St.Vincent’s DeJamz

“Spinning fresh beats since 1581”


(Graphic by Max Kleiner / The DePaulia)

Following the murder of hip-hop artist Nipsey Hussle, scores of people applauded him for his philanthropic efforts in his hometown. Now, California Rep. Karen Bass aims to cement Hussle’s efforts in the Congressional record. Philanthropy has a storied history amongst the ranks of hip-hop as generations of artists worked their way to the top without forgetting where they were and who was with them when they were at the bottom. This week, we highlight four hip-hop artists who have dedicated their success to empowering others.

1. “Grinding All My Life”- Nipsey Hussle

“Grinding All My Life”- Nipsey Hussle

After a somewhat tumultuous journey to stardom from the Crenshaw neighborhood in Los Angeles, Hussle found success through his uniquely marketed series of mixtapes. With that success, he used his money and his entrepreneurial ventures to reinvest in the real estate and economy in his hometown. After opening up his store, he actively encouraged further development in the community. Additionally, Hussle had a meeting with LAPD officials to discuss ending gang violence among kids scheduled for the day after his murder.


  2. “Right Now (Na Na Na)” – Akon

“Right Now (Na Na Na)” – Akon

Born Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Bongo Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam but better known simply by his stage name Akon, the R&B artist has devoted immense effort to developing underprivileged areas in Africa. Through his foundation Akon Lighting Africa, he provides African villages with renewable energy through solar power. Also, his Konfidence Foundation promotes health and education for kids in Senegal, West Africa and the United States.


3. “Good Ass Intro” – Chance the Rapper feat. BJ The Chicago Kid, Lili K., Kiara Lanier

“Good Ass Intro” – Chance the Rapper feat. BJ The Chicago Kid, Lili K., Kiara Lanier

Chancelor Bennett is nowhere near shy when it comes to demonstrating his love for the city of Chicago, as well as often delivering much needed criticism. He has consistently donated to Chicago Public Schools and champions the investment in education at all levels. He also started a 2015 social media campaign titled #SaveChicago to end gun-violence that resulted in a 42-hour period with no gun-related deaths in the city.


4. “Run This Town”- Jay Z feat. Rihanna, Kanye West

“Run This Town”- Jay Z feat. Rihanna, Kanye West

It’s no secret that Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce have been intimately involved in various causes that they care about. But how far back Jay’s philanthropy goes is often overlooked. In 2003, Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter, and his mother Gloria Carter started the Shawn Carter Foundation to help underprivileged youth afford a college education. Carter also secretly set up a trust fund for the children of Sean Bell, an unarmed black man that was killed by NYPD officers in 2006 on the night before his wedding.