Since before Rakim rhymed about getting “Paid In Full,” rappers have been obsessed with that dollar bill (y’all). They rap about trying to get it, what they’d do with it if they had it and all the problems it creates. And they should know, as no one knows how to spend it in style like a hip hop star. There are however, a significant number of MCs who have decided to put their money back into the communities that raised them. From California to the Carolinas, famous rappers have helped fund charities, college scholarships and community centers. See which big-hearted rappers have given back in big ways and find how they’re paying it forward to help the next generation.
Eminem and Dr. Dre have both given back to their hometown communities. Relive the video for their collaborative “I Need A Doctor.”
Diddy Ran the NYC Marathon
Diddy repped his hometown of Harlem when he ran the 2003 NYC Marathon. The marathon was a chance for Diddy to raise money for New York public schools and the Children’s Hope Foundation, as well as his Daddy’s House Social Programs, which provides guidance for youths. Diddy claimed to have raised $2 million for the causes. He finished the marathon with a time of four hours, 14 minutes and 54 seconds after suffering major leg cramps and training for two months.
E-40 Opened his Wallet for his Hometown Salvation Army
While in Vallejo, CA for the holidays in 2013, E-40 stopped by the Salvation Army in his hometown to help distribute bikes. He also donated $10,000 to the charity organization, recalling the help it offered to him and his family when he was young. “When you’re dealing with donations, you want to make sure [you’re] dealing with reputable people,” he told the charity. “The Salvation Army is reputable.”
Big Sean’s Sean Anderson Foundation
Big Sean visited his hometown of Detroit in the summer of 2013 to hand out school supplies at a fair hosted by his former school, Detroit Public Schools. Around the same time, Sean launched the Sean Anderson Foundation, whose mission is to “assist in the education, health, safety and well-being of Detroit Area School aged youth as well as disadvantaged youth in other areas across the nation.” Sean’s mother, Myra Anderson, is head of the foundation.
2 Chainz Wants to be Mayor of College Park
2 Chainz told XXL in late January that he wants to run for mayor of his hometown, College Park, GA. This wouldn’t be the first time the rapper has gotten political. Remember that interview he did with Nancy Grace about his views on legalizing marijuana? Grace is probably too embarrassed to remember, but you should revisit it daily. 2 Chainz told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’s “looking forward to running at the end of this year or next,” and in the meantime, he’s “waiting to see if I meet all of the qualifications.”
Lil Wayne Helped Build Trukstop Skate Park in New Orleans
NOLA native Lil Wayne has been vocal about the Hurricane Katrina devastation that hit in 2005. Weezy took matters into his own hands when he decided to give back to his hometown by building a skate park in the Lower 9th Ward. “I can go there and go skate instead of go do something I probably have no business doing,” he said in a marketing campaign for the skate park project, a partnership with Mountain Dew and the Glu Agency.The Trukstop Skate Park opened in September 2012, but later closed down due to a lack of funding.
Dr. Dre Donated Money to USC
Dr. Dre, who grew up in Compton, and Jimmy Iovine gave big to the University of Southern California in 2013. Their massive donation of $70 million funded an undergraduate program called the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, whose mission is creating “a new generation of inspired innovators.”
J. Cole Hopes to Open his Forest Hills Drive Home to Single Mothers
In addition to heading the Dreamville Foundation, J. Cole is opening his home on Forest Hills Drive, which inspired his eponymous 2014 album, in Fayetteville, NC to single mothers, according to his interview with The Combat Jack Show. The rapper’s decision was timed closely with the release of his album, and comes years after Cole bought the house back after learning that his mother had lost it. Cole remembers the house, which is the last one he lived in as a child, as a place filled with hope. He wants to offer it to single mothers with multiple children as a rent-free haven for them to stay for a period of up to two years.
Wyclef Jean Helped Raise Money for Haiti
When Wyclef Jean heard about the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck his home country of Haiti in 2010, he arrived there the next day. Jean was inspired to run for president of the country, but his New Jersey residency barred his eligibility. Jean’s Haitian nonprofit Yele Haiti had been around for five years before the natural disaster struck, and just days after it did, Jean raised $1 million in text donations alone. Yele Haiti shut its doors in 2012 after news broke that Jean had used a large portion of the funds for personal use.
Eminem’s Charity Work in Michigan
Eminem has backed the Marshall Mathers Foundation, which helps disadvantaged Michigan youth, as well as the Eight Mile Boulevard Association, which seeks to revitalize the Eight Mile transportation system in southeast Michigan. He has also donated over $200,000 to buy presents for Michigan children during the holiday season. Eminem’s donations, made as part of the Marshall Mathers Foundation, were kept secret for around two years, but Judith Wollack, CEO of Wolverine Human Services, revealed Eminem as the donor in 2013.