In certain sectors of the social world, there are often conversations among the wealthy about old money and new money. Old money is money that has been passed down for at least several generations through the family line, while new money has been newly acquired within the last two generations. While the world of professional athletics has created its share of first generation millionaires, the music industry has not fared badly at all. One person who was able to capitalize on the business side of the music industry was a young man by the name of Percy Miller, better known as Master P of No Limit Records.
There is no doubt that Master P came from humble beginnings, being reared in the Calliope projects in a rough part of New Orleans. The Calliope projects was infamous for its high occurrence of violence and crime. Fortunately, Miller understood that while you can’t always control your environment, you don’t have to become a product of that environment. At a young age, Percy was inspired by a former Calliope resident who came back to the projects driving a brand new Mercedes Benz, a car he bought with his income as an insurance salesman. This was all that Miller needed to know that he could become a successful businessman the legitimate way.
Miller began his entrepreneurial journey at the ripe age of 16 — selling the latest model cell phones to his classmates at school. He had to take this route because no one would hire him. Miller also had another set of skills that he believed could serve him well — basketball. He was good enough to earn an athletic scholarship at the University of Houston. He would eventually transfer to Merritt Junior College, where he would study business as a major. Through a twist of fate, Miller would receive a $10,000 check as a settlement for a malpractice claim associated with the death of his grandfather — allowing him to fund the next leg of his entrepreneurial odyssey.
By the time he was 21-years-old, Miller had founded No Limit Records & Tapes record store where he sold the latest West coast hip hop music to the locals. The store was such a success that Miller was inspired to start recording his own music, which he also was successful at selling. His own independent music was selling at an astronomical rate, so he decided to take his legitimate music hustle back home to New Orleans, where he would transition the record store business into what became known as the No Limit Soldiers, a label that would ultimately lead to a multi-million dollar distribution deal with Universal Records.
Because he approached this music endeavor with a business mind, he was able to parlay the popularity of his music and the surge in the popularity of southern rap into a highly lucrative deal, in which he received a then unheard of $375,000 advance on every album the label produced. Additionally, the label also received a yet again unheard of 75 percent of the wholesale price on every song on each album. This is amazing because the standard payout during this time ranged between 25-50 percent. While most artist had not yet learned the importance of ownership, Master P made sure that he owned every master he produced — meaning that he will earn royalties on that music for the rest of his life — passing on hat wealth to his progeny. From the mid to the late 1990s Master P and his No Limit Soldiers dominated the rap industry.
Fortunately for Master P, he had a keen sense when it came to business and investing, because when he decided to focus on his basketball career again, a dream unfulfilled, the label and its record sales began to dwindle. As other labels in the South, such as Cash Money begin their ascension, artist began to abandon ship at No Limit, searching for greener pastures. One should be noted is that Master P did not attempt to stop them. In fact, he did his best to teach them the inside of the business so that they would fare well as they branched out on their own.
Despite the folding of No Limit Records, the thrust it created for Percy Miller has allowed him to amass a net worth in excess of $350 million — with some notable financial publications having him with net worth as high as $375 million. It has been more than a decade since any notable music was released by the label; however, Miller is ranked as the 5th wealthiest rapper in the world. He was able to amass this wealth because he was much more than a rapper, he is a businessman first. He is also a record producer, an actor, a filmmaker, investor, and most of all, a philanthropist.
Unfortunately, Miller receives very little exposure when it comes to his philanthropic endeavors, but he has been very generous with his wealth, investing in inner city community programs and redevelopment. He has also invested in the success of his progeny — teaching the value of their own personal brand, as well as passing along his inexorable drive to be successful.
If there is one attribute that set Master P apart from the vast majority of his contemporaries, it was his ability and willingness to anticipate and plan for the future, while most were satisfied with living in the moment. He has tried his hands in a number of business endeavors, including launching a travel agency and becoming a sports agent. Currently he has his hands in gas stations, real estate investing, energy drinks and even a phone sex business.
Most recently, Master P relaunched the No Limit brand with a new label called No Limit Forever Records, which he placed his two sons, Romeo and Valentino in the positions of President and Vice President respectively. In 2015, he also starred, along with his family in a reality show entitled Master P’s Family Empire. Master P has proven, without question, that something good can come out of the worst conditions and thrive.