As hip hop celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, the next generation is shaping the genre's future. Many hip hop artists have seen their children grow up and follow in their footsteps by sliding into the music industry. Today, we will look at seven rappers with famous parents. Many have taken direct inspiration from their parents, while others have carved out their own lane and are building names for themselves. While trying to make it as a musician with a famous parent can be challenging, some have found their own identity or have embraced their family lineage. We have even seen celebrities work with their children on songs, resulting in full-circle bonding moments. Take a look at the list of these familial relationships below.
The Smiths are one of pop culture's most famous families. Son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jaden has followed in his father's footsteps of not only becoming a hip hop artist but also being a jack of all trades in entertainment. Jaden Smith started acting at a young age but soon set his goals towards becoming a rapper. He notably featured on Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never" from the soundtrack of The Karate Kid, which Smith starred in. He then began releasing independent mixtapes, eventually signing with Roc Nation while building his MSFTSrep label and clothing line.
Jaden has released three studio albums, including SYRE and ERYS, which mirror each other conceptually. He has worked with notable artists, including Childish Gambino, Logic, A$AP Rocky, and Kid Cudi. Jaden has also toured with the likes of Tyler, The Creator, J. Cole, Post Malone, and Justin Bieber. Additionally, he has toured and collaborated with his sister, Willow Smith, who has also been a multifaceted singer, songwriter, and actress from a young age. Further, Jaden once brought his father on stage during a 2018 performance.
As one of the biggest hip hop stars to emerge in recent memory, Coi Leray has carved out a lane for herself in the scene. Her father is Benzino, the media executive, rapper, and producer known for co-owning The Source magazine and beefing with Eminem. Leray started to make waves in hip hop in 2021, the same year she landed a spot on the annual XXL Freshman Class. Since then, she released her debut album, Trendsetter, in 2022, and more recently, 2023's Coi. The Hackensack, New Jersey rapper has released many viral hit songs, including this year's No. 1 rap hit, "Players," which is nominated for multiple BET Hip Hop Awards. She has certainly built herself a successful career like Benzino, who recently expressed feelings of being a proud dad after watching her perform.
King Combs has taken after his father, Diddy, in his rap career. He notably emulates the "Shiny Suit Era" of the late 1990s and early 2000s of which his father was a trailblazer. Additionally, King Combs is continuing to carry on Diddy's legacy as he has sampled and reworked beats from the Bad Boy Records catalog. Most notably, his song "Can't Stop Won't Stop" utilizes the same sample as Lil Kim's "Crush on You." Combs recently performed a medley of greatest hits at this year's MTV Video Music Awards alongside his father, who received the annual Global Icon Award. So far in his career, Combs has worked with Chris Brown, Kodak Black on the aforementioned "Can't Stop Won't Stop," and Teyana Taylor on the Mase-sampling "How You Want It?"
While Big Pun unfortunately passed away at the young age of 28, his son has taken after him, honoring his legacy. Named after his father, Chris Rivers has remained consistent in the underground scene. His music consists of sharp lyricism and complex rhyme schemes, much like that of Big Pun. He mirrors his father's style to the point where he was originally known as Baby Pun. A respected lyricist, Chris Rivers has worked with the likes of Termanology, R.A. The Rugged Man, Vinnie Paz, Ghostface Killah, and Joell Ortiz. Additionally, he started his career in a rap group with one of Benzino's other children, Ray Ray.
Son of Rev-Run, Diggy Simmons began his entertainment career as a rapper. He started releasing mixtapes at an early age, landing him a spot on the 2011 XXL Freshman Class alongside Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, Meek Mill, Big K.R.I.T., and more. Diggy also appeared on the reality show Run's House with his famous family. Simmons's major label debut album, 2012's Unexpected Arrival, included the hit single "Do It Like You" featuring Jeremih. He was also a member of the briefly active All City Chess Club, a hip hop supergroup consisting of J. Cole, Pharrell, Lupe Fiasco, Wale, Blu, B.o.B, and many others. Diggy has since focused on acting, as he currently stars in the TV series, Grown-ish. His last album, Lighten Up, was released in 2018.
Both of Lil Tracy's famous parents have been members of well-known music groups. His father is Ishmael Butler of Digable Planets and Shabazz Palaces, and his mother is Cheryl "Coko" Gamble from SWV. It appears that music runs in the family, as Lil Tracy has been establishing his own rap career for a while. Known for his emo rap sound, he gained traction in the "Soundcloud rap" era. The New Jersey native got his start when he collaborated with Lil Peep before his unfortunate passing in 2017.
Joe Budden's eldest son has taken after his former love of rapping. Releasing music under his government name like his father, Trey Budden's knack for lyricism follows the footsteps of the rapper-turned-podcaster. In 2018, he released a song expressing frustrations toward his father while rapping over the instrumental for his track, "Love For You." Joe knew about the diss prior to its release and reacted to the song live on his podcast, making for an entertaining lyrical breakdown. Trey and his father appear to have maintained a close relationship, based on when he called into the Joe Budden Podcast and reacted to posts on social media. He continues to release music independently.
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