How does someone go from $155 million to bankrupt in a matter of months? 50 Cent can tell you how. In May 2015, Forbes estimated the rapper’s net worth at $155 million. But on July 13, 2015, 50 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
According to the bankruptcy filing, 50 says his assets are valued between $10 and $50 million, and his liabilities are also between the same range.
But don’t take it from the man who has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, including his now-ironic debut studio album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’.” The music industry has a long history of bankruptcy.
Here is a run down of successful musicians, producers and label heads who hit rock bottom. A lucky few recovered, but most did not.
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50 Cent may only have 50 cents to his name after he gets his finances in check. The award-winning rapper filed for bankruptcy three days after Lavonia Leviston won a $5 million jury verdict against him for intentionally leaking a sex tape in which she was featured. Additionally, 50 lost a court case in 2014, leaving him with a $17.2 million judgement over ripping off a headphones design. It looks like the rapper is going to have to find another way to get rich or die tryin’.
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Scott Storch went from $70 million to $100, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in June 2015 after blowing his fortune on exotic cars, luxury vacations, jewelry, real estate and copious amounts of cocaine.
But this isn’t the first time the music producer was careless with his money. In 2006 alone, he reportedly spent $30 million (largely on drugs and women). Then in 2012, he owed nearly $30,000 in child support. Now, he says he only has $100 in cash, $500 in clothes and a $3,000 watch.
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In the early 1990s, MC Hammer made upwards of $33 million a year, spending it on parachute pants, thoroughbred racehorses, luxury cars and jets and a $30 million mansion on top of paying $500,000 a month to support his 200-person staff and huge entourage, putting him $13.7 million in the hole. As recently as 2011, his hole was dug a little deeper when he was alleged to have owed the feds more than $700,000 in back taxes.
In 1996, Toni Braxton was raking in the cash and even won a few awards, too, having sold more than 20 million records. But this didn’t stop her from filing for bankruptcy twice. The first time was in 1998, and the second in 2010 because apparently once wasn’t enough. With her debt totaling a whopping $50 million, the R&B singer lost the copyright to 27 of her songs as well as possession of her Grammys and other awards. Finally in 2013, after 15 years of pinching pennies, she was finally able to resolve her bankruptcy case, paying a $150,000 settlement.
Trick Daddy used to rap about thug life on the Miami streets. That is, until he was turned out on the streets when his suburban Miami home was foreclosed in May 2010. According to the IRS, the rapper failed to pay $157,034 in taxes. Then in 2014, he was arrested for cocaine possession. But supposedly now, Trick says he’s getting it together, and it’s about time.
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Co-founder of the now defunct Roc-A-Fella, Dame Dash’s downfall has been just as tragic. On top of losing the record company, Dash’s new record label, Roc La Famila, and clothing line, The Damon Dash Collection, both folded, and over the years, the hip-hop mogul has had multiple properties foreclosed. Not to mention his wife, Rachel Roy divorced him, and he was sued $15 million due to an alleged rape. In 2013, he fell deeper in debt when he was hit with a $2.8 million tax lien. Now, he reportedly remains broke, his estimated $50 million fortune gone.
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Lil Kim’s tax problems go back more than 10 years. According to documents filed with the L.A. Recorder’s Office, the rapper owes money every year from 2002-2009, totaling more than $1 million. Additionally in 2008, she was sued by her former label, Brookland Media, for $2.5 million, which legally barred her from putting out new music.
In 1999, Puff Daddy’s former prodigy Ma$e retired from the music industry after saying he got a “calling from God.” Apparently his higher power didn’t pay too well because the state of Florida claimed that he owed more than 124,000 in unpaid local taxes stemming from 2000, 2001 and 2004.
Xzibit (Alvin Joiner)Getty Images
The ex-host of MTV’s Pimp My Ride received his last paycheck in 2008 when the show was cancelled, and it doesn’t look like he has had a steady income since. After the rapper’s California home was foreclosed, X filed for bankruptcy twice since 2009, owing almost $1 million in federal back taxes.
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In 2010, Fat Joe was hit with a $139,000 tax lien and failed to pay income taxes on $3 million between 2007 and 2010. In 2012, the rapper pleaded guilty to tax evasion in federal court.
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2 Live Crew member Uncle Luke owes the IRS $74,000 in unpaid taxes stemming from 2012. His financial woes, however, date back to 1995 when his Luke Records company was driven into bankruptcy. He now works several jobs as a Pee Wee football coach, Miami New Times columnist and owner of an adult film company.
In 2010, Buck was forced into Chapter 16 bankruptcy after an IRS raid on his Tennessee home. It wasn’t long before he was auctioning off his possessions in one of the most dramatic public shamings in hip-hop history. After being ousted from 50 Cent’s camp in 208, Buck’s future in the music industry doesn’t look so promising.
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Ja Rule used to make money off of his catchy hip-hop rhymes. That is, until his hits dried up in 2004. In 2011, after seven basically workless years, he owed the IRS $1.1 million, which he wasn’t equipped to pay and went to prison for tax evasion and gun possession. In court, Ja admitted, “I didn’t know how to deal with these finances.”
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Rapper Beanie Sigel has been in and out of prison and in a whole lot of debt. He served a year in prison in 2004 for weapon charges before standing trial for attempted murder in 2005. He was acquitted, but the two trials took their financial toll. In 2010, he was then found guilty of tax evasion, having failed to report an estimated $1.5 million in income.
Bow WowGetty Images
In the grand scheme of things, Bow Wow isn’t the worst off, but he’s worthy of mention. The rapper nets about $48,000 a year (so much for being a Cash Money Millionaire) and has $1,500 some in his bank account. In 2009, he was court-ordered to pay $216,084 after failing to keep up on car payments after leasing a Ferrari the previous year.