Nick Cannon recalls going broke after Will Smith gave him a big check for $200,000.
The entertainer recently sat down with radio host Angela Yee where he recalled one of the dumb decisions he made earlier in his career despite receiving money advice from Will Smith.
Nick Cannon was discovered by Will Smith when he was just 17 years old and his first cheque for $200,000 opened possibilities he never thought possible. What appeared to be a large windfall quickly became a valuable lesson on being responsible with money as he went from being up in life to being broke thanks to bad spending habits.
“Will found me at like 17 and by the time I was 18 the cheque came in and at the time, I remember Will had a red Range Rover. And I was like ‘I want a black one.’”
Cannon added that Will Smith cautioned him to be wise and save the money instead of blowing it on the car, but he felt that he wanted to fit in with his friends.
“He’s the biggest movie star in the world and this is ’98, end of ’98 and [Will] was like ‘don’t buy it’ and I was like, ‘yo. you just gave me $200,000!’ Like, and at the time I think Range Rovers is like 60 bands back then. So I was like ‘I’m getting this!’ And you know, I be hanging around Kenan and Kel, Ray J and all of them – and like, Brandy had the Lexus Land Cruiser, and, you know, Kenan had the 4-Runner, Kel had the Expedition. I was like, ‘I’m getting the Range Rover,’ the most expensive one just to stunt and Will was like ‘don’t do it.’”
According to Nick Cannon, it didn’t take long for the car, which cost nearly his entire cheque, to be destroyed, and he had to move back in with his mom at her rented condo.
“Not even a year [later]- I totalled that car and lost it and was living back at my mom’s house … my mom’s was living in that condo back in San Diego a year later, thinking where I thought I had made it, and was rich, and was gonna be set for life.”
He added that Will Smith had told him a similar story where he made a large amount of money from the song “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” featuring DJ Jazzy Jeff.
That song was sampled to create the intro for the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and is also a song of historical import, being the first to be awarded a Grammy for Best Rap Performance in 1989.
“He literally would tell me that story. He was like, ‘I made a million dollars, won a Grammy, and I was broke. You know before this Fresh Prince. Don’t-like, save this money.’ And I was like ‘aight aight, I’m good.’ Like, you just gave me a whole television deal, this the first $200,000, this is gonna keep coming,” Cannon said about his reaction to Will.
However, reality soon hit him after realizing that his funds were depleted after taxes and other expenses like accounts, legal, and management fees.
“That was my first time getting an accountant and my first accountant kinda did me a little shady because I didn’t know no better…I just didn’t know no better. And they was doing what they do and not telling me. I’m, you know, buying Range Rovers at 18 years old, and that’s what I wanted,” he reflected on the early life lesson.
Nick Cannon also dropped gems for the audience, noting that looking back, he should have bought his mother’s condo rather than be short-sighted.
“I rented my mom’s condo. I wish I would’ve bought it. I wish instead of buying that, that Range Rover, I would’ve just bought my mom’s condo.”