Many rappers try to convey a certain lifestyle
of material success. These artists don’t want to just talk about
watches, jewels, and stacking paper. They also want to walk the walk, too. But it doesn’t always work out like that. Here are some big-talking rappers who’ve gone
totally broke. For 50 Cent, cash flow at one point seemed
to be endless. In 2015, the New York Post reported he’d sold
almost 30 million albums, made a reported $60 to $100 million on his investment in Vitamin
Water, had endorsement deals with companies including Reebok and Right Guard, and owned
a successful record label and clothing company. The Washington Post estimated his net worth
at half a billion dollars in 2010. When 50 Cent filed for bankruptcy in 2015,
he was making $185,000 a month, but $72,000 of that went to his 18-bedroom house which
is far from his only monthly expense. While he admitted at the time to have recently
bought a Rolls-Royce, he said most of the cars, jewelry, and jets he showed off on social
media were actually borrowed or rented. But his big problems came from the illegal
stuff he did. As part of a feud he had with rapper Rick
Ross, he decided to shame the mother of Ross’ child in a truly disgusting way. 50 Cent purchased an adult tape of the woman,
added a voiceover making fun of her, and put it online without her knowledge or consent. A judge ordered him to pay $7 million in damages. He was also found guilty of copying his G-Unit
headphone design from another company, and a judge made him pay $17 million for that
transgression. 50 Cent immediately filed for bankruptcy,
saying these judgments plus other debts exceeded his $25 million net worth. According to Rolling Stone, he settled his
bankruptcy case in 2016, promising to pay $23 million to his creditors over five years. MC Hammer probably had good reason to think
the good times would never end. His 1990 album Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em
is one of the best-selling hip-hop albums of all time. Forbes estimates that at the height of his
success, Hammer’s net worth was around $33 million. But just six years after the release of his
super-successful third album, he filed for bankruptcy in one of the most famous celebrity
financial disasters of all time. First, there was the $30 million mansion,
then there were the costs of what is possibly the most epic entourage ever. Hammer employed 200 people on his payroll,
reportedly to the cost of $500,000 every month. But Hammer told Oprah Winfrey that the real
charge of maintaining such an operation could be, quote, “a million dollars a month at times.” When he filed for bankruptcy, he said he had
a 36-page list of several hundred creditors. “There were no books written or no map to
follow receiving 20 million or 30 million dollars at one time.” Hammer maintained that he didn’t blow the
money solely on himself, but rather spread it around to too many other people. Still, in 2011 he told Oprah that he wouldn’t
go back and change anything, even if he could. He believes in the butterfly effect, and that
if things had been different, he wouldn’t have his kids, or the peace that he has now. Lil Kim wasn’t lying in her song: It really
has been all about the Benjamins for the rapper. Or rather, a lack of them, since she’s reportedly
had plenty of trouble paying her mortgage. CNBC reports her bank first started foreclosure
proceedings on her New Jersey mansion in 2010, and in 2015, the two parties were still trying
to work things out. But by 2017, a judge ruled that she’d had
her chance. A year later, according to the Los Angeles
Times, the bank foreclosed on the property, and Kim filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection. Besides being over $650,000 behind on her
house, she owed the IRS more than a million in back taxes. TMZ adds that she was $186,000 behind on legal
bills and was $4 million in the hole overall. In 2018 she said she was making about $18,000
a month, but out of that she had to budget $2,000 for her staff, another $2,000 for her
wardrobe, and $10,000 for travel. Kim was desperate to save the mansion she
bought in 2002 and filed to stop it going to public auction with the opening bid set
at just $100. But the mortgage company said she was still
missing payments. Kim had a major setback when the court decided
she was in so deep that legally she was too broke to qualify for Chapter 13’s specific
type of bankruptcy. Bow Wow, formerly Lil’ Bow Wow, started releasing
music when he was 13. Since then he’s had hit records and done some
acting, so you’d think he’d have a decent amount of cash saved up over the years. But that couldn’t be further from the truth
based on what he told a judge in 2012. According to TMZ, during a child custody case,
Bow Wow informed the court he made just $4,000 a month and only had $1,500 in his bank account. He also leased a relatively modest car. That might be because four years earlier,
he leased a Ferrari F430 and within months was behind on payments. The leasing company came for their money and
Bow Wow got stuck with a bill of over $200,000. He didn’t pay it, and by 2012, interest took
the total to almost $300,000. By 2017, he still appeared unable to afford
the lifestyle he thought he should project online. The Daily Beast reports that he posted a picture
of a private jet on Instagram with a caption heavily implying he was going to fly to New
York in it. But then someone saw him flying commercial
and posted a picture to Twitter. Another internet detective discovered the
picture of the private jet was actually from a Florida company’s website. In 2018, he described money as being, quote,
“evil” and claimed he was giving his away to fans. So don’t worry about him going broke maybe
it’s all going according to plan. TLC formed in 1991 and by 1994 they had two
hit albums, three Number 1 singles, and two Grammy awards. But while their professional lives might have
been at an all-time high, their personal lives didn’t always reflect that. This was especially true for the rapper of
the group, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. In the early 90s, Lopes was dating football
player Andre Rison, and to outside observers, their relationship was far from functional. At one point, Lopes said Rison abused her,
although charges relating to the claims were eventually dropped. On June 8th, 1994, Rison and Lopes got into
a massive fight in their home. Things reportedly got physical on both sides,
leading to Lopes grabbing some of his new sneakers and setting them on fire in a bathtub. The fire got out of control, and soon the
whole house was in flames. “We all stop what we were doing and we looked
up, black smoke just rollin’, just rollin'” Amazigly, Lopes skated by with a $10,000 fine
and probation for an arson charge. Rison even forgaven her, and their relationship
continued. But the mansion was insured by Lloyd’s of
London, and they were a lot less forgiving. The Guardian says the $1.3 million claim the
company filed against Lopes forced her and indirectly, the rest of the group into bankruptcy. New York rapper DMX had five Number 1 albums
and was one of the most successful hip-hop artists of the late 1990s. But despite the money that must have been
flowing in at one point, his finances turned into a disaster. BET says he filed for bankruptcy in 2009 but
was denied by the court because he had, quote, “unreasonably delayed” the case. Things apparently didn’t get better, since
he tried again in 2013, with his manager saying, “[DMX’s] financial strains have been inhibiting
his career for several years [because of] poor financial management by prior representation.” DMX said he only had $50,000 in assets, earned
as little as $1,677 a month, and was between $1 million and $10 million in debt, with obligations
including $21,000 on a leased car and a whopping $1.24 million in child support. But the judge threw out this bankruptcy filing
as well, citing inconsistencies that made DMX seem untrustworthy. DMX then filed yet another time in 2016. This time he said he owed even more money,
had nothing in his bank account and no assets at all, except his house, which he was trying
to save from foreclosure. Finally, in 2018, the IRS came for the $2.29
million DMX owed them, and he ended up spending a year in jail for tax evasion. “I thank God for my problems as much as I
thank him for my blessings because they’re equally relevant to my life.” Nas has had a long and successful career,
showing up on the Billboard Hot 100 chart nearly two dozen times between 1994 and 2018. He married fellow artist Kelis in 2005, but
things went south pretty fast. By 2009, she had filed for divorce while pregnant
with their first child. Whatever bad things went on in their marriage,
Nas’ terrible financial situation became clear during the divorce. Essence says that while settling on the child
support amount Nas would contribute, the rapper claimed he owed his manager $700,000 and the
IRS millions. But he was still required to pay over $50,000
a month in support. He really might not have had the money, though,
because before they were even divorced, Kelis said Nas wasn’t fulfilling his obligations. The judge ruled he owed her $300,000 in back
child support and alimony, according to DJ Booth. But Nas claimed paying the amount would bankrupt
him. His lawyer argued he made, quote, “substantially
less” than the $150,000 Kelis claimed Nas pulled down a month. He had to set up a payment plan to afford
the bill. Then in 2012, Nas lost his Georgia home when
he failed to make mortgage payments. The bank took it and sold it at auction. Kelis wasn’t the only ex not getting paid,
either. TMZ reported the mother of Nas’ daughter took
him to court in 2014 and said he was a “repeat criminal non-supporter” who owed her more
than $11,000 in child support. Fat Joe released 10 albums before his first
run-in with the tax man in 2010. At that time it was only $105,000 owed to
the state of New Jersey, which he was able to pay back before facing major consequences. But by 2012, things had gotten a lot worse. Despite earning over $3 million in 2007 and
2008, Joe decided to not pay the more than $700,000 he owed the IRS on it, according
to USA Today. He faced up to two years in prison, but before
he was sentenced, he worked hard to pay the bill, simultaneously working to shore up his
image with charitable donations. Reuters says Joe also accepted the blame,
saying while there was, quote, “a lot going on” the years he failed to file, it was still
his responsibility to do so. In addition, more than 60 people sent in letters
on his behalf, testifying to the quality of his character. Joe still served four months in prison. Perhaps the worst consequence of his behavior
was that his 6-year-old daughter was taunted in school about her dad going to jail. But his daughter’s woes must not have had
that much of an effect on him since in 2016 he once again found himself in hot water with
the IRS. This time he owed $1.1 million. In a 2019 interview, Joe implored young rappers
to have a solid business plan and not to repeat mistakes he made, like spending millions of
dollars on jewelry and private planes. “I wish somebody I really respected would
have really explained to me the importance of budgeting that money right.” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about your favorite
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