The ‘Nepo Babies’ of Rap: Jaden Smith, Coi Leray, King Combs, and More

Does nepotism really matter? Does it always amount to more pros than cons? Here, we take a look at rappers who have parents that are rappers.

Updated nepotism baby 2023 lead image
Complex Original
Updated nepotism baby 2023 lead image

For as long as humans have been engaged in doing anything, the debate about nepotism’s perceived pros and cons has raged on.

Some consider it a non-issue, arguing that one’s familial connections don’t always equate to advancement in one’s chosen medium, while others take a hard stance against anything even remotely resembling nepotistic goings-on. When it comes to rap’s nepo babies, as is the case for the group across spaces, the answer isn’t always immediately clear. 

Last month, the debate was kicked into maximum overdrive with the arrival of Vulture’s multi-part coverage of so-called “nepo babies.” Most notably, the publication rolled out what it described as “an all but definitive guide to the Hollywood nepo-verse.”

Also, I got the byline on this brain-meltingly exhaustive taxonomy of Hollywood nepo babies, which is "ludicrous" as Fran Leibowitz might say, since it was a team effort from @gazelleemami @jenniferzhann @truptirami and more.

— Nate Jones (@kn8) December 19, 2022

Naturally, lots of different people had lots of different things to say about this, ranging from fervent hilarity to swift defense. O’Shea Jackson Jr. spoke at length about the topic in a series of tweets, notably shouting out his father Ice Cube and urging those in similar situations to “not let anyone get it in your head that you should feel bad” about it.

Lily Allen also hopped in the mix, urging those engaged in the topic to consider instead directing their concerns toward the “nepo babies” who are currently “working for legal firms,” as well as “the ones working for banks” and “the ones working in politics.” (Lily’s parents are actor Keith Allen and producer Alison Owen).

Amid the ongoing discourse, Complex has assembled a rundown of some of rap’s most notable examples of nepotism. Worth firmly pointing out here, of course, is that nepotism exists in virtually every field within every possible industry, creative or not. And in music alone, one could also find numerous examples squarely in the rock category (Bob Dylan and Jakob Dylan, for example) and country (the Hank Williams lineage), not to mention pop (Miley Cyrus) and beyond.

While the definition of nepotism is broader than this, this Complex list is also focusing on those involved in the larger rap industry whose children followed in their footsteps in one way or another, even if they later recalibrated their approach by putting their talents elsewhere.

This means that other types of familial connections such as Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar (who are cousins) are not included. At any rate, here—for good measure—is how Oxford Languages defines “nepotism” in its broadest sense:

“the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives, friends, or associates, especially by giving them jobs.”

We’ve also stuck to those whose parents were (at least at some point) known as artists in their own right. So Waka Flocka Flame, for example, isn’t included here despite his mother Debra Antney being a longstanding industry powerhouse and Mizay Entertainment CEO who was integral to the rise of multiple artists, Gucci Mane among them.

Below, see a selection of rap-focused instances of nepotism (in no particular order), then feel free to carry on debating. As for what the future may or may not hold, some fans are already speculating about the potential creative path of ASAP Rocky and Rihanna’s first child together. Subsequent iterations of this variety of discourse, meanwhile, could also wind up including Blue Ivy and other young pop culture heirs.

Jaden Smith

Jaden is seen on the red carpet

Romeo Miller

Romeo is seen at a red carpet event

King Combs

King Combs is pictured performing

O’Shea Jackson Jr.

OShea Jackson Jr is pictured


Quincy Brown is pictured at a CFDA event

Coi Leray

Coi Leray is seen performing live

Diggy Simmons

Diggy Simmons is seen on the red carpet

Landon Barker

Landon Barker is seen on the red carpet

Cory Gunz

Cory Gunz is seen at a party

The Cory Gunz story boasts multiple collaborative endeavors with Lil Wayne, including a guest spot on his classic Tha Carter IV single “6 Foot 7 Foot” and a reality series focused on his Young Money courting. His father, Peter Gunz, was one half of the duo behind the 1997 hit “Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)” with Lord Tariq.

View this video on YouTube


Lil Tracy

Lil Tracy is seen performing live

Scoop DeVille

Scoop DeVille is pictured at an event

Coast Contra

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In June, Coast Contra—a four-person group featuring Taj and Ras Austin, the twin sons of Ras Kass—made their late-night television debut with a performance on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show. Their talents were made apparent months earlier with a series of YouTube-shared freestyles, all leading up to the unveiling of the group’s inaugural album Apt. 505.

Lil Eazy-E

Lil Eazy E is seen on red carpet

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