Chances are, your favorite rapper has a lot less money than you think. They may be rolling on dubs and popping bottles, but that kind of swag comes at a price. Nas, Swizz Beats, and Roc-A-Fella co-founder Damon Dash are all cash-strapped, according to Refined Hype.
So what causes rappers to go broke? Below, we've included five of the biggest drains on rappers' finances.
Rappers have been known to roll deep. When's the last time you saw a rapper walk into a club on his own? Your standard entourage usually consists of bodyguards, hype men, friends, family, and managers. Paying for their food, drinks, travel, accommodations, and salaries can get pretty costly. For example, when A$AP Rocky signed to Polo Grounds Music last year for an unprecedented $3 million, nearly half of that money went to his crew, A$AP Mob, according to Pitchfork.
- Child Support
Rappers live pretty fast-paced lives. A one-night stand on the road can end up being a long-term investment. Ol' Dirty Bastard had 13 kids, according to the Miami New Times. In 1997 alone, ODB failed to pay child support for three of them. Rick Ross, Pitbull, DMX, Lil Wayne, and Juvenile have all been hit with paternity suits. The more you make, the more you have to pay in most cases. Child support for multiple kids can stretch a rapper's finances pretty thin.
Lavish spending has been a lyrical staple in rap ever since hip hop hit the big time. During the heyday of Roc-A-Fella and Cash Money, rappers were popping Cristal, buying Bentleys, and riding on yachts on the regular. Many rappers feel the need to flaunt their wealth and overspend in order to keep up with the Joneses and back up their lyrical boasts.
Houston rapper Slim Thug noticed the problem with this and, in response, wrote an e-book called "How to Survive in a Recession," Time reports. "Our culture drives us in the wrong direction. Pop a hundred bottles? For what? How many bottles it take to get drunk?" Slim Thug wrote.
Unless you're talking about Jay-Z, a rapper probably isn't making as much money off record sales as you may think. First of all, fewer people are paying for music. As of April of this year, 4 million fewer records were sold than in 2011, according to Music Week. Second, under the terms of most major label deals, artists' royalties typically amount to mere pennies on the dollar. With the rise of the "360 Deal," it's now common for record companies to get a cut of their artists' tour revenue, licensing, and merchandising as well, according to Wired.
Kanye West wasn't lying when he said, "When she leave your a**, she's gonna leave with half." That is, unless there was a prenup. Nas, DMX, and French Montana have all gone through costly divorces in recent years. In community property states like California, marital property is generally split 50/50 in divorce.
So next time you hear your favorite rapper brag about his bank statement, take it with a grain of salt. And if you can afford it, buy his album or go to the live show.