When it comes to the world of hip-hop, a lot of rappers end up having the same career length as that of a professional football player. Not all of them get to stick around into their 50s and 60s as they can lose that edge once the money and success come, or just do not really gel with what younger audiences are listening to.
There are plenty of great rappers who have retired before turning 40, with some even doing so before turning 30 years old. Out of the many rappers that have called it a career in their younger years, which ones stand out as the best? Here are our picks for the five best rappers who retired early, leaving their fans wishful for a big return somewhere down the road.
Shawn Carter, widely known by his stage name Jay-Z, has had an extremely successful career. He became the co-founder of the record label Roc-A-Fella Records and released his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, in 1996.
Some of his greatest hits throughout his illustrious career include Big Pimpin’, Can I Get A…, Hard Knock Life(Ghetto Anthem), and 99 Problems. He announced his retirement following his 2003 album “The Black Album“, after the constant flow of album releases. Though he says making music may still be in his future.
Robert Hall, who goes by his stage name Logic, has had a huge impact through his socially conscious and wildly talented rap career. Logic got his start in 2010 after he released his debut mixtape Young, Broke, & Infamous.
Three years and another music venture later, he signed on with Def Jam Recordings. His following albums Under Pressure, The Incredible True Story, and Everybody gained him worldwide notoriety and topped the charts. After his 2020 album No Pressure, he decided to retire to focus on his personal life and start a family. Logic has since released two albums with Def Jam, before his departure.
Mason Betha, also known by his stage name Ma$e, began his rap career in 1996 when he befriended Notorious B.I.G’s road manager Cudda Love. After attending a convention and performing in front of Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs he acquired a deal with Bad Boy Records.
He was featured on songs by Notorious B.I.G and Puff Daddy, like Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems, Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down, and Been Around the World. Ma$e later released his debut album Harlem World, reaching the top of the charts and hitting platinum status. In 1999 Ma$e called it quits and retired from rap to become a minister and pursue his faith.
Scott Mescudi, widely known by his stage name Kid Cudi, started rapping while he was growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, and decided to move to New York City to further his career. Kid Cudi made it big when his songs started to take off on the social media site MySpace, and in 2009 he released his debut album titled “Man on the Moon: The End of Day”.
Some of Cudi’s hit songs included “Day ‘n’ Nite”, “Pursuit of Happiness” and “Erase Me”, though he faded from the mainstream spotlight during the early 2010s. He returned in a big way in 2020 by releasing songs with Travis Scott and Eminem but shortly thereafter announced his retirement at just 38 years old. “I want to be done with it,” he said. “I think, closing the chapter on Kid Cudi…I’ve made a lot of music, man.”
Run DMC is arguably one of the most popular and highly successful rap groups of our time. They got their start when members Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Jason Mizell founded the group and signed with Profile Records in 1983.
That same year they released their single “It’s Like That” which did well commercially. The group’s fame grew after releasing a few albums in the following years. Things really took off when they released their best-selling and most renowned album “Raising Hell”. Tragically, in 2002 Mizell was murdered at a recording studio and the group announced they would be retiring.