Here’s How 50 Cent Lost $157 Million to Bad Business Deals

Many in the media say 50 Cent’s net worth went from half a billion to nothing overnight. While that’s almost certainly an exaggeration, the rap star did lose a lot of money very fast. How much? Try $157 million. Thanks to a deep MoneyNation analysis, we know the 50 Cent net worth total should be sitting pretty at $143 million for 2016. Yet instead it’s about $16 million. If that seems confusing, don’t worry. We’ve got the details below that clear up the 50 Cent money story.

The bottom line is, 50 has earned an estimated total of $291 million. All things being equal, taxes and expenses should have taken a healthy chunk of that, leaving the rap star with $143 million. But 50 caught the Diddy/Jay Z/Dr. Dre bug for business. Lured by the promise of turning a hundred million into a billion, he laid down fat cash on some big time business deals like VitaminWater and his own clothing line. While some of those deals paid off, they didn’t pay off quite as big as many media reports would indicate. More to the point, some of those deals almost certainly lost enough that after taxes and expenses, 50 isn’t left with much at all.

50 Cent Net Worth: The Full Analysis

50 Cent Net WorthFor our full, no-holds barred estimate of 50 Cent’s total wealth, see our article here. In a nutshell, 50 has earned $291 million from all sources since the start of his career. That’s $40 million from music sales and YouTube, $74 million from concert tours, $6 million from acting, $52 million from endorsements and $15 million from sales of merchandise. It also includes an impressive $103 million from business deals. Where do those figures come from? The music sales money comes from approximately 18.5 million albums sold and 21 million singles, plus the ad revenue from more than two billion YouTube views. The acting comes from a deep dive into the numbers behind the rapper’s 25 credits in movies and TV shows. The endorsement estimate comes from a similar analysis of 50’s deals with companies like Reebok, BMW, Suzuki, Right Guard, the NFL and Frigo Revolution Wear.

50 Cent Earnings
From music sales and YouTube$43,110,103
From concerts$74,587,500
From acting$6,420,000
From endorsements$52,000,000
From merchandise$14,917,500
From business deals$103,000,000
Total 50 Cent Earnings$294,035,103

Adjusting the numbers above for taxes, expenses and ordinary investments puts 50 Cents 2016 net worth at $143 million, but that’s only half the story. That’s because we know from the star’s recent bankruptcy trial that his real net worth is only $16 million. So where did that $127 million go?

Related: Jay Z Net Worth

A $157 Million Loss

50 Cent Net Worth ConcertsThough the math above makes it look like 50 Cent lost or spent $127 million somehow, he really lost considerably more. That’s because of taxes. When you make a lot of money, you pay a lot of taxes. In 50’s case it would have been $135 million if he hadn’t lost anything at all, plus another $44 million in expenses. But with those losses factored in, 50 would have paid no taxes at all in the years his income was actually negative. That means he had to lose a lot more to wind up down at $16 million. In order to make the end result come out right, we had to figure in losses of $157 million. We know 50 made a pile from the sale of his VitaminWater business. Initial reports put the star’s earnings from the deal at half a billion, but that’s almost certainly too high. It’s true that 50 Cent had a 10% stake in the business, and that Coca Cola bought it for $4.1 billion in 2007. 10% of $4.1 billion is $410 million. That seems reasonable, but the truth is that foreign investors had chipped in billions and had to be paid back before the money could be divvied up. The real payout for 50 Cent was more like $85 million from the sale.

What all this means is that 2007 is a good starting point for figuring in 50’s losses. In order to get the rapper’s net worth down to $16 million by 2016, we had to figure on $20 million to $30 million of his money vanishing each year. The table below shows the breakdown of losses, taxes and net worth from 2009 through 2016.

50 Cent Losses by Year
YearLossesNet Worth
Total Losses$157,000,000

The exact amounts of the losses and the years are an estimate. What’s not an estimate is that the singer had to lose roughly that amount of money to get his net worth down to $16 million by 2016, considering his massive earnings in those years.

Related: Diddy Net Worth

Where Did 50 Cent’s Money Go?

50 Cent Net Worth TimeThat 50 Cent lost $157 million somehow is a bit of a shocker. How he lost it is another question. It’s not easy to fritter away $157 million. People say that 50’s spending is extravagant. We’ve already factored that in. Our estimates have him shelling out from $1 million to $15 million per year, with total lifetime spending of $44 million. That’s before the $157 million loss. So where did the other money go? If he spent it on expensive mansions as some claim he did, he could simply sell them again and get his money back. The same goes for expensive cars. One idea is that he could have spent money on his entourage, buying cars and houses for his friends and family. But $20 to $30 million a year is a lot to spend on an entourage. A clue to where 50’s money really went comes from the NFL. According to a recent study, 16% of NFL players declare bankruptcy. Why? Because they try to grow their money by investing it in businesses like restaurants and car dealerships. When those businesses almost inevitably fail, their money evaporates.

There’s some evidence that this is where 50 Cent’s money went. The rapper has been quoted in the media as saying he caught the “Diddy bug” for business. Except, instead of succeeding to the tune of nearly a billion in net worth like Diddy did, 50 Cent most likely made some bad decisions. Though 50 Cent’s VitaminWater business was notoriously successful, not all 50’s business deals have gone that way. 50 Cent businesses like SMS Audio and SK Energy might be bigger money sinks than money makers for the star. His initial movie production company G-Unit has been shut down. His second movie company, Cheetah Vision, has turned out more than a dozen films, but none of them have been financially successful. 50 Cent’s G-Unit clothing line is another business that closed down, shutting its doors in 2009.

As any business owner knows, it can be very easy to lose millions in business. A clothing company that takes an initial investment of $50 million and then fails can suck down a lot of net worth. That’s especially true when the investor pumps more of his own cash into it trying to bring it back to life. 50 isn’t talking about whether that’s how he lost his millions. That said, it’s a safe bet that bad business investments are exactly where his $157 million went.