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The Time Will Smith’s Advised Nick Cannon Against Buying a $60,000 Range Rover–and He Regrettably Didn’t Listen

An episode of Angela Yee’s “Money Pie” podcast, Nick Cannon stressed he understands the significance of personal finance and its impact on generational wealth was highlighted. During the interview, he shared a personal anecdote about a financial misstep he experienced.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 24: Nick Cannon attends The Los Angeles Mission Legacy of Vision Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

In the interview, first posted in June 2022, he admitted on Yee’s show that he made a regrettable financial decision during the early stages of his career.

Young and Money Uninformed

“You know what is funny is me and my mom didn’t really start having conversations about money until I started making money,” Cannon, who recalled a time in the industry when he was just 17 and on Nickelodeon when he was a staff writer for the Nickelodeon series, “All That.” “It was a hard time. I [was] paying the rent, she lost her job, I was paying the rent. I’m still in high school, you know, at 17, and then, you know, by 18, I started making a bag, [doing] stand up.”

Cannon had dabbled in comedy, acting, and music, making a living while he and his mother were making a breakthrough in their hometown of San Diego before entering Hollywood.

“I literally was making money out of the trunk of our car, like learning from the Master P and the E-40s,” he said.

“I got the deal with Will Smith. and that was a couple hundred thousand dollars. I got my mama a condo out of that, and then I remember telling my mom we was dead broke before that happened,” he said of when Smith gave him his first major music and TV deal. Smith’s production company, Overbrook Inc., reportedly signed a television development deal with Cannon in 2020. The deal aimed to develop scripted and unscripted programming for various platforms, including network television and streaming services.

“Will gave it to me, and I thought it was $200,000, obviously, quickly, it was $40,000.”

As Cannon recounted the story, which he has consistently shared throughout his career, as Atlanta Black Star previously reported, Smith came across a teenage Cannon and recognized a resemblance in his potential to Smith’s own. Consequently, once Cannon turned 18, Smith provided financial support to the young man.

Idolizing Smith’s access to luxury, such as his ability to purchase a Range Rover, Cannon was cautioned by Smith at some point between 1998 not to squander his money. However, as a young man, Cannon disregarded this advice and suffered the consequences.

To Cannon, the $200,000 investment felt like more than enough to afford a Range Rover priced at $60,000.

Surrounded by peers such as Ray J, Brandi, Kenan, and Kel, who were all enjoying affluent lifestyles, Cannon felt the pressure to fit in. However, shortly after making his ill-advised purchase, he totaled the car and was unable to recover from the loss, ultimately leading him to move back in with his mother, the same condo he gifted her.

What the impressionable star did not take into consideration when accepting his TV deal with Smith were the taxes and the cost of management proving to be daunting for an up-and-comer.

The $200,000 deal Cannon received from Smith, during a time when both men starred in “Men in Black II,” with Cannon in a cameo role, was part of Smith’s production company, Overbrook Entertainment. Overbrook Entertainment was established in 1998 and specializes in producing music, films, and television shows.

According to Cannon on Vlad TV, part of the real reason he went broke and an excuse for his reckless spending was he believed his pilot sitcom, titled “Loose Cannon,” would star him as a goofy kid in military school, akin to “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

The pilot series had a six-episode commitment from Warner Bros. and was scheduled to air after “The Jamie Foxx Show.”

The problem he faced was that “Loose Cannon” never got picked up as promised — a story that Cannon saved for another day.

Cannon also thanked Smith for guiding him through “hip-hop school,” where he had a music deal through Interscope and performed songs on stage with hip-hop acts such as Biz Markie, DJ Jazzy Jeff, MC Hammer, and Slick Rick.

Of course, Cannon eventually managed to recover, notably starring in his own leading movie roles and charting on Billboard. However, Cannon never forgot how he worked as a mechanic and sold pretzels to make ends meet.

Ironically sharing the same fate, Smith, who served as Cannon’s mentor and had himself been a multifaceted teenage star, experienced a period of financial difficulty following his breakthrough with “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”

Cannon stated to Yee that Smith’s warning stemmed from his own experience of winning a Grammy and earning $1 million, only to find himself broke before his breakthrough role on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” propelled, and perhaps saved, his career.

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