How Much Does It Cost to Book Your Favorite Rapper?
If you haven’t noticed, the rap business has changed. You probably know this because you and all your friends likely haven’t paid for an artist’s music in a minute. Due to torrenting, streaming, and music sharing (basically the Internet), records just don’t sell like they used to. So, with record purchases more or less going the way of Blockbuster rentals, those who make their living through music have had to find another way to make money. The answer? Touring.
Currently, everyone from struggle rappers to superstars are touring more often, hitting more cities, and generally, getting more money. As touring becomes more crucial, the amount that artists get paid for a show, a.k.a. their quote, becomes more interesting and more important. Rap fans geeked out over sales numbers to see how their favorite and least favorite rappers’ careers are fairing. Now, you’re much better off checking how much they get for a show. Remember when 50 Cent and Kanye West had their sales competition? That was 2008, but in 2014, they should be seeing whose quote is higher (Answer: ‘Ye by a million).
Another major development is how massively important booking agencies, a.k.a. the companies whose agents book artists’ tours, have become. As record deals mean less and less, who your booking agent is can count for everything. A few major companies—William Morris Endeavor, CAA, the Agency Group, and ICM—represent nearly all your favorite rappers, and a few agents, major players like Cara Lewis or Peter Schwartz, have taken on the behind-the-scenes roles of tastemakers. For up-and-comers, getting signed to a powerful booking agency can be a bigger cosign than signing your first deal. Chance the Rapper has yet to link up with a label, but in 2013 inking a contract with Cara Lewis and CAA was more than enough to verify his hype.
Because of how important touring has become, we compiled a list letting you know how much your favorite rapper gets paid for a show. All these numbers are ballpark estimates gathered by scouring the Internet for details on tours posted by industry sites or speaking with agencies and third party dealers and asking for their artists’ quotes. However, there are interesting quirks that can twist some of these figures. For example, you get paid exponentially more for a “one-off” (a random show at a festival, college, or private party) than you would for stops on an extended tour.
For anyone interested in which rappers are really getting the most money and who is dominating in the most important area in the music industry today, this list has all you need. Study up.
Although this is the lowest number for any T.D.E. artist, this is nothing to be ashamed of with Rashad coming off of just one mixtape. We’re sure this number is gonna go up as he releases more material.
$10K might not be much compared to others on this list, but Vic has been putting out strong material, so this figure is sure to climb once his album drops.
While Trinidad’s stock was by no means rising before getting dropped by Def Jam, that bad PR certainly isn’t going to help.
Anyone who’s ever been to one of his live shows has to feel like this is a bargain for how hard dude goes at every performance.
Bronsoliño has continued to grown his profile in 2014, and his raucous live shows have played a major factor. Bronson is known for walking in the crowd and giving away free stuff, so $20K seems like a bargain.
Few rappers have put as much time into crafting a cult fan base as Curren$y, and it obviously paid off as he can get this much for a show without much mainstream notoriety.
Okay, Danny Brown might not get the most per show of all the rappers on this list, but who else got felatio on stage?
Asher never ended up appealing to the larger audience he seemed destined to win over with his 2009 hit “I Love College.” But he did grow a valuable cult fan base that will come out and see him whenever he tours smaller venues.
Rakim is, and always will be, one of the greatest and most revered MCs of all time. However, the majority of people of a concert-going age aren’t necessarily dying to see the next Rakim tour.
While Soul’s star is still hopefully on the rise, we’re curious as to whether the mixed response to These Days… will end up changing this figure.
You mad? Despite how corny you may think Bow Wow is, he still rakes in a solid amount per show even though he hasn’t released anything substantial in years. That being said, it’d take more than $25,000 for us to call him Shad Moss.
Earl keeps it more low-key than Tyler, The Creator does, but we are a little surprised by the difference between the two Odd Future stars’ quotes. Doris was successful, but apparently not successful enough to launch him onto the same level as his fellow Golf Wanger.
Chance the Rapper
Sure, $35K a show might not blow your mind right from the jump, but when you consider the fact that young Chancellor has played an insane amount of shows this year and that he is free from a pesky 360 deal taking some of his precious show money, it’s easy to see he truly raked it in in 2014.
From Gs to Gents to $35K a show is a damn impressive come-up. Rap Game Horatio Alger.
De La Soul
De La Soul’s shows bring out an older of crowd of hip-hop fans, and they get paid well for entertaining the elders.
Busta has a huge catalog of hits and is known for a voracious live show, so this feels a little on the low side.
Now that Game doesn’t have a record deal—which means he doesn’t have a 360 deal eating away at his show money—he should be collecting as many of these show checks as possible.
Big Boi’s two excellent solo albums have more than proved that he’s a star by himself. Still, his lofty quote doesn’t hold a candle to what OutKast is getting as a duo hitting this summer’s festival circuit.
Who’da thunk that the kid who made “Crank Dat” would not only be relevant seven years later but also be making this much per show? We made it.
Tyler, The Creator
Tyler, The Creator is yet another artist whose unique live show played such a big role in creating a persona early in his career. He’s known for his energetic performances, and he’s well compensated for them.
Well, now you know how many bandz it takes to make Juicy J dance.
We love Nellyville and Country Grammar as much as the next person, but this number makes us feel like some people are overpaying for nostalgia.
Has Lupe cooled off considerably since his incredible first two albums? Yes. But, does he still make more than 99.9 percent of people on this planet for one night of work? Yes, yes, he does.
This is a pretty good quote for a guy who many thought was down for the count after his first album flopped.
This might seem a bit high to most hip-hop fans, but this is what pop crossover hits will do for you.
Although he’s currently opening for Wiz and it’s been a minute since he toured alone, Jeezy’s catalog and star power are so strong that big money is still out there for him.
Despite Hall of Fame disappointing both critically and commercially, Sean can still charge as much as he did when he was riding high off of Finally Famous. That’s what big time features will do for you.
Common has shown no signs of slowing with age as his last two albums have both been impressive. As long as he continues to want to perform, he will continue to get great money.
Mac’s shows have long been known to bring an odd mix of fans who love his earlier, more pop-inclined music and those who like his more recent indie cuts. But no matter how those groups mesh, it equals cash for him.
Between these healthy nostalgia-fueled checks and his acting money, Luda seems to be sitting pretty.
If you had told Tity Boi in 2011 that he would be making this much per performance in 2014, he would have smacked you square in the face.
Gambino’s now-side gig as an actor gave him more exposure than your average rapper and therefore upped his price. Add to that the success of Because the Internet and how much songs like “3005” have crossed over and this number is likely to go up.
Even though it’s been somewhat of a slow year for Rocky in terms of his musical output, he still gets paid as well as he did coming off of Long.Live.A$AP. It’s now impossible to deny the fact that he’s got real star power.
If rich is gagnsta and if Rick Ross can get $100,000 for a show, then Ross must be gangsta, right?
Ah, the enigmatic Ms. Hill. Despite all the crazy shit that’s happened since the seminal Miseducation, Lauryn still gets paid.
Simply put, Snoop is a legend and will likely be forever paid like one.
This number might seem high, but it takes a pretty penny to pull the Roots away from their incredible gig as The Tonight Show house band.
Cudi has got to be getting good money if he’s performing in a custom spacesuit.
Wiz has steadily ascended into rap stardom in the last five or so years, and right now is a pivotal time when it comes to his future. Blacc Hollywood is out this week, and he’s in the middle of a massive nationwide tour, both of which obviously have a huge impact on how much he can charge in the future.
While Cole’s “Dollar and a Dream” tour dates won’t net him this type of scratch, he more than makes up for it with dates at festivals and colleges.
Yeah, this is a lot of money, but it feels low for one of the premier names in hip-hop, and it will only go up as Kendrick’s star continues to rise.
For someone whose peak was as high as 50 Cent’s, something in the neighborhood of $150,000 seems a little low. However, with the renewed relevancy thanks to the mini-G-Unit resurgence, we’re sure this number will creep back up.
Nicki is a superstar, and she’s only going to get bigger. While she already commands a hefty fee no one will be surprised as her price continues to rise.
Lil Wayne has been getting this much money basically since Tha Carter III launched him into international stardom. While haters incorrectly declared that Wayne fell off, with “Believe Me” and “Grindin’” already making Tha Carter V look spectacular, Weezy F. will continue to get his money.
While Drake hasn’t played any major festivals recently (where rappers can make the most money) besides his own OVO since going from the boy to the man, Drizzy still commands a hefty price for his services and stands to make insane bank off of the “Drake vs. Lil Wayne” tour.
Macklemore sees your saltiness about appropriation and Grammy’s and raises you a shit ton of money. Macklemore gets paid as much as the rest of rap’s superstars, which means, like it or not, he is one of rap’s biggest superstars.
Kanye’s live shows catch a lot of flack from basics who don’t like his rants. Well, the “Yeezus Tour,” rants and all, was still the second-best-selling tour of 2013 and trailed only Paul McCartney. What’s a black beatle anyways?
With some reports saying that Jay and Bey have personally been raking in as much as $4 million a night combined during their “On the Run” tour, this number is basically just a stand in for “a ton of fucking money.”