When you hear rap artists flaunt their material wealth like they own the world, a red flag should pop up. How can an artist like French Montana, with a net worth of 8 million dollars, afford multiple private jets, Lamborghinis, mansions, and tens of millions of dollars worth of other material goods he claims to have? The answer is he can’t. This exaggeration of wealth is a tool that the supplier, in this case Bad Boy Records, uses to increase demand for their music. The rap industry is full of instances of the supplier lying to or deceiving the consumer.
I will use the example I know best. Being from Philadelphia, my home town rapper is Meek Mill, who is revered by many. His lyrics like “couple cars I don’t neva drive, bikes I don’t neva ride, cribs I ain’t neva been” inspire the consumer to desire more. For the average consumer, having a house that they have never seen is completely out of the question. What the consumer doesn’t know is that it is for Meek Mill as well. He has a net worth of two million dollars. So waking up in a new Bugatti (US$1.5m) is not going to happen to him anytime soon.
What I found most interesting about the industry is the chain of parent companies. Meek Mill owns Dream Chaser Records, which is part of Maybach Music Group or MMG. MMG is owned by Rick Ross “the Boss”, who claims in a song to have $92 million in his checking account. Complex Magazine estimates his net worth to be $25-35 million. Having thirty million dollars is no joke; he is certainly richer than most of the people in the world, so why would he try to lie and triple his net worth? This strategy seems to travel up the chain to MMG’s parent company, Roc-a-fella Music owned by the internationally famous Jay Z is not even the top of the chain. Jay Z with a net worth of $450-500 million dollars even has a boss. Universal Music Group owns Roc-a-fella. Universal is owned by a French multinational corporation which is a subsidiary of Vivendi. Vivendi is a media conglomerate based out of Paris. Supposedly in 2013 Vivendi had a recorded net worth of 70 billion dollars, this hardly makes Rick Ross with his 25 million dollars, the “boss” that he claims to be.
I guess the point of this blog is just to make you think. Next time you hear a song where an artist claims to be in charge and on top just think about how complicated the industry really is. Most of the time, in the end, the stock holders are the real bosses.