10 Great Moments in Hip-Hop Philanthropy

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In a recent sit-down with Time.com, Moshe Levi (pictured), the rapper formerly known as Shyne (most-famously known for a voice reminiscent of Biggie and most-infamously known for his involvement in a 1999 New York nightclub shooting), went into detail about his legal name change; what kind of content to expect on his forthcoming albums, Gangland and Messiah; and what his gripes are with hip-hop. Of his criticisms, Levi said, “Hip-Hop culture is not a philanthropic culture.”

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While it remains to be seen how his music will be distributed and categorized (he’s had deals with Def Jam and Cash Money since his release from the pen), here are 10 examples from 2011 that prove hip-hop is philanthropic — and we’re not even including the most-active hip-hop philanthropists Russell Simmons and Wyclef Jean.

1. KENDRICK LAMAR, XXL’s FRESHMAN CLASS REACH OUT FOR WOMEN

MC Kendrick Lamar donated the proceeds from “Keisha’s Song (Her Pain),” off his debut studio album Section.80, to address the abusive cycle of prostitution. XXL‘s 2011 Freshman Class also contributed to the ending of prostitution by headlining a concert that benefited two organizations, Downtown Women’s Center and Project Rural India Social and Health Improvement (RISHI).  [ocweekly.com]

2. ASHER ROTH’S HUNGER CAMPAIGN

Preparing for his Def Jam debut, Philly-based Asher Roth has decided to give the proceeds of his latest interim project, the Pabst & Jazz Sessions, to the Philadelphia Hunger Coalition. The collection is slated for a Dec. 20 iTunes release. [ballerstatus.com]

3. LIL WAYNE’S CASH MONEY

With so much money made from the Young Money, Cash Money, Universal labels, it makes sense that Lil Wayne would team up with Discover Financial Services to issue a Lil Wayne-endorsed pre-paid debit card. Proceeds from the card sales go toward his One Family Foundation. [americanbanker.com]

4. WIZ KHALIFA SPARKS GREEN CONSCIOUSNESS

One in three people lack access to quality water, so Wiz Khalifa teamed up with Green For All (Yes, isn’t it ironic, or coincidental, or kismet?) on World Water Day to launch a Campus Consciousness Tour and a public education campaign called “Keep It Fresh.” [greenforall.org]

5. MAC MILLER MAKES-A-WISH

Fulfilling a promise that he would donate $50k to the Make-A-Wish Foundation if he got $50k worth of pre-orders for his debut, Blue Slide Park, Mac Miller signed a check to the foundation. The album eventually sold 145,000 copies in its first week and entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1. [theboombox.com]

6. 50 CENT ENLISTS DEEPAK

50 Cent’s Street King movement went from Twitter to the auric field, when he introduced a new commercial featuring Deepak Chopra. Sales from the energy drink go toward his partnership with the United Nation’s Food Programme. [killerhiphop.com]

7. NICKI MINAJ’S BARBIE

Nicki Minaj has partnered with Mattel to make a limited-edition doll modeled after her own Barbie persona (pink hair and all). With an opening bid of $1,000, the proceeds will go to Project Angel Food, which provides food for people living with HIV/AIDS. [billboard.com]

8. B.o.B.’s B-DAY GIFT

B.o.B, named a Forbes‘ 2011 Hip-Hop Top Earner, took a moment from his 23rd birthday celebration to donate $10,000 to Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless. [hiphopwired.com]

9. FABOLOUS’ ROYAL COAT DRIVE

Fabolous helped to meet the goals of New York Cares with a month-long coat drive sponsored by his A Fabolous Way Foundation. The first annual 3 Kings Coats Drive helped to bring in 100,000 coats, which kept about 10,000 more youth warm than the organization was able to outfit last year. [xxl.com]

10. JAY-Z TAPS FINANCIAL FRIENDS

Jay-Z continues to set his sights on big-money tickets. The mogul announced plans to perform two concerts at Carnegie Hall in February to raise money for his Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation and the United Way of New York City. Tickets went on sale Dec. 12, priced at $500 to $2,500. A portion of the tickets, reserved for the public, will be offered at lower prices on Jan. 30. The foundation has provided more than 750 students with at least $1.1 million in scholarship money. [nytimes.com]

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