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The Rap game is full of contradictions. Everyone is a hustler, a dealer, a cool kid. Sometimes we buy into the image that celebrities put forward so much so that we forget that, before the fame, our favorite rappers were just regular people trying to get by. Here’s a look at what 7 rappers did before they blew up.

Artist: Big Sean

Previous Occupation: Christian Rapper

Long before signing to Kanye West‘s G.O.O.D. Music label, Big Sean’s music was totally devoted to God. How he went from promoting abstinence and a drug-free lifestyle to rapping about hoes and weed we’re not quite sure, but that’s life.

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Artist: Rick Ross

Previous Occupation: Corrections Officer

Look into his eyes, do you see a C.O.? Yes? Well, that’s because before he was a big-time drug-dealing kingpin and rapper, Rick Ross was a correctional officer at the South Floria Reception Center. There’s nothing wrong with upholding the law, so we’re not sure why Ross continues to deny this, but it is what it is.

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Artist: Prodigy

Previous Occupation: Ballerina

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Artist: Jay-Z

Previous Occupation: Sidekick

Before becoming the king of cool, Beyonce‘s husband, and a multi-million dollar CEO,  Jay-Z was just Jaz-O’s dorky sidekick.

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Artist: The Game

Previous Occupation: Gameshow Contestant

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