In the mid ’00s, Chamillionaire exploded into the national consciousness with his No. 1 single “Ridin,'” a muscular celebration of eluding the police that was simultaneously gleeful and menacing. The Houston MC had been rapping for years — he sold mixtapes out of his trunk and released a collaborative album with Paul Wall in 2002. But he went from regional force to national star seemingly overnight, “0 to 100 real quick,” as Drake might say.
Now the rapper appears to have executed a similar move in the world of tech entrepreneurship. The venture capitalist Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures announced earlier this week that Chamillionaire will be “moving to LA for a while and working in our offices and developing his ideas” as an “entrepreneur in residence.” Suster wrote online that he first met the rapper “at a tech conference in LA. I saw him on stage at the event talking about how he used social media to engage audiences. This was 2009 and his understanding of audience engagement was far beyond anything I was hearing from most people at that time.”
The two “started hanging out a bit and discussing technology and entrepreneurship.” One thing led to another, and soon they were “making some small co-investments.” In 2010, Suster penned an article titled “What Tech Entrepreneurs Could Learn from Chamillionaire,” and now everyone at Upfront Ventures will be able to benefit from Chamillionaire’s wisdom.
The one sad part of this story: will the rapper have any time to make music? He has only put out a handful of EPS during the ’10s.