An Inside Look At Nick Cannon's Life And Career

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Nick Cannon is a man on a mission, at least according to Jatavia Shakara Johnson's (alias JT) appearance on "Nick Cannon Radio." Johnson, one-half of the hip-hop duo City Girls, advised the "Wild 'N Out" star to slow down his baby-making speed, to which he replied, "I'm having these kids on purpose. I don't have no accident ... there's a lot of people I could have got pregnant that I didn't."

True to Cannon's words, he's well on his way to having his own football team. The latest announcement in the ever-growing Cannon family is a child with singer-songwriter and former "Wild 'N Out" model Alyssa Scott, per Page Six. Scott shared pictures of herself in a bathtub with Cannon, spotting a visible baby bump. Scott and Cannon had a son, Zen, Cannon's 7th child, who died of cancer in December 2021. Cannon made the announcement on his self-titled show and posted a clip of the same on Instagram.

One would assume that Cannon is now accustomed to his new life — giving boxer George Foreman a run for his money — but he does get anxious when a new pregnancy pops up, as he told People in May 2022. Long before he was in the running for having the most maternity photo shoots, here's what he was up to.

He grew up in the projects

Born and raised in San Diego, Nick Cannon spent the better part of his childhood at Lincoln Park's Bay Vista Housing Projects. This background was revealed during a red-carpet interview with Vlad TV. While gangs were in and around his neighborhood, Cannon distanced himself from violent crowds while growing up.

"That's the area that I grew up in. I mean, even if you think of ... um South East San Diego, the majority of people down there are from different blood sets," he told Vlad TV. "It's one of those things where I never even tried to glorify that."

This script is one which a number of celebrities, including Shawn Carter — aka Jay-Z — can relate to. It is public knowledge that Carter grew up in Marcy Projects in Brooklyn, and since he made a name for himself, committed to launching The Bitcoin Academy in the projects, with the help of former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Along the way, Carter's friends died because of gang-related crimes, as did Cannon's. "I felt like, you know, I got out of that unscathed. I mean, I lost a lot of friends to ... you know, senseless gang violence," Cannon said.

Nick Cannon's relationship with his father

Way before Nick Cannon was building an entertainment empire, his dad was front and center in helping him have a career in the spotlight. His approach, on-the-ground reporting at a time when the industry was yet to evolve, also played a part in helping Cannon steer clear of neighborhood scuffles. "Whether through Public-access television which he had his ministry show on, through writing, as well as, like, you know, journalism at the time — there was no internet at the time — really like going out and doing community journalism," Cannon revealed during his appearance on Vlad TV.

Cannon's father, James Cannon, was a no-nonsense minister in North Carolina, who further gave him a platform to showcase his talent. Speaking to Men's Health, Cannon revealed that he followed in his father's footsteps, except his approach was slightly different. "I probably ain't gonna be no preacher, cause I do too much singing. But you know, I'll be able to at least engage in that same way to hopefully make as many people smile as possible," he told the publication.

He decided to pursue entertainment at 16

At 16, Nick Cannon left home to try a hand at entertainment, per Men's Health. His outlet, stand-up comedy, was one that saw him work under multitalented entertainer Jamie Foxx. Cannon made a recording that did rounds within the industry, and eventually found its way into the hands of Will Smith, who would become his mentor.

At the time, Smith was the Will Smith: the King of the Box Office, who'd had a No. 1 television show and simultaneously released top-charting hits like " Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" and "Just the Two of Us." That Cannon was in good hands was a no-brainer. "He looked out for me, man. I mean, the first meeting I was 16 years old, he's like 'Man, you remind me of myself,'" Cannon recalled in a conversation with Vlad TV

Now that he's on the other side of the spectrum — a gatekeeper — he gives back to the culture by supporting up-and-coming acts. One of Cannon's protégés, singer Kehlani Parris, had nothing but gratitude for him during an appearance on "The Angie Martinez Show."

His pursuit of a music career

While he's not famed for being a singer or rapper, Nick Cannon started out as a musician. He was part of the hip-hop group Da G4 Dope Bomb Squad, which curtain-raised for his then-mentor Will Smith, singer-songwriter Montell Jordan, and '90s boyband 98 Degrees.

He would later opt to go solo, signing a deal with Jive Records. In 2003, Cannon's self-titled album made its debut, featuring a number of artists including R. Kelly, Biz Markie, the Ying Yang Twins, and Mary J. Blige. Two tracks off of the album made it to the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

In 2005, Cannon got into a partnership with giant record label Motown, through which he would release his sophomore album under his own imprint, Can-I-Ball records (via Billboard). The making of "Stages," the album, was interrupted by Cannon's growing acting career. However, Cannon's love for music didn't fade. He's since released a number of projects, amongst them "The Miseducation of the Negro You Love to Hate" and "Calling All Models: The Prequel."

Nick Cannon's television career began on All That

In 1998, Nick Cannon landed his first role on television. He appeared on 24 episodes of "All That," a sketch show whose original iteration aired until 2005. Cannon spent two years alongside other talented actors in comedy, including Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, and Amanda Bynes.

Cannon has come a long way since his "All That" days. He's now made himself indispensable as a renowned television host, his most popular show being "Wild 'N Out," which launched in 2005. Despite a six-year break, the show is credited for introducing one too many comedians such as Katt Williams and Kevin Hart to a larger audience (per Paramount). New-age entertainers, including DC Young Fly and King Bach, have also benefited from the show's popularity, per Complex.

As a host, Cannon's long list of shows includes "America's Got Talent," whose exit he announced in a long Facebook post after eight seasons, "Lip Sync Battle Shorties," and "The Masked Singer." Cannon broadened his wings to the investment side of television and is acknowledged as an executive producer on shows such as "The Halo Effect," "Drop That Seat," and "Like a Boss."

He's since hit the big screen, too

Nick Cannon made his big screen debut in the David Raynr-directed film "Whatever it Takes" in the year 2000. From 2002 to 2011, Cannon managed at least one movie every year, appearing on releases such as "Love Don't Cost a Thing," "Shall We Dance," and one of his best works yet, "Drumline."

In the coming-of-age teen comedy, Cannon plays Devon Miles, a musically talented high school graduate who goes to an Atlanta college on scholarship. In between his role as teacher's pet, good old college romance, family issues, a clash with the drumline leader, and heated band rivalries, Miles doesn't lose sight of the most important thing: his musical gift.

Cannon's portrayal was well-received upon the film's release. Renowned film critic Roger Ebert wrote of his performance: "Nick Cannon plays Devon as a fine balance between a showoff and a kid who wants to earn admiration."

He has a number of award nominations and wins

For all the work he's put into the entertainment industry, Nick Cannon has received 36 nominations from different award shows, per IMDb. This chain of nominations includes a Primetime Emmy award nomination for "The Masked Singer," shared with other producers of the show.

He's won four awards at the time of this writing: a Blimp award for Favorite Television Actor on "The Nick Cannon Show," an NAACP Image award for his performance on "Up All Night," a Hollywood Film Award shared with numerous entertainers, and a Cannes Film Festival Chopard Trophy for "Male Revelation."

Cannon is yet to receive an Academy Award nomination, but if his contribution to the "Oscars So White" conversation in 2016 is anything to go by, he may not need it. "It's blasphemous, don't get distracted by these lottery tickets and statues. It's just fake gold and plastic," Cannon voiced on his Facebook page.

Of philanthropy and business ventures

Nick Cannon is a jack of all trades — music, radio, television, tours, movies — he does it all. In more ways than one, Cannon has followed the path charted by his first mentor in the entertainment industry, Will Smith. His hard work earned him a Shorty Award for Celebrity Entrepreneur of the Year, one which Cannon welcomed with open arms. In his acceptance speech, Cannon gave the perfect summary for how his mind works business-wise: "Keep an eye out for my next business venture," he said, "It's gonna be something like Netflix meets Starbucks but with the ease of Twitter, and it's all gonna be on the cloud."

In 2020, he launched N'Credible Entertainment (via HipHop DX), under which all of his ventures would be housed. From his account of what drives him (passion) as told to Forbes, Cannon is unstoppable, and so is his spirit of giving.

"I was always taught: To whom much is given, much is required. I've been blessed tremendously throughout my life — so I have to be a blessing to others. It's my duty, and I enjoy it," Cannon said in an interview with Look To The Stars. Over the years, he has worked with a number of charity organizations including Do Something, St Mary's Children's Hospital, and Feeding America.

A high-profile relationship with Mariah Carey

At the age of 27, Nick Cannon married "We Belong Together" singer Mariah Carey. A little birdie told E! that the pair said their vows in an island (via People), and more unnamed sources whispered that love had brewed between the pair on the set of Carey's "Bye Bye" music video.

Their union came to a halt in 2014, and two years later, the couple's divorce was finalized. Since they parted ways, the two have maintained a cordial relationship that involves spending time together for the sake of their children, per People. Carey has even made an appearance on Cannon's hit show "Wild 'N Out."

On how Carey feels about Cannon's quest to populate the earth, the "She Ball" actor said on "It's Tricky With Raquel Harper" podcast: "She knows I'm wild ... she be like, she just shakes her head." Cannon does still attend weddings, per the podcast, but monogamy isn't something he's keen on embracing unless another Carey comes around.

Nick Cannon's feud with Eminem

For a decade, Nick Cannon had a feud with rapper Eminem. The bad blood stemmed from a claim by the "Lose Yourself" rapper that he had a relationship with Carey. "What you tryna be? My new wife? / What, you Mariah? Fly through twice" are Eminem's lyrics to his song "Superman," released in 2002. Carey, on the other hand, vehemently denied dating the rapper during an interview with "Access Hollywood:" "Can I just clarify that I did not have a physical with him? I did not have eh ... an intimate relationship," she said.

In the 2009 song "Bagpipes from Baghdad," he went in on Carey and her then-husband, writing of Cannon: "Nick Cannon better back the f*** up / I'm not playin', I want her back, you punk." Of course, Cannon released a diss track of his own, dubbed "The Invitation."

Fans assumed that Carey's 2009 hit song "Obsessed" was targeted at Eminem, since she appeared as her own stalker, dressed in the rapper's signature style of wearing a cap over a hoodie. Cannon and Eminem, however, buried the hatchet, as the former revealed during an appearance on the "expediTIously" podcast.

He was diagnosed with Lupus in 2012

Nick Cannon is a lupus warrior, per the Lupus Foundation of America, alongside celebrities like Toni Braxton. He was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder in 2012. Speaking to People after a series of hospitalizations for kidney failure and blood clots earlier that year, Cannon said, "They kind of say [my] autoimmune [disease] is -– like a lupus type of thing, but no one else in my family has it."

To manage the disease, Cannon had a complete change of lifestyle, which included exercise and good sleep, as documented by the Lupus Foundation of America. In 2016, Cannon shared in a since-deleted Instagram post that he was admitted with Lupus-related complications over the holidays (via People). "For all who have been trying to contact me the last few days this is where I've been," he wrote.

January 2022 marked 10 years since Cannon's diagnosis. He took to "The Nick Cannon Show" to share clips of his journey through the years, citing the hardest part was adopting a healthy lifestyle. "I gotta eat carrots and fruit. It's hard!" Cannon lamented.

Public wars with long-term employer Viacom

In 2020, ViacomCBS dropped Nick Cannon over anti-Semitic comments he made on his podcast, "Cannon's Class." Cannon had a lengthy chat with former Public Enemy rapper Professor Griff, who was let go from the group for also making anti-Semitic remarks, per The New York Times. A representative of the media company confirmed the move in a statement to Variety.

Cannon took to his Facebook page to pen a long message titled "Truth and Reconciliation," through which he partially wrote: "As for Viacom, who is now on the wrong side of history, I will continue to pray for you. I don't blame any individual, I blame the oppressive and racist infrastructure." Cannon additionally demanded rights to his most successful show, "Wild 'N Out," and asked the conglomerate for an apology. He cited that he was in pursuit of a doctorate degree in theology, on top of an existing degree in criminology.

In February 2021, Variety reported the conflict between Cannon and ViacomCBS had been resolved, and the former would return to "Wild 'N Out." A statement from an MTV representative read: "Nick has not only apologized and taken responsibility for his comments, but he has also worked to educate himself and others through engagement with Jewish leaders and on his platforms."

His struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts

In 2020, Nick Cannon narrated the story of Ryan Bowers, a friend and rapper who'd lost body function after being shot by a cop. In the since-deleted Instagram post (via TMZ), Cannon hinted at suicidal thoughts with reference to Bowers' demise, writing in part: "After waking up and barely rising from my own dark contemplation of continuing my physical existence on this planet, this powerful warrior actually had the b*lls to do it." It wouldn't be the first time Cannon hinted at taking his own life. Following his anti-Semitic comments and the backlash that ensued, he tweeted: "Y'all can have this planet. I'm out!"

The "Alone" rapper has similarly expressed a struggle with depression. During an appearance on the "Lip Service" podcast, Cannon admitted to have been in a major low following the death of his son. The unfortunate tragedy came at a time when he'd taken a vow of celibacy, one which he quickly threw out the window. "I was like 'Yo! Let's try celibacy'... I was supposed to make it to the top of the year but then obviously I would start going through some stuff with, you know, just, I got depressed," said Cannon. "Everybody saw I was so down, so everybody's like, 'Let me just give him a little vagina.'"

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Who are Nick Cannon's baby mamas?

Nick Cannon may be expecting his next child with Model Alyssa Scott, but there have been a number of baby mamas through the years. In 2011, Cannon welcomed twins, Moroccan Scott and Monroe Cannon, with then-wife Mariah Carey. Model Brittany Bell shares three children with Cannon, the youngest of whom was born in September 2022, per Cannon's Instagram.

Nick Cannon has another set of twins with DJ Abby De La Rosa, who's also expecting at the time of this writing. " IM PREGNANT. Another set of twins?" the former radio personality announced on Instagram in June 2022. "Selling Sunset" star Bre Tiesi announced the home birth of her first child with Cannon in July 2022. To crown it all, Cannon's first child with "The Price Is Right" model LaNisha Cole was born in September.

Can he keep up with his large family? Finances don't seem to be an issue in the Cannon household. De La Rosa shared a video of herself and her children exploring their new home on Instagram. "Here's to beautiful new beginning s... Thank you Dad — Zion & Zillion," read the caption. Cannon also posted pictures of himself on vacation with Bell, suggesting that he can keep up with his growing brood, at least moneywise.