Former Rappers Who Are Surprisingly Poor

Many rappers from the golden age of hip-hop have remained megastars. Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, and scores of others have all maintained their credentials as true originators of the early 1990s' rap sound while ascending to the status of global icons.

But the rap game is notoriously unstable, and though a rapper might have all the trappings of success — cars, mansions, gold chains — on show in their music videos once they hit the big time, there is no guarantee they are going to keep them. Like sports stars, actors, and wrestlers, many rappers have a difficult time keeping on top of their cash flow as their glory days inevitably come to an end, and the activity that made their name ceases to remain as lucrative as it once was. Here are just a few of the big names who, after gaining a seat at hip-hop's top table, were sadly unable to stay there.

Beanie Sigel

At the turn of the millennium, Philadelphia rapper Beanie Sigel was a big name. His debut album, The Truth, was released in 2000 on Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella label, was a Billboard top 5 smash, as were his two follow-up albums, 2001's The Reason and 2005's The B. Coming, according to Billboard. By the mid-2000s, the young rapper was a multimillionaire, with his profile buoyed by a label rivalry with Sean "Puffy" Combs' Ruff Riders.

However, Sigel's star began to wane toward the end of the decade. His sales plummeted, with his fourth album for Roc-A-Fella performing poorly. Meanwhile, in 2010, the rapper had faced a string of criminal proceedings throughout the 2000s and was ultimately found guilty of tax evasion. According to Billboard, Sigel owed nearly $730,000 in back taxes and was sentenced to two years in jail. Despite the hip-hop community welcoming him back when he was released in 2014, his career never recovered. Per Latest Celebrity Net Worth, his assets are currently valued at around $100,000 — a fraction of what he was earning in his prime.

Christopher Play Martin

Kid 'n' Play was one of the biggest rap duos of the late '80s and early '90s. Their three albums, beginning with the debut 2 Hype in 1988, were part of the successful wave of playful, family-friendly hip-hop that included the work of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. Whereas Will Smith became a household name thanks to his starring role in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Chris "Kid" Reid (left) and Christopher "Play" Martin's (right) stardom grew with their House Party movie franchise, as well as through their brief run as stars in their own Saturday morning kids' cartoon.

However, no more Kid 'n' Play releases came after 1991's Face the Nation, with both sides of the duo entering into the world of acting. Martin, however, spread himself more broadly: as well as Christian rap — Kid 'n' Play had always had a didactic, moral edge to them — the rapper began a career in multimedia production and spent some time as a university lecturer, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Today, he is worth around $300,000, which, while not to be sniffed at, is a fraction of that of some of his closest contemporaries.


Detroit-born rapper Xzibit has been a famous figure from the world of hip-hop ever since the 1990s, having made his debut as a guest rapper with Tha Alkaholiks in 1996 and  going platinum with his classic album Restless, released in 2000.

Yet, in 2010, Detroit News was reporting that Xzibit was "no longer enjoying a pimped lifestyle," as quoted by The Spokesman-Review, and that the rapper was facing an enormous $960,000 bill for unpaid federal taxes. The root of his financial troubles reportedly came from the cancellation of the show Pimp My Ride, which Xzibit had hosted for the vast majority of its episodes over six seasons from 2004 to 2007. Per the same source, the rapper's income dropped from nearly half a million in the show's final season to just $67,510 the year after, and after failing to rein in his spending, Xzibit was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2009.

Xzibit's luck has improved in the last decade, and today his fortune has bounced back somewhat to around $2 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. However, Xzibit's lifestyle, which once included private ownership of a fleet of luxury cars, has remained utterly transformed by the financial disaster that drew a line under his golden years in the 2000s.

Chris Daddy Mack Smith

Chris "Daddy Mack" Smith (right) was just 13 years old when he scored a No. 1 hit single alongside his rapping partner, Chris "Mack Daddy" Kelly (left), as part of the duo Kris Kross. According to All Music, the pair was spotted by producer Jermaine Dupri — who was just 19 at the time — while performing in a mall in Atlanta in 1991. Dupri masterminded their first single, "Jump," a monster smash that, per the same source, was the highest selling single on the Billboard charts in 15 years. Their 1992 album, Totally Krossed Out, went multiplatinum, and Kriss Kross, now superstars, went on tour with Michael Jackson, performing to thousands of rapt fans.

Two more albums followed, but interest in the group dwindled toward the end of the 1990s, and they remained on indefinite hiatus until a reunion concert in 2013. The same year, however, tragedy struck, when Kelly died of an accidental drug overdose, per The Guardian. Smith was heartbroken, telling E! that Kelly was, after all those years, still his best friend and "like a brother" to him.

In the years that followed Kriss Kross' amazing mainstream success, Smith ventured into the world of business, but only to moderate success. Today, it is reported that he is worth around $200,000, according to Net Worth Post.

Peter Pete Nice Nash

One of the strangest post-hip-hop careers is that of Prime Minister Pete Nice, erstwhile member of trailblazing late-80s rap crew 3rd Bass alongside fellow rapper MC Serch and DJ Richie Rich. Drawing comparisons to the Beastie Boys for being a group that included white emcees while not pandering to a commercial sound (per All Music), 3rd Bass became first favorites of hip-hop heads after the release of their classic The Cactus Al/bum in 1989, a showcase of the crew's intricate rhymes and playful, technicolor beats. But its three members soon went their separate ways — Serch went solo, while Richie Rich and Pete Nice continued to work together, though never to the same commercial success or critical acclaim they received for their early work with 3rd Bass.

Nice, a lifelong baseball fan, retired from music to become a dealer in baseball memorabilia — a seemingly tame career for one of the Golden Age's most fiery emcees. However, the story doesn't end there, as in 2009 he was investigated for dealing in forged items, per Sports Illustrated, while tax fraud convictions followed in 2014, reports HipHopWired.

In 2018, a decree of foreclosure and sale was declared on Pete Nice's home in Cooperstown, New York. The property sold for $500,000, according to All Otsego.