Rappers Who Were Born Filthy Rich

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When it comes to a rapper's image, their "come up" story is almost as important as how well he or she can actually flow on the mic. Whether that means being raised in the projects, selling drugs to get by, or serving time for living that thug life, relatable hardship is what earns a rapper respect. Unlike virtually any other aspect of life, growing up loaded puts you at a disadvantage if your life goal happens to be to kill it in the rap game, but that hasn't stopped these silver-spooners from dedicating their lives to making beats and rhymes.

From the sons and daughters of established rappers, to Kid Rock, who bankrolled an early album with a loan from his car dealership owner dad, to the son of Nike Founder Phil Knight, who failed his way upward from writing wack rhymes to running an animation studio, there are rags-to-riches stories here.  

These are the rappers who were born filthy rich.

Ditching the runway for the rap game

Richard Hilfiger (aka Rich Hil) is the son of fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger. Born and raised on the mean streets of Greenwich, Conn., which he calls "The Cut," Rich couldn't look less like what you'd expect from an heir to a yuppie fashion empire. Rich is covered head to toe in tattoos and generally looks like he could use a bath and several days of sleep.

In 2011, just as his rap career was taking off, thanks to a record deal with Warner Bros., Rich did a now infamous interview with The Observer. In it, he reveals many things, including that he lives in his dad's apartment in The Plaza Hotel in NYC; that he's banned from all but one music studio in the city; and that he's already reached all of his "old goals," which were apparently just to become the best rapper from Connecticut and to get it on with some model he used to pleasure himself to when she was in underwear ads in XXL Magazine. So, he sounds like a real treat.

Like him or not, the guy is prolific. According to The Observer, he's been known to record four or five songs per night, a rapid rate of production which has spawned three studio albums and more than 18 mixtapes, which he reportedly used to give away for free. Hil also seems to be trying to live by his rap lyrics, which according to him are about "girls, love, loss, being high, and that's about it." He's done the rehab thing, had a high-profile relationship with pop star Rita Ora, and been arrested for punching a nightclub bouncer. If there was a how-to manual for transitioning from rich kid to rapper, Ricky's life would be it.

There was no limit from the day Romeo was born

Lil Romeo appeared on MTV Cribs when he was just 12-years-old. Granted, his hit song, "My Baby," had already peaked at no. 1, but it wasn't his own wealth he was flaunting. That's because Lil Romeo is the son of Master P, the rapper-turned-music mogul who once described his goals to the The New York Times as, "I guess I want to be the ghetto Bill Gates." That's why instead of just becoming a rapper, Master P started his own label, No Limit, and disrupted the entire rap game with a new method of servicing fans. His motto was to give the customer more for their money and to make sure it was a quality product, which is why No Limit albums featured more tracks than most other albums as well as flashy, over-the-top artwork. He also diversified his wealth into real estate holdings, various retail businesses, and even a "phone sex company," because it was the '90s then, and people still did that sort of thing.

Master P's strategy paid off. At the time of this writing, he had a reported net worth around $375 million, despite the decline of No Limit through the early 2000s and a bankruptcy filing. So, no, Master P hasn't reached that billionaire status yet, but he's doing just fine.

Lil Romeo, who now just goes by Romeo, was never able to duplicate the initial success of his first two albums, but he's continued to dish out new music, and let's not forget, he's always going to be the son to a dad who thought it was appropriate to give a 12-year-old a custom Mercedes, even though his feet probably couldn't reach the pedals, so we suspect Romeo is doing just fine, too.

Don't make him 'Gabe Day-Lose-It'

In 2013, multiple Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis' son, Gabe (then known as Gabe Day) released a video for his song, "Green Auras." It was basically a rap ballad to weed, in which Gabe claims he uses the drug for "self-medication" to cope with the pressures of being compared to his dad. He also spits the line, "Call me Gabe Day and not Gabe Day-Lewis, because if you're trying to call me out I'm 'bout to Gabe Day-Lose-It," which effectively put an end to any further rap aspirations this guy had. Either Gabe recognized the cringe-worthiness of the video — which was shot on campus at Sarah Lawrence College, which we believe is known as "the Compton of the Ivy League" — or it understandably didn't go over well with his notoriously press-shy dad, because it's no longer online. Except in this video, in which these two guys gleefully bash him.

Gabe has since moved on to "light modeling" after a chance encounter with Karl Lagerfeld outside a Parisian cafe where they reminisced about spending a week together at the fashion mogul's beach home. Gabe has also supposedly turned down acting offers and is focusing on reinventing himself as a more self-reflective pop singer/songwriter, which is a good move, because something tell us there's probably a pretty small audience of rap fans who can relate to how bad it sucks to be Daniel Day-Lewis' kid. 

Nike founder Phil Knight's son was the Payless Shoes of rap

There must be something about being a rich white kid that inspires rap lyrics, because like Gabe Kane, Travis Knight adopted an MC handle and tried to make it in hip-hop. Travis, who rapped under the name Chilly Tee, is the son of billionaire Nike founder Phil Knight, which begs the question: was there already a rapper named Juz Do It that we don't know about? Because that seems like a missed opportunity. Anyway, after recording his demo, which Vibe referred to as "a high school English assignment on the civil rights movement," Chilly enlisted his dad to use his connections to lean on MCA records to get his album made. MCA then linked Chilly up with veteran hip-hop producers The Bomb Squad, who according to Willamette Week, were "the production crew behind just about every Public Enemy project, not to mention classics by Ice Cube and Slick Rick." Though they produced a record that Bomb Squad lead producer Hank Shocklee claims "still holds up," Get Off Mine was not a success. It would be Chilly's first and last attempt at rap domination.

Resuming his identity as Travis Knight, he headed off to Portland State University, then started working for Vinton Studios, an animation company his dad was heavily invested in. According to Pricenomics' in-depth piece about Vinton, within three years, Travis was running the company, now renamed Laika, in what some viewed as blatant nepotism. For as bad as Travis was at rapping, he apparently excelled at running an animation studio. He shepherded the company to great success with the movies Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012), and The Boxtrolls (2014), and perhaps more importantly, he no longer thinks rapping "I'll eat a beat for dinner/eat a loop for a snack" is in any way acceptable.

Kid Rock was born free ... from debt

Though Kid Rock has since morphed into more of a rock/country artist, he started out as a rapper. Born in Romeo, Mich., near Detroit, Robert James Ritchie didn't have to live a life anywhere near as rough as how Detroit's own Eminem grew up, yet he chose to anyway. According to Rolling Stone, Kid Rock's dad owned a Lincoln-Mercury dealership, but the two didn't get along, which led to the self-proclaimed American badass "leaving home on multiple occasions as a teenager." The typical story followed: drugs, booze, women, but all the while, Kid Rock was DJing, breakdancing, and recording albums, which built a local fan base. He was also pretty honest about his would-be privileged upbringing. In his aptly named track, "Prodigal Son," he raps "working like a b***h like a goddamn tank/some disagree because my rents had bank/but all that's gold don't always glitter/so I'll take another puff from my one hitter."

Despite their differences, Kid Rock's dad eventually bankrolled his third album, Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp, which, in a slightly less honest turn, contains the boast, "I'm self-made like Henry Ford," in the song "Paid." Now, we could be wrong here, but we don't remember Henry Ford using an $8,500 handout from his dad to produce a song called "Blow Me," but we're not automotive history scholars, so who's to say? The important thing here is that a family was restored, and the world wouldn't be deprived of Kid Rock's many valuable contributions to the world of music, including the songs "Drunk in the Morning" and "Cadillac P***y." 

What's better than having a rich dad? Having two!

After his 2008 episode of My Super Sweet Sixteen in which he received a 1964 Lincoln Continental and a brand new Range Rover, Quincy Brown rebranded himself as "International Quincy," a rapper and aspiring actor. He started doing live shows on his Ustream channel before anyone knew that was even a thing. He's also been active on YouTube for years, has his own production company, and has helped create celebrity kickball and football charity events. His musical talents are probably genetic — he's the biological son of singer "Al B.Sure!" — but his Renaissance Man approach to the entertainment business clearly comes from his adoptive father, Sean "Diddy " Combs.

Brown has since dropped the "International" and just goes by Quincy, which is good, because his previous name sounded like an Australian airport. He also signed a deal with Bad Boy/Epic Records, Diddy's label, and parlayed his role in the critically acclaimed movie Dope (2015) into other film and TV opportunities. For a kid who easily could have coasted through life on either of his dads' dimes, Quincy admirably continues to grind like a guy with everything to lose.

Having a dad at Columbia Records always helps

According to rapper-turned-mogul Jermaine Dupri's book, Young, Rich, and Dangerous: The Making of a Music Mogul, he considers himself to be a self-made man. He wrote, "My achievements didn't come easy, no matter how it might look to people looking in from the outside." He's referring to the fact that at just 18 years old, he created the wildly successful hip-hop duo, Kris Kross, which was seemingly the jump-off for all of his success. Dupri also admits in the book that his musically-connected father, Michael Mauldin, nurtured his musical aspirations, going so far as to let his son perform as the opening act for the New York Fresh Fest when he was only 12 years old. It was this experience that propelled Dupri into the world of hip-hop.

Years later, at the height of Kris Kross' popularity, Dupri would again leverage his father's position with Columbia Records — where Maludin was an executive and would later become president — to broker a "$10 million dollar joint venture" with Dupri's fledgling label, So So Def. As a kid barely out of high school, Dupri found himself at the helm of a multi-million dollar musical empire. That's impressive, but there's no denying the young man had a leg up. And by "leg up," we mean he happened to know a big shot who used to change his diapers. Maybe that's what he meant in his hit single with Jay Z, "Money Ain't a Thing." For Dupri, it sure seems like it really never was. 

Any chance the founder of Motown pulled some strings here?

LMFAO is the uncle and nephew duo who called themselves Redfoo (above right) and Sky Blu (not pictured). They're the guys whose hits songs "Sexy and I Know It" and "Party Rock Anthem" became the soundtrack to puking up Jell-O shots in frat party basements for an entire summer. They also happen to be the son, Stefan Kendal Gordy, and nephew, Skyler Austen Gordy, of Berry Gordy (above left), founder of Motown Records, who at the time of this writing has an estimated net worth of around $345 million. So, it's clear why these guys were in the mood to party all of the time.

Berry couldn't be prouder of his blood. He told The Hollywood Reporter, "At a time like now, people need what they give — love, happiness, a party — and they're doing it better than anybody I've seen in a long time ... They're making the world a better place." While we think the world would be just fine without a dude in a cheetah print Speedo gyrating next to his nephew, we see Gordy's point. It's about fun. It also means Gordy's musical legacy, which includes iconic songs such as The Jackson 5's "ABC" and "I'll Be There," now also includes a song with the following lyrics: "I got passion in my pants and I ain't afraid to show it, show it, show it, show it." 

Weezy's daughter's life sounds pretty breezy

Originally part of the now defunct girl group, The OMG Girlz, Reginae Carter, daughter of rapper Lil Wayne, used to sing alongside fellow rapper T.I.'s daughter, Zonnique Pullins, about deep topics such as couture clothes and boys. The group broke up in 2015, but it seemed Carter already had her eyes on the rap game. She put out her solo track, "Mind Goin Crazy," in 2014, but at the time of this writing, she has yet to follow it up. Maybe that's because she was busy writing books, serving as a brand ambassador for a hair care company, and launching a clothing line called Shut Up – all before deciding to enroll in college full time to learn the ins and outs of the media business. Clearly, this young woman is all about building an empire.

While Lil Wayne is certainly supportive of his daughter's ambitions, to him, she's still obviously daddy's little girl. To wit: For three of her consecutive birthdays, Weezy has given her a car: A BMW for her sweet 16, a Ferrari at 17, and a Range Rover at 18. At this rate, she really doesn't need to build her own successful business since her dad seems dead set on turning her into a used car dealer. 

Life in Snoop's house sounds pretty lit

With unsubtle track titles including "In Dank We Trust," "Catchin Vaporz," "Gang Green," and "Rollin, Rollin, Rollin...Stoned," take a guess who's son is rapper Spanky Danky. Here's a hint: his name rhymes with Droop Smog and he's pretty much been the poster child for marijuana since he hit the rap scene in the early '90s. That's right, Snoop Dogg's eldest son, Corde Broadus, has followed in his dad's footsteps, well, minus the fame and critical acclaim, that is. After not breaking out under his first moniker, Spanky changed his name to Kalvin Love and collaborated with his younger brother, Cordell, and their dad, Snoop himself, on the album Royal Fam, under yet another handle, The Broadus Boyz.

If all that seems like a lot to keep track of, it could be because Corde's unabashed love of Mary Jane makes him just a tad unfocused. In 2012, Corde's Instagram, which looked more like a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency case file, sparked controversy when photos of the then-18-year-old smoking what appeared to be incredible amounts of weed spread all over the internet. Snoop was quick to defend his progeny, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "My kids can do whatever the hell they want. For me to say otherwise would be hypocritical." That's especially true considering Snoop has appeared in photos with Corde...or Kalvin...whoever...partaking in the ganja.

While Snoop's laid back philosophy has served him well in his career, his firstborn has yet to chart or receive any kind of real industry success. That's not to say he isn't headed for stardom, but for now, it's a good thing dad's willing to share his stash.

Jaden Smith needs to find his DJ Jazzy Jeff Jr.

While an argument can be made that the linguistic artistry of Jaden Smith needed no further outlet than his bizarre Twitter account, neither that nor the fact that he's the son of A-Lister's Will and Jada Pinkett Smith stopped him from jumping into the rap game. Though he's released tracks for years, like 2012's "The Coolest," which was undeniably reminiscent of his dad's "Fresh Prince" style, he finally released his first full-length album, SYRE, in November 2017.

Of the project, Jaden told Billboard, "It's really just become a legacy of this guy, this kid, who chases the sunset ... And then one day, it chases him back and he can't get away," which is the most Jaden-est way to describe an album. Unfortunately, the young artist's freshman attempt didn't exactly garner critical praise, and his contemporaries weren't so thrilled about it, either.  

Former buds such as Drake, Kanye West, and Donald Glover have allegedly turned their backs on him. "It's more like, 'You can't hang out with us anymore,'" Jaden told Complex of the shift in vibe after his album release. "'We didn't know you were making an album this whole time. We thought you were just Little Homie giving us free water and s**t. You're not really cool with us anymore,'" he continued. Oof, sounds like a few diss tracks might be on the way.

Being Ice Cube's kid sounds pretty ... chill

Rap legend Ice Cube's son, O'Shea Jackson Jr., skyrocketed to fame in 2015, after playing his father in the blockbuster biopic Straight Outta Compton — no doubt in part due to the fact that he's a startling dead ringer for the old man. But before his big screen debut, Jackson Jr. dipped his toe into hip-hop under the alias OMG. According to The Irish Times, Jackson Jr. featured on a few tracks with his brother Darrell (aka DoughBoy) including one for their dad, and "released a well-regarded mixtape, Jackin' for Beats. But his MC career didn't last long when he shelved it to study acting and "screenwriting at the USC School of Cinematic Arts."

As of April 2018, Jackson Jr. had no plans on slowing down the star momentum he got from Straight Outta Compton. But he was also back in the lab, so to speak, slowly putting together original tracks and working on beats like he's done "since [he] was 15," reported HipHopDX. He told the site, "My man Method Man said he'd hook me up with a verse so I'll make sure I get that done. I'm working with my homie Lil Dicky, my homie Big Sean so we're definitely headed toward something real nice, and I talked to my mom so Ice Cube's gonna be on it." Sounds like he inherited a bit of his pop's sense of humor, too.

Chet Hanks is in a league of his own

Chester Marlon Hanks is the son of superstar actor Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, but he flexes on tracks as Chet Hanks, formerly Chet Haze, which we would be remiss to not point out is an anagram for "The Cheaz," a woefully missed opportunity in our humble opinions. Anyway, on top of having possibly the world's most beloved actor as a father, who incidentally has a net worth of $350 million, Chet also attended Northwestern University and was in a frat, according to VICE. While that sounds like significantly less of a struggle than, say, Biggie, who "used to eat sardines for dinner," according to Chet, it doesn't matter.

"Hip-hop is much larger than that," he told VICE of his privileged background. "It exceeds boundaries beyond race and socio-economic background. ... Hip-hop is a music. An art form. A culture. It can appeal and come out of whoever it speaks to. And it speaks to me."

Apparently for Chet, part of the siren call of hip-hop included him passionately fighting for permission to use the n-word, a position he abandoned after four months of being dragged online for it (not to mention sobering up from a cocaine binge).

Naturally, Tom has been nothing but supportive throughout Chet's ups and downs, but we have to imagine that every so often, he's said to his wife, "Rita, we have a problem."

Diggy Simmons doesn't really care if you dig him

Thanks to his father Rev. Run Simmons' success as a pioneering hip-hop co-founder of Run-D.M.C., Daniel Dwayne "Diggy" Simmons III was born into the good life. His charmed childhood was chronicled on MTV's Run's House, which Diggy used to catapult his own rap career, in spite of the shade he knew he'd get from haters.

"People don't like me for the fact that I came from something good," he told The Chicago Tribune in 2012, upon the release of his debut album, Unexpected Arrival. "But I'm not going to run away from it. ... To be born into a family that has money doesn't mean that I can't go on to do what I want to."

But Diggy's career stalled a few years later, according to DJ Booth, when he became mired down in "overthinking the creative process." He turned to "acting and fashion" for a while, where he discovered that he didn't have to be "perfect-perfect," because "it's cool if it's flawed, that's awesome, too." Diggy returned to rap with a single in August 2018, and an album slated to follow that's reportedly fueled by unconventional inspiration such as John Mayer, Arctic Monkeys, and MGMT.

As of this writing, it's unclear if Diggy will finally earn his own hip-hop stripes, but something tells us that even if he doesn't, his father's $70 million net worth or his uncle, Def Jam founder Russell Simmons' $340 million haul will provide a nice safety net.

Shaggy has a funny way of showing support

The subject of rapper Richard "Robb Bank$" Burrell's relationship with his uber famous dad, reggae star Shaggy, is controversial to say the least. According to Noisey, Burrell tried to distance himself from the relationship even after a photo of them made the rounds on the internet because he'd been estranged from him since he was 6 years old. But that didn't mean Shaggy didn't provide. "I could never knock him," Burrell told Noisey. "He always took care of his family."

That said, Burrell built his rap following on his own, becoming a Tumblr sensation in his teens and eventually releasing mixtapes. He also became somewhat of an odd figure in the media, dropping quotable lines such as, "I want you to think I'm dumb," which he later mysteriously elaborated on by saying, "because...element of surprise — you underestimate something, it's liable to kill you." Okay.

The good news is that even though Burrell and his dad aren't personally close, they're at least on message. Speaking with Music Choice (via Singers Room) in 2016, Shaggy said of his progeny: "He sucked at everything else, I mean grades were s**t, everything else was s**t, cause he was ... it was tunnel vision it was kind of like how I was you know man I sucked at everything else music was the only thing that mattered." Aww, thanks dad!

Beastie Boys member Mike D's real last name was no joke

Though Michael "Mike D" Diamond of Beastie Boys never laid any claim to thug life, it doesn't sound like he actually ever had to fight very hard for the right to party, either. Growing up on the affluent Upper West Side of Manhattan with a wealthy art dealer dad and interior designer mom, Diamond "attended private schools ... followed by a brief stint at Vassar," according to Gothamist.

While his intergalactic rise in the rap world would earn him his own fortune, an estimated $90 million, Mike D's mom, Hester Diamond, removed any lingering doubt about the family's wealth in 2004 when she auctioned off six pieces from her late husband's collection worth a whopping $65 million. So, no, "livin' at home" probably wasn't "such a drag" for Mike D after all, no matter if his mom actually "threw away [his] best—" you know what? He was filthy rich, that's the point here.

Straight outta Compton, maybe

Tyga is probably best known for his somewhat scandalous romance with Kylie Jenner, a relationship that was plagued with rumors that the pair started dating before Jenner was of an appropriate age. As if to thumb is nose at the accusations, Tyga released a questionable track called "Stimulated," which featured eyebrow-raising lyrics like, "They say she young, I should've waited/She a big girl, dog when she stimulated." The music video, of course, featured Jenner.

With that penchant for provocation in mind, consider an earlier scandal in the "Rack City" rapper's career, when in spite of his boasts about growing up on the notoriously tough streets of Compton, Tyga also once bragged about his parents' swag on the obscure MTV show Bustas. He said, "Grew up not too tough, parents got a Range Rover CL600 doin' it big, not too much hard, but I'm still street." 

After catching flack when TMZ unearthed the video years later, Tyga claimed he was simply reading from a script in the video. He also tweeted, "When u 14 an ambitious u don't give a f**k about anything. Scripted tv isn't that what we all live for. Hahahaha." The true nature of Tyga's background isn't all that clear, so it might not be fair to say that he was born filthy rich, but one thing is for sure: This Tyga doesn't change his stripes. (Oh yeah, that just happened.)