Music and reality TV have a rather peculiar, but beneficial relationship for artists. Whether its a veteran artist trying to reignite the flame of their once budding career or those whose career is in its nascent stage, reality TV is here to save the day. Or not.
Artists coming along in the 90s had to solely rely on their talent and teams to reach the Billboard charts, and even then there were no guarantees one would blow up. Reality TV has swept in to save the day for musicians who’ve been MIA, but never lost their passion for music. The benefits of reality TV are also evident in singers like the talented K.Michelle who had a record deal and mixtapes way before Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, but her music wasn’t a hit until she was a hit on LHHATL.
And what about the artists with a number of albums under their belts–some even being considered legends–who’ve now crossed over to the drink-slinging, trash-talking, drama filled reality TV pastures? A reality show can be the promotion they need to get people interested again. Others aren’t so lucky despite their re-found fame. It’s a cold world. Here’s 15 musicians who’ve moved on to reality TV for better or for worse.
1. Flavor Flav
Show: Flavor of Love
Aired: January 2006-May 2008
Outcome: Flav was legendary with the political rap group Public Enemy in the late 80s. No one ever thought they’d see the day the man rapping, “Fight the power” would end up rocking gigantic clocks around his neck on national TV while looking for love.
2. Ray J
Show: For the Love of Ray J
Aired: February 2009-February 2010
Outcome: Faithful viewer here. And the bottom line is Ray-J’s unpredictability makes for amazing television. As far as his music is concerned, “I Hit It First” aimed at his ex beau Kim Kardashian is pure comedy, although not quite a chart topper.
3. Faith Evans
Show: R&B Divas
Aired: August 2012- present
Outcome: Faith used to have hits! “Soon as I get home/I’ll make it up to you/Baby I’ll do what I got to do.” That jam still goes. Even after slowing down following the murder of her husband Biggie (RIP) she had a comeback with 2005’s The First Lady. Now you’re more likely to catch her on the tube alongside six other
struggling R&B singers rather than hear a new joint on the radio.
Show: Love and Hip Hop Atlanta
Aired: June 2012- present
Outcome: Prince of the south he’s never been (sorry, but not sorry Momma Dee), but Scrappy’s “No Problem” banged way back when. His now infamous “I want to put them paws on him” spoofs are an online hit. Whether or not anyone’s checking for a “Paws On Him” single is yet to be determined. Get back to us on that one.
5. Joe Budden
Show: Love and Hip Hop 3
Aired: March 2011 – present
Outcome: Joey’s always been a hell of a rapper. That was never arguable. His ability to sell actual records is up for discussion. Joe Budden has been around since this writer was in college eons ago, but for some reason his controversy always outshines his actual talent. Since the show Joe’s reemerged on the music scene with Slaughterhouse, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. There is always hope when you’re signed to Eminem’s Shady Records.
6. Ice T
Show: Ice Loves Coco
Aired: June 2011 – present
Outcome: Ice T went from west coast gangster rapper to his wife Coco making him sandwiches on their own reality show. If Ice did come out with another album, what would he even say? “Ice loves Coco/And that’s all you need to know/She’s my wife/We don’t always get it right/But hey, this is our life.” I mean…what else would he have to talk about now?
7. Rev Run aka Run of Run-D.M.C.
Show: Run’s House
Aired: October 2005 – July 2009
Outcome: Run-D.M.C are rap pioneers. Don’t let the black fedora and black bishop jacket Run rocks fool you. The reality show couldn’t make or break the legacy Rev Run made in the rap game. Thankfully it was a family show and he wasn’t involved in any shenanigans. Rev Run can sit back and chill forever if he wants since his kids are now making the dough.
Show: Making The Band
Aired: March 2000-October 2009
Outcome: Yes, we are well aware that Diddy has done a number of reality shows post the Bad Boy golden era. MTB just happens to be the one most noteworthy. The 90s era Bad Boy may be long gone, but Diddy’s still making music and backing new artists like his chick Cassie or French Montana. Hopefully Cassie never had to walk the Brooklyn Bridge to get him some cheesecake.
9. Jim Jones
Show: Love And Hip Hop and Chrissy and Mr. Jones
Aired: March 2011-2012 and September 2012-present respectively
Outcome: Let’s not pretend for one ounce of a second that Dipset was not the sh*t. It was and there’s just no denying that. Folks were devastated when the group dismantled leaving some of the less popular members to pick up the pieces for their solo careers. Jimmy found himself on Love and Hip Hop with his longtime girlfriend Chrissy, which led to a spinoff show. On the show he was always in the studio. What resulted from all those studio sessions is still a mystery.
10. Keyshia Cole
Show: The Way It Is and Keyshia & Daniel: Family First
Aired: July 2006 – December 2008 and October 2012 – December 2012 respectively
Outcome: Keyshia had the bitter women anthems on lock. Her reality show with her mom Frankie opened the flood gates for hilariously entertaining mamas on reality shows. Once it was time to get back to the music Keyshia still had some devoted fans, but her popularity had dwindled. You can catch her now shading women who actually are performing at the Super Bowl or posting pics on Instagram of her straddling her husband to prove to the world they’re doing just fine.
Show: The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Aired: October 2008 – present
Outcome: Reality TV was the best thing that happened to Kandi’s once dormant career. Although she never stopped getting checks from the hit songs she wrote in the late 90s, no one was knocking down her door for an Xscape reunion. Once she joined the RHOA she created a sex toy line that is popping, she wrote a song for cast mate Kim Zolciak and parlayed it all into her own Bravo spinoff. The cherry on top was she found her soon-to-be husband who was working the cameras the whole time. Kandi is winning, hunty.
Show: T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle
Aired: December 2011 – present
Outcome: We’ve all come to grips with the fact that Xscape isn’t doing a reunion. Not only are they not doing a reunion, T.I. doesn’t want his woman using her precious time to work. He’d rather she take care of their six children. Tiny may not have relaunched a music career, but she is managing her daughter’s group the OMG Girlz and dabbling in her own late night TV show. Tiny is another one who came out on top. Doesn’t have to work if she doesn’t want to because her rich husband likes to provide, but can also be involved in the music industry through her daughter and husband. Take notes, y’all.
13. Ozzy Osbourne
Show: The Osbournes
Aired: March 2002 – March 2005
Outcome: Look, Ozzy’s 64 and still making music–both solo and group albums. Step your game up peeps! You may have never heard of his metal band Black Sabbath before, but you know The Osbournes. That was classic TV. It was so great to see dysfunction not in its typical stereotypical way.
14. Jessica Simpson
Show: Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica
Aired: August 2003 – March 2005
Outcome: I am not ashamed, I am not ashamed, I am not ashamed… to admit I’d forgotten Jessica Simpson was a singer. I could only remember her for asking if “Chicken Of the Sea” tuna was indeed tuna or chicken. But hey, who needs music when you have a successful shoe line and a hefty Weight Watchers endorsement? She doesn’t seem pressed about making music. Wonder if she ever figured out the quadratic equation that is tuna.
Show: Rock of Love
Aired: July 2007 – April 2009
Outcome: No offense to Bret Michaels’s music career as we’re 100 percent sure it was great. But does anyone care about new music from this guy as long as they have Rock of Love reruns? Reality TV was clearly his thing.