August 10, 2009

Are rappers/hiphop artists making money? How many actually retire?

Whose your favorite rapper? – Lil Wayne, Plies, Rick Ross, Gucci, TIP, Jeezy, (fill in the next 90,000+)? In the videos they claim to have plenty of what the average American does not – money, cars, clothes, 10,000 sq ft homes, and the bling to go with it. Not to mention the M-16’s and the infamous “A-K” to protect it all. But given the mass fortune of wealth they portray in their lyrics, videos, and concerts –how much money do they actually have outside of the public eye? I didn’t notice many of them on the Forbes’ list.

But I’m not surprised since many “artists” only get paid 8% - 13% of their album’s retail sales price AFTER everyone else has got their cut (lawyers, label, manager, accountant, IRS, etc.) of that album’s sales. And if it’s more than one person they’ll have to split the remaining meager profits, which is close to nothing if you have like 5-10 people in your group (I wonder how many rappers retired out of WU-Tang? MC Hammer’s club?)

Only those at the top – which is about 6 rappers are actually making money today. The rest of the 90,000+ are probably making the equivalent annual salary of a data entry temp…like $35k/yr if they are even somewhat successful – which is why many of them eventually go broke, in jail, or decide to get real jobs after several years of trying to “make it”.

Not going to retire “artists”
1. Soul For Real
2. DMX
3. Rick Ross
4. Clipse
5. The Lox
6. Lil Kim
7. 95 South
8. Lost Boyz
9. Wu Tang
10. Young Buck
11. Yung Joc
12. Fat Joe
13. Plies
14. (the other 90,000+)

Face it – if you’re not JayZ, Lil Wayne, LLCoolJ, OutKast, Eninem, and maybe 1 or 2 more I can’t think of – then you’re wasting your time.

Hopefully the message gets out to the young and upcoming that there are better options than becoming a rapper/entertainer, and instead they should focus their time and energy in becoming a successful entrepreneur, surgeon, lawyer, or maybe a highly paid CEO who receives a “golden parachute” when they get fired or retire. The road to becoming a successful rapper is a lot harder than it is to go college and become a CEO or successful entrepreneur – but unfortunately parents focus not enough on education and teaching the next generation about financial literacy and working smarter.

This trend needs to change if we want our kids to become the next generation of leaders and employers, instead of followers and employees. Why are rappers teaching our kids to sell drugs, show your underwear, have lots of sex before you’re 15, commit a crime, and make an album about it? Imagine the pressures being felt by our young daughters who feel as if they are not pretty if they do not have a big ass or dress a certain way? Or that they need to have sex before they’re ready in order to feel loved or build their self esteem?
Take responsibility for your kid’s individual and financial future – show them the way even if you can’t get there yourself.

Dhata H. – this was a great convo that we had…


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