In 2005, Houston rapper Chamillionaire (Hakeem Seriki) owned the music charts with his one-two assault of “Turn It Up” and “Ridin’ (Dirty)”. Both of these Hip Hop singles hit the Billboard Top 10 and helped launch the career of fellow rappers, Lil’ Flip, Paul Wall, and enhanced the reputation of producer Scott Storch. BET named Chamillionaire their Best New Artist of the Year. He won a Grammy Award and his debut album went multi-platinum. Just how big was his crossover hit, “Ridin’”? Weird Al Yankovic turned Chamillionaire’s hit into his parody smash, “White and Nerdy”. Chamillionaire followed up his debut album, “The Sound Of Revenge” with a couple of mixtapes and a second album “Ultimate Victory” that never matched the success of his first release and poof! he disappeared from the spotlight.
Whatever happened to Chamillionaire? Have no fear that he blew all of his money and is living on the streets, Chamillionaire is actually doing quite well for himself with a new career path. He continued releasing independent mixtapes up until 2014. Mike’s Daily Jukebox featured a single “When Ya On”, then he went in a completely brand new direction. A California based technology group called Upfront Ventures chose Chamillionaire as their new “entrepreneur in residence” after recognizing his business savvy and innovative mindset. The corporation is essentially like the TV show, Shark Tank, where investors and tech start-up companies work together to find the “next big thing”. A look at their website shows their portfolio includes companies like BillMeLater, Invoca, Ring (a video doorbell service), TrueCar, Ubeam, and Ulta Beauty Products among countless others.
In 2003, Chamillionaire, best known for his 2005 single “Ridin’ (Dirty),” invested in a Houston-based car dealership called FlyRydes. He’s also launched a modelling firm, led a Global Innovation Tournament at Stanford — part of the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar Series — and he owns a tour bus company.
He’s also attended a bunch of tech conferences as an audience member and as a speaker. In 2009, he met Suster, and invested in Maker Studios, an online video talent agency now owned by Disney.
Chamillionaire offers advice and capital for new projects and is the first rapper to take on this prestigious role as an “start-up angel investor” for the corporation.