5 Black Rap Artists You Thought Disappeared, But Actually Turned Into Entrepreneurs
As the adage goes, fame is fleeting.
Some music artists may spend years on the independent grind, whereas others breakthrough to the public mainstream in what appears to be instantaneously. But, fame and success are two different ball games, the latter of which can be forever depending on how you play your cards. Throughout the years, there have been many artists that some might have deemed one-hit wonders after falling out of the spotlight.
But just because they’ve reclined from the music scene doesn’t mean they’re big buck aspirations have disappeared. In a time where many artists have multiple hustles that coexist alongside their music career, such as Drake’s OVO brand, the A$AP Mob’s creative umbrella, Jay-Z’s multitude of entrepreneurial endeavors, hip-hop has paved a major lane for lucrative ventures for all artists to pursue. We have compiled a list of five MCs who have found success beyond the mic.
As one of the prominent rappers during the Y2K era, Chamillionare’s music career tapered off due to creative differences with his then-label, Universal. The Houston rapper would later find his calling in the tech community. Cham first made the pivot to tech as a venture capitalist with numerous lucrative investments in Makers Studio and Cruise, which were acquired by Disney ($500 million) and General Motors ($1 billion), respectively, according to Forbes. He also invested in Ring and Lyft. In 2015, he joined Upfront Ventures as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Two years later, Cham launched his own startup, Convoz, where people interact through 15-second clips uploaded to the video-centric platform. According to TechCrunch, users can also talk to celebrities.
While MC Hammer's career hasn't reached the same high he hit with “U Can’t Touch This” and “2 Legit 2 Quit,” the Oakland MC has found success elsewhere. In 2010, the three-time Grammy winner launched a MMA management firm, Alchemist Management, followed by a clothing brand, Alchemist Clothing. Over the years, he has also invested his money wisely in emerging companies such as Square and Flipboard, according to Medium. Most recently, Hammer appeared in Cheetos’ 2020 Super Bowl ad where he sung his smash hit.
Although E-40 has continued to release music over the years, the Bay Area trailblazer has diversified his income stream across multiple industries, including several franchises of FatBurger and Wing Stop. Additionally, he’s a spokesperson for Landy Cognac. In 2013, 40 launched his own wine label, Earl Stevens. In 2019, Eater reported that he is now an investor and co-owner of a Filipina food business, the Lumpia Company. Most recently, 40 and Chamillionaire announced their competition to fund minority or women-founded start-ups.
Widely known for helping introduce hyphy to hip-hop, Mistah F.A.B started his own clothing brand, The Dope Era, in 2015. F.A.B has continued to release a steady string of releases of the year alongside growing his brand, but the Bay Area rap veteran is more present behind-the-scenes as a songwriter, most notably contributing to Chris Brown’s smash hit, “Loyal.” He has also turned his attention toward philanthropic efforts in his community. In 2018, he released a book called Dope Era.
New York rapper MIMs departed from the music to enter the mobile tech scene with a music app, RecordGram, along with manager Erik Mendelson and his longtime producer DJ Blackout in 2016. RecordGram is essentially a mobile recording studio where producers and artists can freely share their material. The startup came in first place at TechCrunch’s startup competition in 2017, and shortly after it raised more than $1 million in venture funding, according to Forbes.