20 Famous Rappers Who Went Bankrupt

dmx on stage rapping in a brown shirt
Image from Shutterstock.

Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 03:03 am

Here’s the tea: famous individuals aren’t always free from financial challenges. Many celebrities, for whatever reason – living in excess, failing to pay taxes, and other situations – can face bankruptcy. There are many cases of famous personalities going broke because of poor financial choices.

In this article, we’ll delve into the stories of 20 famous rappers who went bankrupt, impacting their once-solid reputation.

20 Famous Rappers Who Went Bankrupt

1. Ja Rule

ja rule and ashanti performing at christmas time. rappers who went bankrupt
Image from Shutterstock.

First on our list of famous rappers who went bankrupt is the iconic star Ja Rule. Following the failure of the controversial Fyre Festival, Ja Rule became entangled in numerous class-action lawsuits. 

On top of that, the “Always On Time” rapper faced legal issues with the IRS, being accused of tax evasion and allegedly owing over $2 million in back taxes. To nobody’s surprise, the rapper went broke from all the piling bills and lawsuits.

Related: 24 Rappers Who Served Time in Jail

2. Nas

rapper nas on stage in a multicolored outfit singing
Image from Shutterstock.

After losing his half-a-million-dollar house, it was clear that Nas was financially struggling. Despite achieving global success with the sale of over 25 million records, the rapper found himself in dire straits. 

Not only did he owe the IRS a substantial sum of at least a million dollars, but he also carried financial problems in the form of a $700,000 debt to his manager, $300,000 in child support, and an additional $50,000 owed to Kelis, his ex-wife.

Related: 19 Rappers Who Cheated on Their Partners

3. Nelly

the rapper nelly performing on stage
Image from Shutterstock.

As we go down our list of famous rappers who went bankrupt, one thing is becoming more and more clear: lots of rappers have beef with the IRS. Another one of them is Nelly.

The rapper was hit with a federal tax lien, and the court ordered him to pay a whopping $2.5 million. Fortunately, the “Dilemma” rapper benefited from a dedicated fanbase that supported him by actively streaming his music.

Related: 25 Rappers Who Came From Nothing

4. DMX

dmx on stage rapping in a brown shirt
Image from Shutterstock.

Despite amassing immense popularity, DMX shockingly went through three bankruptcies in his life. The singer was swimming in debt due to legal troubles, a feud with the IRS, and an excess lifestyle. 

When he departed from this world, he had no will and was millions of dollars in debt.

Related: How Did DMX Die?

5. Lil Kim

lil kim on the red carpet
LOS ANGELES – JUN 27: Lil Kim at the BET Awards 2021 Arrivals at the Microsoft Theater on June 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. Image from Shutterstock.

Known as the Queen Bee, this pioneering hip-hop artist is also one of many famous rappers who went bankrupt. 

The “Lady Marmalade” rapper filed for bankruptcy in 2018, reportedly owing at least $667,000 in late mortgage payments on top of $1.5 million in back taxes from 2004-2017 to the federal government. 

She also has to pay $376,346.74 to New Jersey for state taxes and unpaid legal bills of $186,000.

Thankfully, the rapper was able to bounce back with the help of her friends like Missy Elliot.

Related: 23 Famous Singers Who Served Jail Time

6. Bow Wow

rapper bow wow at universal studios in LA
Image from Shutterstock.

In 2012, Bow Wow openly admitted to facing financial challenges, revealing his struggle with overdue luxury car payments. Reports highlighted that he had a mere $1500 in his checking account, all while contending with unpaid taxes and child support. 

To add salt to his wound, he became a meme in 2017 when he was photographed flying commercially after boasting about flying on a private jet online. Ouch!

Related: 21 Best Rap Songs

7. Fat Joe

rapper fat joe on stage performing
Image from Shutterstock.

Yet another successful star who ended up on our unfortunate list of famous rappers who went bankrupt is the legendary Fat Joe. The rapper neglected to fulfill his tax obligations from 2007 to 2010, resulting in an accumulation of debt. 

Though he was able to pay it in time, the rapper was hit again by the IRS in 2016, but this time, his debt was amounting to one million dollars.

Related: Fat Joe’s Net Worth

8. Young Buck

rapper young buck attending an event
Image from Shutterstock.

Former G-Unit rapper Young Buck also drowned in debt and was forced to file for bankruptcy back in 2010. 

His home was raided by an IRS agent, and he was forced to sell his music catalog to repay the money he owed to creditors, including 50 Cent

9. Xzibit

xzibit on stage rapping
Image from Shutterstock.

From “Pimp My Ride” to $1,000,000 in debt, Xzibit also makes an appearance in our list of famous rappers who went bankrupt. 

Xzibit underwent bankruptcy filing twice, but both were dismissed by the bankruptcy court. Xzibit was guilty of tax evasion, and according to public records, he owed more than $900,000 in delinquent federal taxes.

Related: 20 Famous Rappers Who Have DUIs

10. MC Hammer

MC hammer on the red carpet giving the thumbs up sign
Image from Shutterstock.

There was a time when you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing a song by MC Hammer. Unfortunately, after reaching the peak of his career, the rapper faced huge financial debt. 

Aside from selling his house and ending up with almost $13 million in debt, the “Can’t Touch This” rapper’s net worth went from over $70 million down to negative $13 million.

MC Hammer eventually reversed his fortunes by rebranding himself as a tech investor, offering him a new and fresh start. He strategically invested in various startups, ultimately recovering from his bankruptcy in 1996.

Related: 22 Celebrities Who Went Bankrupt

11. 50 Cent

50 cent on stage with a microphone
Image from Shutterstock.

It’s hard to imagine a household name such as 50 Cent facing financial challenges, but here we are. 

The “In Da Club” rapper, who burst onto the music scene in 2003 with a string of hits, declared bankruptcy in 2015 due to a series of lawsuits from multiple parties. 

Like many on this list, he successfully recovered and went on to generate income through a range of diverse ventures.

Related: 22 Rappers Who Got Shot

12. Method Man

method man on stage performing a rap
Image from Shutterstock.

Wu-Tang legend Method Man also joins our list of famous rappers who went bankrupt. The Tecal creator was guilty of tax evasion and was said to have owed $52,503 in income tax. 

The Department of Taxation even had to repossess his Lincoln Navigator to cover his money problems. Dang.

13. T-Pain

T-Pain at Target Field Photo by Travis Meier
T-Pain at Target Field Photo by Travis Meier

T-Pain also had to learn financial discipline the hard way. 

After achieving fame and fortune, T-Pain faced financial turmoil in 2019, accumulating over $40 million in liabilities and ultimately filing bankruptcy. 

His downward spiral was attributed to a combination of depression and poor financial choices, such as buying a Bugatti for $2.1 million and selling it for $800,000.

Related: Kanye West’s Net Worth

14. Scott Starch

a dj performing at a festival
(No licenseable images available) Image from Shutterstock.

Though not technically a rapper, Scott Starch was a famous producer for many iconic stars in the rap game, such as Dr. Dre. That’s why the industry was stunned when this renowned artist filed for bankruptcy. 

It was revealed that Storch possessed only $100 in cash, $500 worth of clothing, and a $3,000 watch. 

Related: 14 Best Rappers

15. Memphis Bleek

a rapper with his face obscured in shadow
(No licensable photos available) Image from Shutterstock

Yet another one of many famous rappers who went bankrupt is the Brooklyn-based associate of Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek. 

According to Complex, the rapper’s financial downfall is simply because of his poor financial decisions.

Reportedly, despite having a monthly income of $5,911.93, his monthly expenses amounted to $5,377. Talk about living above your means!

16. Master P

silhouette of a rapper or singer on stage
(No licensable photos available) Image from Shutterstock.

Master P is another rapper who had to declare bankruptcy. The “Bourbons and Lacs” rapper had to settle a $1.5 million debt and dealt with multiple lawsuits. 

With nowhere to go, P had to sell his label and his catalog, ultimately losing the rights to his music.

Related: Best 90s Songs

17. Da Brat

rapper da brat on the red carpet in a red outfit
Image from Shutterstock.

Who would have thought that a major presence throughout the 90s would also tumble down and end up on our list of famous rappers who went bankrupt? 

She achieved success by selling singles and albums, but her substantial sales, unfortunately, weren’t enough to keep her out of debt.

The “Honey” rapper eventually filed for bankruptcy, with debts totaling approximately $7.7 million. This included a lawsuit resulting from an incident in which she allegedly struck a woman with a bottle in a nightclub.

Related: 16 Best Female Rappers

18. Kurupt

rapper kurupt on the red carpet in a white jacket and shirt
Image from Shutterstock.

Kurupt found himself entangled in legal troubles after breaching a contract by colluding with Death Row Records. As a result, he became the target of a lawsuit from his record labels. 

In a strategic move, he filed for bankruptcy, effectively nullifying all of his recording contracts and cleverly navigating his way out of the complicated situation.

19. Trick Daddy

rapper trick daddy arriving at an event holding his hands up
Image from Shutterstock.

Rapper and former radio show host Trick Daddy had to file bankruptcy after a series of piling debts.

He owed $23,000 to the courts, was delinquent by $300,000 to the IRS, and, to put the cherry on top, also owed $$60,000 in back child support. That is more than enough to make him a part of our list of famous rappers who went bankrupt. 

Maybe that’s what he gets for going around and telling people Beyonce can’t sing…

Related: Beyonce’s Net Worth

20. Damon Dash

rapper damon dash in a suit on the red carpet
Image from Shutterstock.

Last on our list of famous rappers who went bankrupt is Damon Dash. The Roc-A-Fella co-founder has been losing money for years, and in 2019, things hit rock bottom

The mogul got caught up in a business lawsuit and ended up owing $2400. 

Unfortunately, the rapper said he didn’t have the cash to pay it, declaring he was broke.

You Might Also Like:

Written by Erik Ritland

Erik Ritland is a songwriter, musician, journalist, and podcaster based in Nashville, Tennessee. He’s released over a dozen albums since 2002, most recently Old Dog Almost Gone (2021), the first-ever multimedia album, and his latest collection of all original material, A Scientific Search (2020). During his 15+ years as a music journalist, Erik has written hundreds of articles for Music in Minnesota, Something Else Reviews, his own blog Rambling On, and more. In addition to continuing his music career, Erik currently runs The Cosmic American, a music journalism website, and is the editor of Music in Minnesota.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





music videos with nudity a nude woman sitting on a beach

21 Music Videos with Nudity: The Sexiest Music Videos

Travis Scott's Circus Maximus at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Travis Scott’s Thrilling Performance Leaves Minnesota “Feining” for More