Sometimes when we see rappers flex their fancy whips, mansions and fashion steez, we forget that that’s the perks of their hard labor. Years before their musical fortune, they were struggling artists just working to pay the bills like the rest of us. You could’ve ran into some of these hip-hop heavyweights back in the day when they were folding sweaters or serving entrees.
Just to show you how far they’ve come, here’s where these eight rappers were working before they were big. In these cases, we’re glad they quit their day jobs.
1. Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj was actually fired from her job at Bronx Red Lobster for, let’s just say, less than stellar customer service.
2. Kid Cudi
Kid Cudi worked at high-end grocery store Dean and DeLuca, an occupation he had no problem venting about in a 2010 interview.
3. J. Cole
J. Cole once paid the bills by collecting other people’s. He was an over-the-phone bill collector during the recession.
4. Kanye West
Before he was a rap genius and a full-on fashion designer in his own right, Kanye West was a sales assistant with sticky fingers at The Gap, a fact he references on his first album The College Dropout.
Years before he was Grand Hustle’s pride and joy, B.o.B used to be Bobby Ray, a certified “sandwich artist” at Subway.
Tupac studied and taught ballet while in art school. He once played the role of King Mouse in a production of Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker.’
7. Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar was briefly a security guard for a bank.