Rap music hit the music scene in the 1980’s like a sledgehammer! New concepts in music creation led to an explosion of original sounds and artists. Much like the British invasion of the early to mid 60’s, the industry became flooded with aspiring rappers, who managed to make it big, many times on the basis of one song, or even, on the back of the more talented artists that they were associated with. This created a large number of wealthy young performers, many of which came from underprivileged background. Frankly, even an affluent upbringing does not prepare one for huge sums of money at a young age.
As rap and hip-hop began to take its place as a dominant music style another phenomena became prominent: the rapper lifestyle. Rap is a genre that promotes a lavish lifestyle. Luxury cars, multitudes of women, jewelry and mansions are the norm. Much like the mega rock stars of the 70’s, rap artists spend money on leisure without any thought of the cost or consequence. There is never any mention of the reality of this lifestyle, which is high taxes, child support and mortgages. Becoming a successful rap artist can lead to great wealth, but there is always a price that must be paid usually to the IRS, or ex-partners.
Here is a list of rappers who have had a certain amount of financial problems. Some of them have a chance to change their fortunes but many are down for the count.
8 Bow Wow: Too Much Too Young!
Becoming a success in the music world is tricky enough when you are an adult, when the wealth comes before the age of 20, however, it is all the more dangerous. Bow Wow hit it big selling millions of albums by the age of 13. This fame grew as he began an acting career with the film Like Mike; he also appeared in numerous television shows and co-starred in numerous movies. This all fell apart and in March of 2012 he was court ordered to pay $3,000 a month in child support. It was then revealed that he was broke and only making $4,000 a month and only had $1,500 in his back account. Quite the fall, for this rap prodigy, but all is not lost. Bow Wow recently got the position of host for BET’s 106& Park, which should help him, pay the bills.
7 Xzibit: Pimping Rides!
Xzibit is well known in the rap world as an West Coast, underground performer, but he is also known to many others as the host of the now cancelled MTV show Pimp My Ride. While hosting the show Xzibit made about $500,000 a season, not bad for a second job. It was reported that his income plummeted to below $70,000 a year once the show was cancelled, but his lifestyle did not change. Soon all the money was gone and then came the delinquent tax bill of nearly $1,000,000. He blames the show for his woes, although I believe most people would gladly accept a $500,000 annual salary, even if it were only for 4 years. He still maintains a strong fan base and should be able to climb out of his financial hole.
6 Method Man: Best Excuse!
Method man is best known as a member of the Wu-Tang clan and as being one half of the duo of Method man & Redman. He has not only been successful in the rap game, but as also starred in several movies and even had a television show developed by FOX. Although wildly successful he has one weakness, marijuana. He has a net worth of about 14 million dollars, so why is he on the list? He makes the list because he has had to pay over $106,000 dollars in back taxes, but that is still not the reason. A few years ago he had his Lincoln Navigator repossessed because of failure to make the payments. He let the repossession agents take the car and then stated that he had simply forgotten to pay for the car because of his excessive pot habit. He has more than enough money to cover all his drug-induced mind slips, but makes the list by the humor in his explanation.
The next group of artists is in a direr situation. Whereas the future is not all that bleak for the first three
5 Young Buck: Opportunity Lost!
Young Buck had the makings of a powerhouse in the industry. As his popularity grew, he signed on with the powerful and successful G-Unit label, led by 50 Cent. His first G-Unit supported album sold approximately 260,000 copies in the first week, but that success was to be fleeting. Eventually a feud grew between Buck and other members of G-Unit causing him to leave the group. This turned out to be an extremely poorly planned move, as he would never attain the success he had while working with the hugely profitable G-Unit. In 2010 Buck filed for bankruptcy after an IRS raid of his home. Eventually he had to sell all of his goods, including the rights to his musical creations in order to pay owed back taxes. In the end even this was not enough, a $300,000 outstanding tax debt and a gun charge led to his imprisonment in August of 2012. He has been recently released; time will tell if he makes better decisions this time around!
4 Beanie Sigel: Just Won’t Learn
Beanie Sigel started out as a member of the group of artists known as State Property. Within a year of its formation in 2002, the group was nominated for a Grammy award. Success continued and, it was reported that by 2005 Sigel was making over $450,000 annually in royalties alone. Sigel’s problems with the law began in 2002 when he was arrested on federal weapon charges. His lesson was not learnt after a year in federal prison as he was arrested on the same charges in 2004. This began a series of jail stints that saw Sigel in prison more often than free. Opposite his appetite for weapons and violence was his aversion to filing taxes. He did not file any taxes on revenue totaling over $1,000,000; since he could not pay he was sentenced to 2 years in prison. He is broke and in prison, not a happy ending.
3 DMX: Doomed from the start.
DMX was raised in Yonkers and spent his childhood in an abusive environment. This led to multiple arrests and stays in group homes. DMX became one of the most successful rappers of the 90’s releasing multiple gold and platinum albums. In fact his third record ...And Then There Was X, was not only his third album to debut a number 1 on the Billboard 200, but was certified six times platinum. He also began an acting career that saw him appear in over a dozen movies. Unfortunately, his checkered past has continued to haunt his decisions and he has been arrested multiple times for offenses including: drug possession, animal cruelty and drug possession. This behavior spills over into his personal life. DMX is the father to 12 children and has not always paid support. He has recently been ordered to pay over $1.4 million in child support. This rapper who once made $13 million a year told reporters that he is down to his last $50, has no savings and all of his assets are tied up in litigation.
2 M.C. Hammer: You Can’t Pay This!
Many fans of rap would question calling M.C. Hammer a rapper. He was seen more as a mainstream pop artist who just happened to rap. Nonetheless his albums were wildly popular and he was the first ever artist to have a diamond selling album. He once had a net worth of over $44 million but was supporting friends and family in a lavish way. This led to a declared bankruptcy in 1996, with a $13 million dollar debt hanging over his head. The rapper re-invented himself as a minister, yet the IRS is still looking for some money from the former star, claiming he still owes almost $800,000 in back taxes from earnings dating back to 1996. This is a contested point however as Hammer claims to have already paid this fine.
1 Scott Storch: Addicts Do Not End well.
Scott Storch was not a rapper, but made vast amounts of money as a producer for many of the industries top artists. An accomplished keyboardist he began creating riffs with Dr. Dre and ended up working with Snoop Lion (Snoop Dogg) 50 Cent, The Game, Lil’ Kim and even won the ASCAP’s songwriter of the year in 2006. He amassed over $70 million in assets. His biggest problem was cocaine. His addiction led him to loose everything. He fell behind in child support payments and property taxes. Storch finally checked into rehab in 2009 and filed for bankruptcy at the same time. The rehab did not work and in 2012 he was arrested in Las Vegas for possession of cocaine. No longer creative and still addicted, his future seems bleak to say the least!
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