Longevity in the rap game can be a blessing and a curse. On one hand, there's the potential to gain a fan base that can only grow alongside an artist over time as the music evolves and more money is earned—more than most people make in their lifetime. But on the other hand, there's rap industry politics, hierarchy headaches, public scrutiny and debt. This is why so many of rap's talented MCs decide to bow out at times.
Sometimes, when a rapper like Jay-Z or Lupe Fiasco claims that they are retiring at the height of their careers, it comes as a shock to the fans. But when a rapper hasn't even dropped their debut LP yet, as was the case for contemporaries like Kid Cudi or iLoveMakonnen at one point, the claims are rarely taken seriously.
Business savvy wordsmiths have even used the claim that they're retiring as marketing for their upcoming albums. Master P said he would end his rap career with his 1998 LP, MP Da Last Don, which went on to go four-times platinum in record sales. 50 Cent announced he would hang up his mic forever if his Curtis album was outsold by Kanye West's Graduation. Jay-Z even held a star-studded farewell concert for himself at Madison Square Garden to commemorate his moment.
Whether it was a temporary hiatus, a temporary lapse in judgment or deciding to hang up the mic to move on to other ventures, check out the rappers who've claimed to retire from the art form over the years.