Rappers have diversified their portfolios in a number of ways by exploring different types of investment plans, venture capitalist models, and/or taking their stab at entrepreneurism and starting a business from the ground up. Many will tell you a sure-fire way to engage a project is to see a need first.
That’s what Zoey Dollaz believes.
After an unprecedented number of entertainers were violently murdered over the last few years and his close brush with death, the Freebandz recording artist says he’s started a bulletproof car service.
He announced the transportation business during an interview with the On The Radar Radio show, saying, “I created my bulletproof car service, the first one ever, because, like, my peers, my rap friends, we in danger.”
While the statement may sound like hyperbole, violence and hip-hop are often tragically paired. Sadly, the violence that permeates the culture is punctuated by fatalities.
Dating back to 1985, when Scott La Rock from the Bronx’s Boogie Down Productions, rap musicians, making a blip on the radar, have been gunned down. Most famously, rappers Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G., during a time in rap history called the East Coast-West Coast beef, were killed by gun violence only six months apart.
Over the last five years, several artists right at the brink of their success have been victims of homicide. A select list of rappers that were murdered during that time includes XXXTentacion (2018), Jimmy Wopo (2018), Kevin Fret (2019), Nipsey Hussle (2019), Pop Smoke (2020), King Von (2020), Einár (2021) Young Dolph (2021), Snootie Wild (2022), Archie Eversole (2022), Sidhu Moose Wala (2022), Trouble (2022) and JayDaYoungan (2022).
Zoey built on how a couple of these artists (and more unnamed) were murdered as sitting ducks in their vehicles, saying, “They wait till we get on the highway and try to spray us.”
“Football players that come from the hood, they gotta go back to the hood and see their people. We see the stories of them getting harmed and stuff, so I’m like, ‘You know what? Let me create an Uber with bulletproof vehicles.’ And I did that,” the “Blow a Check” rapper noted, stating it’s not just artists who are victims.
The host asked the Miami native if he thought about the car service in 2020 when he was a victim of a horrible shooting.
“Actually, I had my bulletproof car when I got shot,” he recalled. “I was just in my mother’s car. I had just got my mom a Benz and I’m like, ‘Let me flex in my mama’s sh*t real quick.’ Man, I end up gettin’ hit up in there.”
“But I really focus on a lot of business. Music is my love and I love it, it created a way for my family to be able to be away from the ’hood, and my friends, I get to travel the world with them, but it’s a vessel and it’s a door for me and it’s just a talent that God gave me, but business is my thing.”
The Haitian-American has an estimated net worth that ranges between $1 million and $5 million, pulling mostly from his music career (publishing, touring, performance fees, etc.).
Zoey is not the first artist to announce a transportation company this summer. Brooklyn emcee and husband to Remy Ma, Papoose launched his car service in July. Unlike Zoey, the rapper-turned-businessman’s focus is not on safety but on providing a luxury service.
“I have a transportation company, Honorable Transportation,” he shared with AllHipHop.com. “We got all luxury vehicles, sprinters, SUVs. Any artist who’s in town, if you’re in the Northeast area and you travel, reach out to me. I’ll make sure you’re very well taken care of.”
Both rappers are on to something. The car service industry is on an incline, especially with the recent rise in gas prices. In fact, IBIS World reported, the “Limousine and Town Car Services industry is set to rebound over the next five years.”
There is money to be made providing high-profile clients both security and luxury.