Rappers show off their riches quite frequently, which clearly didn’t start with the social media age.
Even before someone was able to upload a photo holding a wad of cash or post a pic standing in front of an exotic vehicle, rappers and other celebs still found a way to show off their toys.
Lil Yachty’s posed for IG when he bought a new Maybach in December. He let his followers know that they could get one too. He also used the moment to address his many detractors.
“My motherf—— Maybach just came in town,” he said. “I waited like two months for that white on white cocaine. This motherf—— looks like the living room in the motherf—–. So look, this my sh–. I paid cash. Fifth car I got, so if I did it, you can do it too. These n—– hatin.’ I’m doing this shit. All you n—– hatin,’ man, it’s working for me.”
For a while, M posted photos of cars, money and other things and said he did it to show others they can follow in his footsteps. The Philly rapper also explained why he poses with a money phone [where people hold stacks of cash to their ear and hold it like a phone] and take a photo. In short, he said it’s to celebrate having money for the very first time.
“You might go look on Instagram and see Meek Mill got six foreigns,” he said a little after JAY-Z criticized people taking money phone photos. “Meek Mill got the credit too. We ain’t put that part on Instagram … I like it because it’s a good picture for me. I’m talking to Benjamins. I remember when Benjamins never answered my calls. I could pick up and talk to him whenever I want to now.”
While rappers like Yachty said they show off riches to inspire and Meek said it’s to celebrate new money, celebs like Offset seem to be in competition with other famous folks.
As it’s been widely reported, Cardi B and Offset recently got engaged, as did Paris Hilton. Both proudly showed their huge rings to fans and eventually, someone noticed they looked very similar.
It was reported the two rings differ in price a great deal since Hilton’s has 20 carats and Cardi’s 11.
“[It’s the] same thing,’” said Offset, when asked about the two rings. It’s also been reported that Hilton’s cost $1.5 million more than Cardi’s.
Of course, there’s a large number of rappers and celebrities who post the expensive looking gifts they receive, which begs the question: Why do celebs love to flaunt their riches?
Like when Mariah Carey revealed that her then-husband Nick Cannon bought her a $400,000 Rolls Royce Phantom, or when 50 cent purchased Ciara a Lamborghini for a little over $350,000. He also purchased a Rolls Royce for his friend Floyd Mayweather years back as well.
Plus, in 2012 Dr. Dre gifted Rick Ross with a $100,000 Hublot watch that was widely reported and photos of it were everywhere.
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Whether rappers and other celebs post pricey purchases on social media to motivate, to celebrate newfound wealth or to be competitive will obviously vary with each person and post. Plus, some might find it hard to gather if one truly gets inspired when they see a celebrity show something off, or if that purchase makes them feel bad or envious.
Either way, there’s proof that some celebrities actually motivate other famous people with what they’ve acquired. In fact, last year Boosie Badazz said he was inspired by Rick Ross’ Georgia mansion when he drove by it. Ross bought the 44,234 square foot home from retired boxer Evander Holyfield in 2014.
“This n—- living,” said Boosie in a video. “[This my motivation].”
E-40 had an opinion on rappers showing off their riches and said if they’re not providing at least some answers on how to obtain it, they should stop flossing and quit rapping altogether.
“Bragging,” he told a reporter when asked what bothered him the most about rappers. “Which can be 10 percent motivation, but the 90 percent is, like, a lot of people ain’t living like that. At least show them how to get out of it. Teach them some business skills and some ways to flip the money. But, nah, they don’t want to do that … If you ain’t doing nothing for the children, you a b—- … I don’t give a f–k about your Bentleys, your Phantoms, your luxurious cars. If you ain’t doing nothing for the kids, you a b—tch boy.”
To get a better perspective on why some rappers and celebs like to flaunt their riches so much, we reached out to Langston Wilkins, who holds a PhD in Folklore and Ethnomusicology and a master’s degree in African-American and African Diaspora Studies.
“I think showing off has always been a part of hip-hop culture for many years,” he told ABS. “The Black working class has always been the core of the hip hop community. This is a community that has had, due to outside forces, limited economic stability. As such, markers of wealth became signs of uplift. They showed that someone has used whatever means necessary to overcome structural economic oppression. So, In that sense, markers of wealth are meant to inspire and offer hope.”
“At the same time, competition is at the root of hip hop culture,” he added. “So naturally, markers of wealth can function as tools of competition on record and lately through social media.”