“Rapper” is perhaps the only job title we don’t track in our Research Center. (Yet.) While we can’t tell you whether hip-hop pays better on the east coast or the west, thanks to an interactive feature from Businessweek, we can definitively say that most are lying about what they make.
How big are these lies? Well, the most popular figure to throw around is a “billi,” a.k.a a billion dollars. However, none of our rappers seem to have broken that particular earning ceiling. (Example: Nicki Minaj might claim, in song, to be in St. Tropez on a big boat, having made a billi like a big goat, etc., but in reality, she’s worth a couple milli at best. Respectable, but nothing that will make Warren Buffett feel inadequate.)
A few other discrepancies of note:
Diddy: Claims to be worth “about a billion” in “Shot Caller Remix,” is actually worth about $580 million.
Jay-Z: Despite claiming in “HAM” that half a billion is “baby money,” is worth just a little less than that.
Nas: In “No Introduction,” says he’s worth $200 million. Actually owes $6 million to the IRS.
Of course, bragging in song and bragging in real life are two very different things, and these artists might be more forthcoming in person. Regardless, it’s important that we don’t get confused and start thinking that boasting about imaginary wealth is the way to attract bigger salary offers and raises. There are better ways to negotiate for more money.
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Jay Z was actually claiming that other rappers (or a generic other rapper) had baby money in “HAM.” He refers to his own fortune as “half a billy” and “500 million,” as in “500 million / I got a poundcake.” (Poundcake).
He is aiming for the big bn though (“F*** it, I want a billion”)