Hip hop and entrepreneurship have always gone hand in hand. In the pre-internet days, rappers had few direct lines to audiences since few radio stations played them and even on then-innovative MTV, hip hop was shunted into a two-hour show played on the weekends. As hip hop came to dominate to the mainstream, this entrepreneurial vibe remained. Today, some of the top rappers in the game make far more fo their money from their side hustles than from their music. Some of the top ones out there:
1. Dr. Dre - Beats by Dre
Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine created high-end headphones that gained an instant following. In 2014, they sold their company to Apple for a $3 billion payout. Dre's other projects involve producing movies and running multiple successful record labels.
2. 50 Cent - Vitamin Water
Dr. Dre's protégé learned learned plenty from him. 50 Cent founded both a clothing line and a record label under the name G-Unit. Soon after, he purchased a minority stake in Vitamin Water. When Coca-Cola purchased the brand for $4.1 billion, 50 Cent's personal profits were an estimated $100 million.
3. Nicki Minaj - Clothing collections and beauty products
Nicki Minaj has applied the same grit and innovation to her other endeavours that she brings to the studio. Side projects include a line of perfumes and beauty products sold through HSN, a clothing line for Kmart, and a sparkling wine called MYX Fusions Muscato.
4. Pharrell Williams - High-end designer
Pharrell has spent more time behind the scenes in music, producing hits like Nelly's "Hot in Herre" and Britney Spears's "I'm a Slave 4 U." He's also amassed an $80 million fortune with two clothing lines, a co-designed line of glasses and jewelry for Louis Vuitton, and a textile company called Bionic Yarn.
5. Cardi B - Doll designer
Cardi B wanted to make a doll that would be inspiring to her daughter and other young girls. She partnered with Real Women Are to create a doll in her own likeness. The initial product was sold through an online limited edition presale and should be shipping this month. Future dolls will reflect representation in a range of colors, shapes, sizes, and abilities.
Music can be an unpredictable business, with constantly changing tastes and constantly evolving music deals. Business acumen and adaptability ensure that these talented hip hop contributors find themselves sustainable careers even outside the music industry.