Joey Badass (Jo-Vaugh Virginie Scott) is a well-known and respected rapper with millions of fans and many albums. While he may not have the kind of pull that rappers like Jay-Z possess, he has a pretty large fan base and is respected for his unique lyrical approach and his collective Pro Era.
How much money has this helped him earn? That’s an interesting topic, one that should intrigue fans of rap and those beyond. Put simply, Joey Badass has a unique career that could inspire budding rappers. In this article, we’ll learn how Joey Badass net worth estimates got so high and what makes him such a big star.
|Primary Income Sources
|Social Media Following
|2.6 million followers and 101 posts on Instagram and 1.7M followers on TikTok
|Freestyling YouTube debut in 2010 and the release of the album “2000” in 2022
|3,000-square-foot, four-bedroom home, multiple luxury vehicles
Early Life and Career
Joey Badass was born Jo-Vaugh Virgnie Scott on January 20, 1995. Scott’s family immigrated to the United States from the Caribbean before he was born. His mother’s family came from St. Lucia, while his father’s family originated in Jamaica. As the first of his family born in America, there was definitely some pressure on the young boy to succeed, especially when his parents divorced when he was five.
This early divorce struck the family hard. His mother was forced to work two jobs to support the family, which was very hard to do in New York in the 2000s. In fact, he would come home from school to find eviction notices on the door or even changed locks that made him and his mother essentially homeless. Scott understood that he would have to work hard not only to thrive but also to pay back his mother for her difficulties.
Early Music Work
The fascinating thing about this difficult upbringing was that it didn’t hold Scott back from thriving. Rather than turning to alcohol or drugs as an outlet, he started rapping and improving his skills, beginning his musical career at the age of 11. At 15, he got a microphone for Christmas and began recording and mixing beats and music to create simple mix tapes that showed real talent.
It was in 2010 that he uploaded himself freestyling to YouTube and caught the attention of some big names in the industry. It got reposted to World Star Hip Hop, a prominent American music site. Eventually, Jonny Shipes, the president of Cinematic Music Group, saw the video and liked what he saw. He contacted Scott and asked to be his manager, and the two started building a career.
While the mixtape “1999” would change Scott’s life forever, he was just a normal teenager. He attended Edward R. Murrow High School, a performance arts program that helps young students develop their skills. Initially, he studied acting (which would later impact his side career) and then transitioned to music and rapping. Scott was already writing poetry and songs and developing them.
It was here that Badass eventually formed Progressive Era or Pro Era with Capital Steez, Powers Pleasent, and later CJ Fly. Initially rapping under the name JayOhVee, he picked Joey Badass simply because it sounded cool to him as a teenager. Even now, Pro Era remains one of his main musical groups and continually releases interesting and high-quality work that helps them stand out.
All this attention swept the young Scott up into a world of musical excitement. After signing with his first label, he started working on music not only for his solo career but his work with Pro Era. In February of 2012, Pro Era released their debut mixtape “The Secc$ Tap.e, which utilized a 90’s style production and immediately got high praise. Its sequel two years later was even more heavily praised.
However, it was Scott’s mix tape debut, “1999,” that catapulted him to stardom. Immediately getting rave reviews for its surprisingly layered production (handled by luminaries like Lewis Parker, MF DOOM, and J Dilla, among others), it used an old-school sample-based style and featured Scott’s mature and fascinating lyrical flow that made him sound like a rapper twice his age.
Long Wait for His True Debut
By this point, Joey Badass’ net worth still wasn’t that big. Yes, the younger rapper was making pretty big waves after his debut mixtape, but that was released primarily for free. Fans were building up a pretty large buzz, and his YouTube channel and other outlets were starting to get even more attention. However, it took three years for his debut album to be released. Many fans were concerned.
Was Badass going to be a one-hit wonder who fizzled out after a promising debut? Amid this buzz, he eventually announced the title of the album, “B4.Da.$$,” on Twitter. In an interview with Oyster Colored Velvet in 2014, he addressed fan concerns and said he was hoping to polish it to a perfect state and ensure that it was released with the proper amount of production perfection. How did it do?
Upon its release in January 2015 (on his birthday, no less), the album sold 55,000 copies in its first week in the United States, a large amount for records in an age of streaming. It debuted at number five on the Billboard 200, and its single “Devastated” got as high as 25. Reviews were quite strong.
For example, Michael Madden of Consequence of Sound praised Scott for expanding his lyrical approach to focus on the challenges of black life in America. Other reviewers claimed he had a “clear-eyed vision” that came across clearly on the album, while others noted the album was pretty similar to his previous releases with little innovation or forward thinking.
Since his debut album, Scott has released an album every two or three years. Prior to that 2015 debut, he had released his second mixtape, “Summer Knights,” to similar acclaim as “1999.” “All-Amerikkkan Badass,” released in 2017, featured a similar combination of simultaneously retro and forward-thinking production moves, with Scott’s increasing lyricism getting praise from many reviewers.
Scott’s most recent release is “2000,” a 2022 sequel to his “1999” mixtape. Throughout the album, he touches heavily on various subjects, including his continuing chronicling of the difficulties of black America. The ambitious production and lyrical scope received a lot of praise, with many appreciating his interest in making a point, though reviewers were a little more mixed than previous releases.
Social Media Presence
Known as a very charismatic performer with a large fanbase, Joey Badass has 2.6 million followers and 101 posts on Instagram, five followers on Facebook (he clearly rarely uses it), and 1.7 million followers on TikTok. He regularly posts on both Instagram and TikTok and uses these platforms to connect with fans and build a better personal connection. He’s part of a social media generation.
For example, rap superstar Cardi B primarily built her reputation by releasing albums and mixtapes online using social media, tapping into an audience base that craved high-quality hip-hop and rap. Scott has similarly used social media intelligently, regularly talking with his audience and building up a buzz around his release. That’s the power of smart personal marketing and brand management.
How Did Joey Badass Make His Money?
Before we discuss more about Joey Badass’ net worth, let’s take a look at how he mostly made his money. As you might imagine, it comes primarily from album sales and touring, though he has other outlets as well. Like most young musicians these days, he is intelligent enough to diversify his portfolio and add even more to his worth through various ventures. It keeps him busy but helps bring in money.
Each of Joey Badass’ releases sells respectable numbers in an era where streaming is the primary source of income for most musicians. Most sell about 50,000 or so in the first week and continue to put up good numbers after that initial period. Like most musicians, he makes most of his money via streaming, with songs like “Devastated” and “Infinity (888) getting 40 and 20 million total streams.
Like most musicians, he primarily makes good money touring. It's here that the artists get most of their income because their record label often skims so much off the top of their releases. While Badass definitely makes more money than most on his record releaseses and streaming numbers, his lengthy and often exciting tours help bring in a strong amount of money to his net worth, though the exact amount is not public knowledge.
Remember earlier when we stated that Scott had started his early high school career studying acting? Well, he’s also had many roles over the years in multiple television shows and films. For example, he appeared on “Mr. Roboto” in 2019, had a spot on “Boomerang” in 2020, and most recently appeared in “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” as an interviewee. The exact money he’s made this way is unclear.
Scott is a better actor than many might expect, given his grounding and experience in the field before getting into music. Nobody is going to likely mistake him for a top-tier performer, but his few roles have been promising. Whether he wants to pull a Will Smithi and focus primarily on acting over music remains to be seen. So far, his acting seems primarily like a fun creative outlet that he uses to get his name out and to connect more with his ravenous fanbase.
Scott has also received multiple endorsements and sponsorships throughout his career, particularly with Adidas, Puma, and Calvin Klein. The latter endorsement was a particularly big deal because it likely brought millions of dollars into his pockets. He served as a 2016 model for Klein’s jeans, and though the exact numbers aren’t certain, he likely made some pretty solid money as a result.
It's often hard to estimate just how much money these sponsorships bring into a musician's career. His contract with most of these firms wasn't long-term, meaning that it was likely a one-time payout. However, the sales of any of the sneakers he's helped create with Adidas or Puma likely help improve his net worth in many ways. In fact, he has even more sponsorships and endorsements we'll discuss later.
Hip-hop is often rife with collaborations, with some being better than others. Badass himself typically works with multiple producers on each album he produces and collaborates with many other rappers and producers outside his solo career. For example, he and his tour DJ, Statik Selektah, often collaborate on many projects. Each new collaboration brings in a fresh source of income.
Joey Badass’s Net Worth
Joey Badass’s net worth is estimated to be somewhere between $6-8 million or so in 2023. Exact numbers on its growth aren’t readily available, but he has built a steady income source that has helped him stay financially stable. It’s important to note that Badass is more of an underground rap legend and not necessarily a mainstream name, which is why he isn’t worth even more.
However, each new album release contributes to his net worth, as steady and strong album sales bring in more cash, help fuel his tours, provide more songs for streaming platforms, and even open him up to more sponsorships. Beyond Adidas, Puma, and Calvin Klein, he has also worked with American Eagle Outfitters, Billionaire Boys Club, and even Crooks and Castles.
Much of his net worth is tied up into his $1.2 million home, as well as things like Rolex clocks, various timepieces (estimated as worth about $300,000), as well as various luxury cars. While Scott’s intensive jewelry collection may seem unnecessary, gold and jewelry are important status symbols in hip-hop culture, which focuses heavily on financial success as a way of evaluating an artist’s impact.