known for producing beats for rappers like Mobb Deep and Nas.
4. Diggy Simmons
Diggy is one of Rev Run’s youngest sons. Run was a member of the legendary rap group Run DMC, and his son is definitely following in his hip-hop footsteps. Diggy is also the nephew of business mogul and hip-hop enthusiast Russell Simmons, who is the mind behind brands like Phat Farm. Diggy’s older brother JoJo, tried his hand at a rapper career, but unfortunately, it didn’t go so well. However, when Diggy started rapping at 13, the public (and teenage girls in particular), took a liking to him. The young Simmons has recorded five mixtapes and a studio album, and has even make the Freshman List for XXL. Impressive.
3. Chet Haze
Chet Haze is actually Chet Hanks, the son of famous actor Tom Hanks. So, there’s no doubt that he was born with more than a few advantages. However, his father’s acting legacy indicates that he’s got some tough shoes to fill in the entertainment world. Chet Haze has yet to make it big as an artist, and has even been labeled a “frat boy rapper.” Critics have also referred to him as a not-so-great knockoff of Justin Timberlake, which is probably a sign that he’s not getting a lot of respect in the hip-hop community. However, Chet’s famous dad is still in his corner, encouraging him to be his best.
2. Gabe Day
Gabe Day is the son of Daniel Day-Lewis. Day-Lewis was once viewed as one of the best actors in Hollywood, and has a net worth of around $40 million. Gabe enjoyed the luxury of living in Europe before coming to the United States, went to some of the best schools, and lived a pretty lavish lifestyle thanks to his dad’s acting talent. But in his song Green Auras, he raps that it was “hard to adapt” when he moved “from Europe to the East Coast.” He also raps about the fact that “all he needed was a hug” when he was coping with the adjustment by abusing drugs. Gabe Day had the privilege of going to Sarah Lawrence College as well, so we’re pretty sure rap fans don’t want to hear too much more about how “hard” life has been for him.
1. Jermaine Dupri
Jermaine Dupri is the mastermind behind So So Def records, so most would assume that he empathizes with the rough upbringings that many rappers can attest to. However, Jermaine Dupri is the son of Michael Mauldin, who used to be the president of Colombia Records. Dupri did learn some business acumen from his dad, and when he was just 12 years old, he landed a gig as a dancer for the group Whodini. After a stint as a dancer, Jermaine Dupri decided that he wanted to focus on rapping and producing music. While you’ve probably heard some of Dupri’s raps here and there on the records he’s produced, you probably know him best as the production force behind artists like Usher, Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey.