We’re now nearing a decade from the point at which Kendrick Lamar captured our hearts with a classic album called Section. 80. Even though those of us that heard that album back in 2011 could have told you that he was destined for big things, none of us, perhaps not even Kendrick himself, could have truly predicted the lane that he has carved out for himself. He’s on arguably the best album streak that Hip-Hop has ever seen, and while doing it, he’s accumulated an estimated net worth of approximately $75 million. How did he do it?
It’s been no secret that touring is the biggest source of income for any of your favorite musical acts, which is one of the main reasons why the COVID-19 pandemic has been so damaging to the music industry. Kendrick toured after the aforementioned Section. 80 independent release, but his first world tour came after his major-label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city.
From late 2012 to late 2013, the period in which he released that album and toured it, Forbes has stated that Lamar earned about $9 million. They estimate that just under half of that came from touring. It’s nothing to turn your nose up at, but it’s pocket change compared to what he would earn in the coming years.
After that tour was done, Kendrick joined Kanye West for select dates on The Yeezus Tour. There’s no word on what he was paid for his short set on those occasions, but box office numbers do tell us that Ye grossed close to $3 million for some of the shows that the pair did together. It’s fair to guess that Lamar earned 6 figures for his performances each night, but perhaps more importantly, it showed millions of people in America that he was worth coming out to see on the road, helping him in the long run.
Kendrick only performed To Pimp A Butterfly at a handful of shows after its release and they were aptly named the Kunta Groove Sessions Tour. No numbers are available for this, but Lamar’s star power was rising and he was able to perform at a bunch of festivals. Forbes estimates that in 2015, he earned a handsome $12 million in total.
With his next album DAMN., Lamar really set himself apart from the pack. Of course, that album was once again heralded a classic and ended up winning a Pulitzer, a prize that hadn’t been (and since then, hasn’t been) awarded to a Hip-Hop artist. That’s only a reflection of its quality, as was the tour and its commercial success. The DAMN. Tour was 4 legs and across its astonishing 52 shows, Kendrick grossed a whopping $62.7 million. When he rapped “top billing, that’s a million a show” on untitled 02, he wasn’t lying.
Last but not least, on the TDE Championship Tour in 2018, he was naturally the headlining act and the massive numbers continued. For the period in which he toured with his labelmates, Forbes estimate Lamar’s 2018 earnings at $58 million. However, that includes a new publishing deal and some lucrative endorsements.
Over the span of his career, Kendrick boasts some of the better endorsements any entertainer can ever hope to have. He credits Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, and Diddy as inspirations of his for the business side of things, and he’s certainly following suit. The rapper has appeared in an American Express commercial, has his own trainers with Reebok, and arguably the biggest of them all, has released multiple shoes and other merchandise with Nike.
We don’t have any specific information on those deals, but they’re undoubtedly worth multiple millions for Lamar. His Nike deal alone has seen him release multiple versions of their classic Cortez shoe along with his own design of their React Element 55s. Everything he has ever put out with the brand has sold out very, very quickly, and to get most of it now, you’ll have to pay a resell fee.
In May of 2014, news surfaced online that Kendrick Lamar had purchased a house. It was more modest than people expected, costing around $524k. People attributed it to his humility, but when asked about it, Kendrick revealed people were wrong about the details. “It’s not my spot. I really like to buy property” he said. “Whether it’s apartments, buildings, houses… I like to invest my money in different things.” Of course, no word on his exact investment portfolio, but we can only imagine how much money Lamar has earned from the market in the 7 years that he’s been invested in it.