Rap, like any genre, has its stars, and when they reach a certain level of fame, their price goes up. With each era comes a new set of luminaries. However, some go far beyond others. Last year, during an appearance on The Full Send Podcast, 1990s icon Snoop Dogg let the world know that for a 16-bar verse, he charges $250,000, but this is far from the maximum.
How much it costs to get an emcee to feature on your track is a significant indicator of how relevant and successful they are. The bigger the fame, the higher the price and some artists charge an unfathomable fee for a guest verse of 16-bars.
An emcee’s price can fluctuate based on how relevant they are. During the 2000s, artists such as Eminem and Cam’Ron may have charged an enormous fee. However, due to their wane in relevancy, it is safe to assume they no longer set the same price.
Currently, there are a set of artists who are in the top tier, and unless you have a lot of money to spare, it is almost impossible for anybody to get them on a track. Furthermore, some don’t even charge by the bar but by the word. Below, you can see the five most expensive verses in rap history.
The five most expensive verses in rap history:
5. J Cole
Fayetteville emcee J Cole has been a prominent figure within hip-hop for over a decade and has been the poster boy for lyricism since his emergence. The Forest Hills Drive 2014 artist has consistently released quality music over the years and as such, has acquired a strong and sturdy fanbase.
With a global fanbase and the ability to turn heads with his exceptional wordplay, Cole has remained current and continues to draw attention, which could provide much-needed exposure to an artist looking for fame. However, Cole charges by the word, not by the bar, and requests $2,000 per word.
4. Travis Scott
Aside from Drake, Travis Scott is arguably the most powerful and popular artist of the new school. Other popular MCs, such as Nicki Minaj and J Cole have been around since the mid-2000s. However, Scott is fairly new and has achieved a lot in a short space of time.
His ASTROWORLD was a chart-topping album, and ‘SICKO MODE’ is a Diamond-certified single with over 1 Billion streams. Furthermore, he even has the power to host his own festival, drawing hundreds of thousands. This power means he is expensive to access, and depending on the length of the verse, a feature from Travis Scott could set an emcee back between $250,000 to $500,000.
3. Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj is the most successful female rapper in the world, and despite the rise of Cardi B, for most, she remains the most iconic emcee of her time. Minaj’s brand and fanbase are global and extremely loyal. Furthermore, under the wing of Lil Wayne as part of Young Money, she has street credibility and is not viewed as a gimmick. As such, a feature from the Queens musician could take an artist, especially a female, very far.
Minaj is said to charge a standard fee of $500,000 to already established artists, but the price can be even higher for those lesser-known artists who she knows will benefit the most from her presence on their track. Minaj’s remixes featuring underground female MCs have helped many new girls achieve fame, and this is her power.
Jay-Z is undeniably the most recognisable rapper of all time and is by far the wealthiest. Despite the fact he is not as current as an artist such as Travis Scott, he has timeless tracks, and his songs from the 2000s still get played in clubs today. As such, he can command an extremely high price for a verse as a feature from the Brooklyn icon could give your music longevity.
If Jay-Z features on a track, the assumption is Jay-Z respects you, and the validation by Hov can lead an artist down the road to massive success. This can be seen with artists such as Kanye West and Rihanna, who, with the backing of the rapper, have since become billionaires.
With such power, during the 2010s, it is said that, on average, Jay-Z charged between $650,000 – $900,000 for a verse. However, he has since revealed that he now does verses for free but only for established artists he already likes and respects.
Drake is one of the most successful rappers of all time. With five Grammy awards, 13 BET awards and a whopping 34 Billboard awards, earlier this year became the only artist ever to sell over 200 million albums on Spotify. His popularity has only grown since he first emerged in 2010 with his debut Thank Me Later. He has several multi-platinum albums and Diamond-certified singles.
The Toronto rapper and singer (real name Aubrey Graham) has a fanbase that is completely global, and he is able to draw attention to any artist he works with. As such, when you collaborate with Drake, you get the attention of the world. That said, it is unsurprising that his fee for a feature is extraordinary.
Drake supposedly charges between $750,000 to $900,000 for a feature. However, there are rumours that the Canadian charges over one million dollars for a feature, which would be understandable considering he is the most-streamed artist on Spotify.