Kendrick Lamar Net Worth $30 Million
Kendrick Lamar has become one of the hottest and most respected names in hip hop. At just 30 years old, he has, along with Kanye West, helped define the lyricism and style of a generation of rappers. Though most estimates last year put his net worth at $18 million, having amassed $78.5 million in earnings over the past five years, his current wealth is realistically much higher. Lamar’s wealth, like his standing, has skyrocketed in recent years. Not yet at the level of the financial giants in the industry, Kendrick is nonetheless making a pretty great living through his music, touring, and endorsements.
Lamar earned $30 million in 2017 alone, making him the 6th highest earner in hip hop behind the three biggest producers and businessmen (Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, and Sean Combs) plus Chance the Rapper and Drake. After earning a reported $12 million in 2015, it is clear this rapper’s bank account is following his popularity to sky high amounts.
Do not expect Lamar to be seen on major spending splurges or with his name on every advertisement any time soon. As he said to Forbes: “all money ain’t good money.” Coming from a difficult upbringing, the Compton-native is focused on building his following through near constant touring, a ton of new music and collaborations, and thoughtful endorsement deals. Expect a lot more from the self-proclaimed “Best Rapper in the World”.
Here’s what you need to know about Kendrick Lamar’s net worth and how he makes his money:
1. He Makes More Than $250,000 Per Guest Verse
Kendrick Lamar is so good, people say he has changed the rapping world. His lyrically oriented style that came into to the mainstream in his first major studio album good Kid, m.A.A.d. City made him the new representative of West Coast rap and made him an in-demand voice. People value his rapping skills so much, in fact, they are willing to pay $250,000 to $400,000 per verse, according to Complex. That’s right, Kendrick gets paid more than a quarter of a million dollars for a single verse for other artists. Given that he is credited on over 30 other tracks, this is a lucrative side gig for the rapper.
Though his fourth album DAMN., lost out on the Grammy Award for Album of the Year to Bruno Mars, Lamar received a pretty good consolation prize: the Pulitzer Prize for Music. He is the first rapper to be awarded the prize since the Pulitzers expanded to music in 1943. The award also made him the first non classical or jazz artist to win and is considered a seminal moment for rap as a genre.
“We are very proud of this selection. It means that the jury and the board judging system worked as it’s supposed to — the best work was awarded a Pulitzer Prize,” said Dana Canedy, the administrator of the prizes, to the New York Times.
Sales of DAMN rose 236 percent after the Pulitzer was announced.
Even if one still feels badly for Kendrick’s loss of the Grammy Award, note that in just four studio albums, Kendrick Lamar has already garnered 29 Grammy nominations and 12 wins, including Best Rap Performance, Best Music Video, Best Rap Song, and Best Rap Album.
2. He Rose From Poverty to the Billboard Top 100
Born Kendrick Lamar Duckworth in Compton, California in 1987, Kendrick’s childhood was influenced by the drugs, crime, and poverty that surrounded him. His father was a member of the Gangster Disciples and his family was affiliated with the Bloods street gang. His mother gave him the name Kendrick in honor of the songwriter for The Temptations, Eddie Kendricks. Kendrick recalls seeing Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg filming “California Love” in his neighbor and considers it a seminal moment in his life.
Lamar made his first mixtape at the age of 16 under the pseudonym K-Dot. The record gained some local recognition and got him signed to Top Dawg Entertainment. Kendrick steadily raised his profile opening for The Game and appeared on a track with Lil’ Wayne, who also convinced him to drop K-Dot and go by just Kendrick Lamar. His first studio album Section.80 made it to the Billboard 200, peaking at 113. This is when Kendrick’s star started to be noticed.
Though his next release, Overly Dedicated, only got to 72 on the Billboard R&B / Hip Hop Chart, his next four albums all hit number one. good kid, M.A.A.D. City was a massive breakout, debuting number two on the overall Billboard 200 chart, spending 145 weeks on the R&B / Hip Hop Chart. The album earned Lamar the honor of the highest first-week hip hop album sales of 2012 from a male artist and the best-selling debut from a male artist. Critics also loved the album, which was certified Platinum, awarding Kendrick four Grammy nominations and numerous album of the year honors.
3. He Made $100,000 In One Day From To Pimp a Butterfly
Kendrick followed his major debut album with three more albums, all of which hit the top of the sales charts. He dropped his third album, To Pimp a Butterfly, a week early and without notice, and yet that did not stop it from breaking records for the most streamed album on its release–it had 9.6 million streams on Spotify in its first day. It was played so much, the album reportedly made the rapper around $100,000 within 24 hours of release. The album was certified Platinum and was partially responsible for RIAA to change its entire criteria to include online plays through streaming services.
Though his contemporary Drake has often edged Lamar for top streaming / selling hip-hop artist, Lamar’s most recent album Damn. was the number one album of the year for the all-genre Billboard 200 and all sales. It topped the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for 10 non-consecutive weeks and accounted for five top 10 hits. Maybe most impressively, it went double Platinum in just three months after debuting at number one. It has been on the top selling charts for 56 consecutive weeks at this point, spent the first 50 at 17th or higher, and is credited with 2.75 album consumption units in 2017 alone. In all, Lamar has sold over 9.5 million album units.
Kendrick has also reportedly been shopping for a publishing deal in range of $20 to $40 million. Billboard says that the would-be author has already received offers for up to $28 million for his music catalog.
3. He Curated the Black Panther Soundtrack and Makes Millions for Endorsing Shoes
Lamar’s talent is not limited to just rapping. He was tapped to curate the soundtrack for the blockbuster film Black Panther. Originally, he intended to create just a couple songs, but after seeing the movie he asked to take artistic control. Utilizing his own rapping along with fellow talent at Top Dawg Entertainment, Lamar’s soundtrack Black Panther: The Album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. The album also set a record for most online streams ever for soundtrack with 138.9 million on-demand audio streams in the first week.
Lamar has also lent his name to causes he cares about. While he is not big on endorsements, famously eschewing any liquor brands, he does enjoy shoes. From 2014 to early 2017, Lamar had a deal with Reebok to assist with the design of some of their classic shoe designs. The deal was worth a reported $5 million. The collaboration was based on a message of reconciliation and unity, an homage to his efforts to bring calm to his hometown community of Compton. In 2017, he announced a new partnership with Nike to design versions of their famous Cortez shoe. There is no word on how much it is worth, but we can assume, with his growing popularity and decision to leave Reebok, it is a significant boost to his bank account.
4. He Made $1 Million Per Stop on His DAMN. Tour
Kendrick has been touring since before he was even really famous. Beginning with other up and coming West Coast rappers, Kendrick gained notoriety opening for The Game in 2010 and 2011. Now he plays huge arenas and sports stadiums.
As his fame has grown, so too has his revenue from tour events. So much so that following the release of Damn., in 2017, it was reported that Lamar was earning nearly $1 million per stop on his 36-venue The Damn Tour. The tour was the 25th highest grossing series of the year, bringing in $41.4 million and selling over 450,000 tickets.
Lamar recently announced The Championship Tour along with SZA, Schoolboy Q, and other artists within the Top Dawg Entertainment label. Expect the 30-stop event to bring in major dollars for the rapper.
5. He Gives Most of His Money Back to His Community In Compton
Unlike a lot of his contemporaries, or at least what you would expect from previous rappers at the top of the game, Kendrick does not flash his cash. He rarely drinks and does not smoke. In fact, Kendrick is known to handle his money very carefully, choosing first to reinvest it in his community of Compton. For much of his youth his family was on welfare and lived in Section 8 housing, so Lamar is resolute to raise both his family and others out of these conditions.
That said, he is not above a house or two. In 2014, he purchased a $523,000 four-bedroom house in Eastvale, California. As of 2018, his tastes have become slightly more refined as he was reported to have purchased a 5,400 square foot, six-bedroom mansion in Calabasas for $2.65 million.
Lamar also spends his money on charity. So much so he was named California State Senate’s 35th Generational Icon. The rapper also donated $50,000 to his high school’s music department. He has also donated his time, giving performances and donating proceeds to charities such as Habitat for Humanity and the Red Cross.