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Calling Out The Flex: How Much Do Rappers Really Make

In a recent installment of the Joe Budden podcast, Chance the Rapper made an interesting point that resonated with me. He called out the flex, stating that if we could see the bank accounts of a lot of rappers these days, the numbers would be way lower than we’d expect. This intrigued me because Chance’s net worth is 33 Million dollars so for him to say rappers don’t make a lot of money had me curious. He went on to say that rappers don’t make that much when compared to rich white people. I naturally wanted to know the truth so I first I will be uncovering exactly how much some of the most popular rappers make by analyzing their top revenue streams. After that, I will compare their money streams with other wealthy industry leaders to see just how hard these rappers can really flex. I’ll finish off by talking about flexing as a concept to give a bit more context. Let’s get into it.

The three rappers I’ve chosen range significantly in quality, experience, and revenue streams. I wanted to capture every position rappers can progress to in the rap game similar to the job description in the corporate world in order to make a fair comparison. Jay-Z will represent the richest and most experience rapper still producing music (I could have gone with Diddy here but I like Jay better); Drake will represent a rapper at his prime; Lil Pump will represent an up and coming rapper. Although we are not going solely off of net worth, to put it into perspective, Jay-Z sits at a clean 810 million, Drake is at 100 million, and Lil Pump stands at 6.5 million. Although these rappers make a lot of money through other means besides music and a lot of their success in these others areas correlates directly with the personas they’ve cultivated through their music careers, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Music is my prime focus because Music is what started it all for these three rappers and its just so happens to be the most accessible number I can find. Touring is the most profitable way musicians can make their money so that is where I’ll start. On Jay-Z’s 4:44 tour he made roughly $48.7 million dollars in two months. Drake is not far behind, raking in about $40 Million per year and just below $1 million per show. Lil Pump, at 17 years old, makes around $6.5 Million a year without the added benefit of consistent touring. It seems rappers make quite a bit of money on their music alone and in some cases like Jay-Z, are able to use their popularity to make more lucrative investments.

Does this mean you should dye your hair a random color and mumble on a mic for easy cash?

Let’s take a look at some of the richest business moguls and tech giants both young and old to get a better understanding of what Chance was getting at.

The first name I’m going to mention already blows this comparison out of the water. The 54-year-old founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos is worth 145.4 Billion dollars.

Immediately we start to see where Chance was coming from but let’s put this into perspective. Jeff Bezos makes around $107.4 Million dollars per day. In around a week Jeff will make more than Jay-Z makes in a year which includes all the other business ventures Jay-Z has crafted over his career. Examining these numbers more closely we start to see a much bigger problem here that I think was at the core of what Chance the Rapper was trying to get at. The average American makes around $200 a day. Wrap your heads around that for a second. Jeff Bezos makes more per second then the average American will make in their entire lifetime. Despite that fact, Jeff Bezos isn’t flexing on Instagram showing off his car collection or his $250,000 jewelry. He is completely silent in the news and for all we know he could be on an entirely different planet.

Our perception of wealth is extremely skewed. Rappers flex when they’ve made a couple million and fans eat that shit up. We not only obsess over their material gains, but we also demonize artists for “selling out” when it appears as though they’ve sacrificed their musical integrity for some quick cash. Fans get distracted by what they perceive as the good life but in reality, rappers aren’t even scratching the service. That disparity is what Chance was trying to get in my opinion. Instead of throwing shade at Rappers he is trying to shed light on the real moneymakers no one hears about that could truly change the world with a flick of the wrist.

Imagine if Jeff Bezos made a God’s Plan music video. Instead of one neighborhood, he could give hundreds of thousands of dollars to the entire United States. Let’s change our perspective about wealth and start putting people like Jeff Bezos into the spotlight. Imagine how hard he could flex on poverty, world hunger, and disease.

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