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20 Rappers And Hip-Hop Executives With A Key To The City

  • dr dre key to the city
    It's been a hell of a week for Dr. Dre. The progenitor of G-Funk sold his stake in Beats Electronics, the company he co-founded with Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine, to Apple for $3.2 billion last week, and his sudden ascension to the richest man in hip-hop—with wealth estimated just shy of a full billion—has come with its share of perks. One of those is reported to be the Key to the City of Compton, his LA hometown and the setting for such classics as "California Love" with Tupac from the mid-1990s.

    But Dre's not the only rapper to receive a key to the city—Mac Miller received the Key to Pittsburgh late last year, while Tyler, The Creator wanted the Key to Boulder, Colorado so much that he staged his own ceremony, giving himself a fake honorary key. Impressively creative as always, Tyler. From Diddy to Pitbull, Baby Jay to Busdriver, here are 19 times when a member of the hip-hop community has received a Key to The City. Keys open doors. —Dan Rys
    dr dre compton key to the city
  • diddy


    City: Chicago

    Date: Oct. 13, 2006

    Reason: The city gave him a key and a set of cufflinks for his efforts to give back to inner-city communities.
    key to the city diddy chicago
  • mac miller day

     Mac Miller

    City: Pittsburgh

    Date: Sept. 20, 2013

    Reason: A graduate of Taylor Allderdice high school, Mac was awarded for his contributions to music and his dedication to his city.
    key to the city mac miller pittsburgh
  • pitbull kodiak alaska


    City: Kodiak, Alaska

    Date: July 30, 2012

    Reason: After a marketing ploy with WalMart that offered a Pitbull performance in any city who won an online contest turned into an Internet campaign to get Pitbull to go to Alaska, the rapper and the city of Kodiak responded in the best way possible: by playing along and making things fun. When he got to the city, Pitbull received a key and posed with fans and traditional Alutiiq dancers.

    pitbull key to the city kodiak alaska
  • juicy j key to memphis

    Three 6 Mafia

    City: Memphis, Tenn.

    Date: April 1, 2006

    Reason: Winning an Oscar at the 2006 Academy Awards for the song "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" from the Hustle & Flow soundtrack.
    key to the city juicy j three 6 mafia memphis
  • david banner key city

    David Banner

    City: Jackson, Miss.

    Date: Feb. 27, 2008

    Reason: Promoting literacy and repping his hometown in Mississippi through his music.
    david banner key to the city jackson mississippi
  • lil kim key miami

    Lil Kim

    City: Miami

    Date: Aug. 9, 2004

    Reason: Difficult to find someone who received a key to a city in Florida while in New York under indictment, but there you have it.
    lil kim key to the city miami
  • 50 cent

    50 Cent

    City: Bridgeport, Conn.

    Date: Oct. 12, 2007

    Reason: His work with kids and the fact that he owns, or at least did then, a mansion in the city, it seems.
    key to the city 50 cent bridgeport
  • baby jay key houston

    Baby Jay

    City: Houston, Texas

    Date: May 16, 2008

    Reason: In a city that has had its share of upright citizens within the hip-hop community—without delving in too deep, Bun B and Trae Tha Truth come immediately to mind—it was 17-year-old rapper Baby Jay who was the first to receive a key to the city of Houston. The teenager was honored for his positive message and straight-A academic performance.
    key to the city baby jay houston
  • bow wow

    Bow Wow

    City: Camden, NJ

    Date: 2002

    Reason: Despite a significant amount of success at a nearly-unprecedented age, it really came down to the then-14-year-old's mainstream appeal. Right? If not, then Camden has more problems than we'd feared.
    bow wow key to the city
  • bun b tux

    Bun B

    City: Houston

    Date: Aug. 30, 2011

    Reason: In addition to being one of hip-hop's kindest people and most respected lyricists, Bun B is also a professor at Rice University and an advocate for his state and his city.
    bun b key to the city houston
  • kevin liles

    Kevin Liles

    City: Baltimore

    Date: Nov. 16, 2005

    Reason: A seasoned executive in the music business and an author to boot, Liles was recognized for pushing hip-hop forward in directions it had never entered before.
    kevin liles key to the city baltimore
  • diddy vegas


    City: Las Vegas

    Date: May 5, 2010

    Reason: Diddy threw an after party following a Floyd Mayweather/Sugar Shane Mosley boxing match, and they handed him a key. Not much more you need to do in Las Vegas, it seems.
    diddy key to the city las vegas
  • ludacris day


    City: Atlanta

    Date: June 7, 2004

    Reason: His work through his own Ludacris Foundation, which provides scholarships and helps inner city youth.
    ludacris key to the city atlanta
  • master p key memphis

    Master P

    City: Memphis, Tenn.

    Date: Aug. 1, 2008

    Reason: Long the philanthropist and businessman, Master P made his name in the New Orleans music scene in the late 1990s, but it was Memphis who honored him in 2008 for his work within the Tennessee community. Percy Miller handed out school supplies to the elementary and middle school students who attended the event as well.
    key to the city master p memphis romeo
  • diddy miami beach


    City: Miami Beach

    Date: Aug. 30, 1999

    Reason: If you ball out with enough money, Miami seems like the place to grab your honorary key.
    key to the city diddy miami beach
  • pitbull key miami


    City: Miami

    Date: Aug. 20, 2009

    Reason: Mr. 305 has long been a vocal advocate for his city, and has stuck up for it and its residents on more than one occasion. In addition to being one of the most successful businessmen in hip-hop, he's also gone to war with Lil Wayne, among others, to protect its reputation.
    pitbull key to the city miami
  • public enemy key city

    Public Enemy

    City: Durham, North Carolina

    Date: June 16, 2013

    Reason: Induction into the Rock 'N Roll Hall Of Fame in 2013 and their FreeAir initiative, dedicated to preserving and promoting local radio stations across the country.
    public enemy key to the city durham
  • rah digga

    Rah Digga

    City: Newark, New Jersey

    Date: April 4, 2000

    Reason: The former protege of Busta Rhymes was honored by her city for her contributions to music, having made quite a name for herself in the industry to that point.
    rah digga key to the city newark
  • busdriver key to avalon


    City: Avalon, Penn.

    Date: July 18, 2008

    Reason: Honestly? It's a decent question. But there were plenty of little leaguers and old people there, so I'm sure it was fun for the whole family.
    busdriver key to the city avalon
  • fetty-wap-featured-1
    Photo Credit: Tom Medvedich

    Fetty Wap

    City: Patterson, N.J.
    Date: Aug. 27, 2015
    Reason: Fetty may still be a young artist—his debut album is less than a month away—but he's already broken Billboard chart records and made it to the cover of the 2015 XXL Freshman issue. But he's also done a lot to give back to his hometown of Paterson and in late August he performed a back to school concert for Paterson high schoolers, after which Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres presented the rising rapper with the key to the city.
    fetty wap key to the city

Previously: Dr. Dre Offered Key To The City Of Compton
27 Hip-Hop Songs About Rappers Making Trillions
63 Hip-Hop Songs About Rappers Making Billions
Dr. Dre Confirms Beats Sale To Apple And Boasts He’s The First Billionaire In Hip-Hop

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