How Chamillionaire is using his success after rap to empower others
We’re only remembered by what we’ve done lately.
This unfortunate truth is not only a testament to our short attention span, but it proves that our appreciation is often shallow in the first place. The last time you heard of Chamillionaire was probably 2018, during the NBA Finals.
The 38-year-old Houston native, who’s mega-hit “Ridin” solidified him as a legend in the pantheon of all-time one-hit wonders, was spotted courtside at the Cavs/Warriors game, and people were legit confused.
based god curse ends, chamillionaire curse …… begins. pic.twitter.com/HjDU9FlIvb
— Waiting To Oxtail (@ThatDudeMCFLY) June 13, 2017
How Tf Chamillionaire can afford courtside seats? Is he in FACT and ACTUAL Chamillionaire…? pic.twitter.com/R5d7khI7m4
— woah (@DeLaBreezus) June 13, 2017
Chamillionaire sitting courtside at the finals in 2017!!!! pic.twitter.com/X7BNDALPtW
— … (@I_AM_JSMILEZ) June 13, 2017
I’m not going to lie, it was funny seeing people react in complete shock to the fact that the former rapper was able to afford courtside seats at an NBA Finals game, but what did they expect?
There aren’t many examples of the lives rappers lead once they’ve retired from the game, so I get it. I was wondering what the hell he was doing with those expensive seats, too. It had been well over a decade since Chamillionaire released music, so, how else could he possibly make money?
If they don’t own a label (like Diddy) or aren’t in entertainment (like 50 Cent, Joe Budden etc), it’s easy to assumed they’ve fallen off, but such is not always the case. In fact, Chamillionaire, lowkey, has been having the best post-rap life ever.
Back in a 2006, only a year removed from the peak of his career, Chamillionaire was already plotting business moves. In an interview with All HipHop, he revealed his car customizing business called Fly Rydes as well as a model agency he was planning. He explained,
“It’s called Masterpiece Mind Frame because in the word mind frame, your MIND comes before your frame. Print modeling can turn into movies and other stuff, and you can just step all the way up the ladder. It’s like that with males and females, and if you’re trying to go somewhere, just walk up the ladder, you know, and take it to the next step.”
Most artists in Chamillionaire’s position would be happy to have two Grammy nominations and a hit record, but it was during that success where the Houston native was thinking about his next move.
That same mindset got him his own independent label and music entertainment business in 2011 when he split with Universal Records — another bold move from a rapper in his era.
And in 2015, while Chamillionaire was still in our memories’ rearview, venture capitalist Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures announced that Chamillionaire was “moving to LA for a while and working in our offices and developing his ideas” as an “entrepreneur in residence.”
According to Suster, the two met in 2009 and he was taken aback at Chamillionaire’s grasp of audience engagement.
In fact, he was so enthralled, in 2010, Suster penned an article titled “What Tech Entrepreneurs Could Learn from Chamillionaire,” and now everyone at Upfront Ventures will be able to benefit from Chamillionaire’s wisdom.
Of course, while we’re over here thinking Chamillionaire is broke, he’s actually bunkered up with the movers and shakers in Silicon Valley. There is a lot to learn from Chamillionaire, whether you’re an artist who has come across their first lump some or an aspiring entrepreneur.
Rap offers unique opportunities to individuals who, in most cases, have a lot going against them. Maybe Cham knew he wasn’t going to be in the rap game for long. Maybe his plan was to leave as soon as he made some real money.
Either way, as soon as he had it, he invested it. If more rappers saw the game like Chamillionaire did — like a rare, once-in-a-lifetime chance that wont be there forever — we’d see a lot more rappers under the radar making as much money on the low as possible.
It’s also important that we, as fans, start appreciating other forms of prosperity. We love when a rapper throws money, literally, on the floor, but charitable acts get swept under the rug.
Recently, after reading how Trump’s new immigration restrictions affected 39-year-old Jorge Garcia, who was separated from his wife and two children by immigration officials, Cham reached out with intentions of lending a hand.
This is not a joke. I actually got an email yesterday from rapper Chamillionaire (of Ridin’ Dirty fame, the song that goes, They see me rollin,’ they hatin’) after he read my story on Jorge Garcia being deported. He wants to help him. pic.twitter.com/ZBJvcbTKRf
— Niraj Warikoo (@nwarikoo) January 18, 2018
After years living in the U.S. for 30 years, a 39-year-old immigrant in metro Detroit was deported this morning to Mexico. Escorted by ICE agents, he said bye to wife and 2 kids before boarding. He was brought to US from Mexico when he was 10-yrs-old, too old to qualify for DACA: pic.twitter.com/KFPeweaMbG
— Niraj Warikoo (@nwarikoo) January 15, 2018
Garcia was eventually deported Monday (Jan 22nd) but Chamillionaire wants to lend a hand with finances while he’s gone — according to Warikoo, Garcia’s family has apparently already spent $125,000 on attorneys and filing fees.
We can keep on believing that the only relevant musicians are the one’s that are in front of us, dripping in the jewelry, but that would be incredibly ignorant of us. This isn’t the first time the rapper has helped people in need, either — he raised over $45,000 for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
For someone who the public didn’t expect to have floor seats, Chamillionaire sure has had quite the post-rap life. As he put it on his website:
“Just like so many other people out there, I don’t want to sit on the sidelines, I want to do the most that I can to help.”