How Many Rappers Wear Bulletproof Vests?

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Rappers and artists have been known to wear bulletproof vests when it comes to performing. This is to help ensure the celebrity’s safety while on stage in front of thousands of people. Having extra coverage with the bulletproof vests allows them to put on a show with no worries.

rapper with bulletproof vest

The majority of rappers do not wear bulletproof vests for their concerts. Only four rappers are reported to have worn a bulletproof vest on stage. However, it is not overly common. 

Bulletproof vests have one main effect being: safety. However, there are other benefits to wearing a vest. Read on to learn which rappers wear vests and for what reasons, why it can be necessary to wear one, who else aside from rappers wear one, some misleading facts about them, and the best ones on the market.

What Rappers Wear Bulletproof Vests?

Wearing a bulletproof vest has gone through several trends and eras. Sometimes rappers were known to wear them as more of a fashion statement rather than a safety armor. Some rappers even had them with them on stage but never chose to wear them. 

Only a select few have been reported wearing a vest, including:

  • 50 Cent
  • Eminem
  • A$AP Rocky 
  • Drake

50 Cent Started the Trend After He Was Shot

After 50 Cent was shot during a concert nine times in 2000, he opted to wear a bulletproof vest every show after that to ensure his safety while on stage. He and his group, G Unit, all decided to wear vests on stage as well as to get their cars bulletproofed. This gave them more security along with starting a new fad of other rappers wearing them on stage to feel more protected. Due to his shooting, he made it acceptable to wear a vest overtop of your clothing at concerts and in public.

Eminem Felt the Need to Wear One

As one of the most known rappers who escalated to the top of the charts quickly, Eminem felt the need to wear once he was in the spotlight. There have been several sightings of Eminem wearing one underneath his coat to guarantee his life. Back in 2003, Eminem had a beef with several other rappers on the charts, including 50 Cent, so wearing a vest gave him the feeling of extra protection when on the streets and at shows. 

A$AP Rocky Likes the Fashion Statement

Along with the safety feature of bulletproof vests, A$AP Rocky has started wearing one as more of a fashion statement. While wearing them overtop of his clothing in music videos, he gives off the intention that they are comfortable and accepted to wear regularly. It turned out that A$AP Rocky is a fan of vests in general; therefore, adding a bulletproof vest to his wardrobe was an easy decision. 

Drake Appreciates the Reminder of Protection and Safety

With the rumor that Drake is scared on stage, having his security with him at all times and a vest on over his clothes, it shows that he truly takes appreciation for the vests. He uses them as more than a fashion piece, but as a solid reminder that he is a celebrity standing in front of hundreds of strangers. Wearing the vest allows him to perform at his best while ensuring he feels safe and protected during the show.

More Rappers Wear Them Under Their Clothes

Bulletproof vests can be made to be worn underneath the clothes, making them incognito. This allows rappers, and any other civilians, to wear them and not feel chastised. With that, there are probably many rappers and celebrities that have worn bulletproof vests, and nobody has ever known except for their immediate security and crew.

Why Should a Rapper Wear a Bulletproof Vest?

A bulletproof vest has one main intention for being worn. It allows the person wearing it to cover up most of their upper body with a form of armor that will protect them from traumatic injury through bullets. 

A rapper should wear a vest if they feel their life is at risk. As a star on a stage, having a vest on can make them feel safer. The stages typically have plenty of lights on them, making it hard for the artist to see the crowd. This can entice the performer to wear safety gear considering they are not sure who or what is watching them.

Rappers feel safer when performing having one of these vests on. With the American statistics of mass shooting rising annually, celebrities now feel more inclined to wear one while on stage. This is mainly because they are unfamiliar with their audience, and it only takes one person to do damage. Having a vest allows the artist to know they are protecting the largest part of the body and a majority of their main arteries.

Who Else Wears Bulletproof Vests?

There are many people and jobs that are created unsafe in this world, however, those people are typically the ones trying to keep their civilization safe. Alongside celebrities and rappers, plenty of workforce officers and many overall employees feel safer with a vest on. Some jobs require you to wear one, and others allow you to decide. You can also purchase and wear one as a civilian as long as you follow the state-to-state Safe Pack Guidelines

Vests are worn by many kinds of people and workers, including:

  • Police Officers
  • Law Enforcement Agents
  • Security Guards
  • Park Rangers
  • Bank Employees
  • War Photographers
  • Paramedics
  • Gun Range Employees
  • Private Investigators
  • TSA Screeners
  • Hunters

Regardless of your job or actions in life, if you feel your life is at high risk because of your place or work or your daily choices, then wearing a bulletproof vest might be something you look into wearing.

Myths and Facts About Bulletproof Vests

When someone hears the word ‘bulletproof vests,’ they automatically think it will save a life if the bullet is shot in that vicinity. That can be true; however, there are some things about bulletproof vests that are misleading:

  • It is not fully bulletproof. The vest does not reflect the bullet; it simply resists it. The bullet will still be able to get through the vest, yet it can be mostly slowed down in anticipation to stop before hitting skin.
  • You will need to buy panels or plates. The vest primarily comes without ballistic panels, making the vest pretty useless. Make sure to purchase and insert the panels properly as a failure to do so can result in a traumatic injury. Some plates are made out of steel, ceramic, or polyethylene. 
  • The fabric stops the bullet. The ballistic fibers that are woven into the suit are primarily how the vest will potentially stop the bullet. Depending on the type of vest will decipher which fibers were used. Either way, the material causes the bullet to turn, ultimately slowing it down. If the bullet has a serrated edge or was shot at a high velocity, there is still a chance it will break through the fibers.
  • Soft body armor versus hard body armor makes a difference. Soft body armor is more likely to stop bullets from a handgun, whereas hard body armor has the ability to halt a rifle or shotgun bullet. 
  • You will still feel it. If a bullet is fired and hits right in the body armor that’s being worn, the person will still feel the intensity of it, even if it does not break through the vest. The force of the bullet hitting will feel similar to being hit with a hammer. Although, the power behind the bullet will determine how harsh of an impact it will make on the suit and the body. 
  • Bulletproof vests don’t last forever. Most vests have a five-year lifespan according to the National Institute of Justice. If a vest is being worn every day, it will have more wear and tear on it, even if it has not been shot. It will lose the protective capability quicker the more it is worn. We recommend knowing how to care for your body armor and replacing frequently if necessary. 
  • They are not waterproof. The ballistic fibers that the vest is made out of are definitely not waterproof. They turn more into a lubricant when wet, making the person wearing it more susceptible to a bullet pushing through the vest. 
  • They are not knife resistant. Bulletproof vests are resistant to bullets, not knives. This leaves the possibility of still being injured through other weapons. There are stab vests available that are made with a different fiber. 

These vests have a few different benefits and ways of protection. You just must find what you think is best for you and why you need one, to begin with anyways.

The Top Rated Bulletproof Vests on the Market

There is a difference between the vest and the plates that go inside. The plates and panels are what actually stops the bullet from penetrating, and the vest is what holds the plates in place. Some vests are more comfortable and fitting, whereas others might prefer to wear a backpack. 

The Spartan Legion XL Plate Carrier from Spartan Armor Systems vest is a five star rated vest. Some of the best features include:

  • Can hold 11×14 body armour plates and can accommodate 6×6 or 6×8 on the sides. 
  • Fully adjustable and comfortable vest with many sizes and colors to choose from. 
  • Comes equipped with anti-slip shoulder pads.
  • Has velcro and removable cummberbund.
  • Only weighs 3 lbs 9 ozs. 

This is one of the best carriers on the market that will meet all of your standards. 

The Testude Gen 2 Plate Carrier from Armored Republic offers maximum coverage and load bearing capability. This vest is ideal because:

  • It is durable, comfortable, versatile, and customizable. 
  • It has easy pockets for plates, adjustable shoulder straps.
  • It is made from medium and large body types. 

Although this vest is not the most cost efficient, it will succeed at keeping you feeling safer. Is that worth the cost?

The Warrior Assault Covert Plate Carrier from Spartan Armor Systems is one of the top rated for wearing beneath the clothing. It is also one of the best on the market containing these characteristics:

  • This is more of a low profile vest that can hold 10×12 plates. 
  • It weighs only 7.1 ozs and does, in fact repel water.
  • The sides are fully adjustable for girth and have a double layer of high quality elastic. 
  • Soft armor does conform better in this vest. However hard armor can be used efficiently as well.

The AR Independence Plate Carrier from Armored Republic has everything you need and more, including: 

  • This vest has an expandable cummerbund adjustment.
  • It contains six rows of PALS webbings on the front and back and 9 PALS channels on the cummerbund.
  • Front and rear plate pockets made of 500D nylon.
  • The perfect balance between durability and weight reduction. 

The cost of this vest definitely assures you that you are purchasing a prime and top of the line product. You will incur additional costs with this vest since it is only a plate carrier, and does not come with the body armor plates themselves. These can be purchased separately between $45-$100+ each plate.

The Tactical Body Armor Level IV Ceramic Active Shooter Kit from RTS Tactical is an excellent choice if you are looking for a bundle. This bundle consists of a vest and two plates. The vest contains top quality features including:

  • A heavy duty reinforced drag handle.
  • Quick hook and loop fastener with adjustments for the front, back, and shoulder. 
  • Material of 3DX mesh on the internal lining providing increased airflow which equals lower thermal load.

The ceramic plates make this a deal you cannot pass up on. Definitely purchase this bundle if you are looking for the best bang for your buck.

Each vest has something specific that can adhere to what you are looking for. Remember to figure out why exactly you need a bulletproof vest and which level of safety you are looking for. There are hundreds of carriers on the web today. We recommend only purchasing online if you are previously experienced and know your sizes and criteria. If you do not, we suggest going to your local gun range and having them size you and assist in selecting a vest that meets all of your requirements. 

Once you have selected your carrier, remember that it is not guaranteed to last forever. We recommend knowing how to properly care for your vest to ensure that it will remain durable for years to come.

What Body Armor is Reasonable for My New Vest?

A vest without body armor is pretty pointless. They all need panels or plates inserted in order to ensure protection. The National Institute of Justice created different levels of body armor ranging from Level I to Level IV. Each level will let you decide what exactly you are trying to be protected from and what type of armor you believe is suitable for your carrier. 

  • Level I: The lowest available, typically used for .38 and .22 caliber rounds. This is the only level that is not up to the National Institute of Justice’s standards. 
  • Level IIA: Protecting the body from 9mm rounds or .40 Smith and Wesson rounds. The ‘A’ signifies having similar properties as level II. 
  • Level II: This level provides the same protection from the same rounds as level IIA. However it can sustain and protect them coming from higher speeds of up to 1245 feet per second. 
  • Level IIIA: Similar to above, this body armor can protect 9mm rounds at 1400 feet per second, as well as .44 magnum and .44 caliber rounds. Some suppliers offer IIIA+ levels that are not within the National Institute of Justice’s standards, but that still protect against shotgun rounds and FN 5.7.
  • Level III: The first level to protect against rifles. Can withstand shots from a 7.62×51 NATO traveling up to 2780 feet per second. 
  • Level III+: These are also not liable in the National Institute of Justice’s standards, however they are still on the market and they typically require steel armor.
  • Level IV: The highest level that protects the body against piercing rounds, making IV the most safe. This consists of hard plates that will stop armor piercing rifle threats. This level can withstand 30-06 M2ap steel core rounds with a mass of 166 grains coming from around 2880 feet per second. 

Depending on what type of activity you partake in and what level of risk your life is in will help you decide what level of armor to obtain. Most rappers wear a level III or above to ensure their safety on stage. This is ultimately up to you and the higher you go in level the more likely you are to stay alive at the end of the day. 

Safety First Whether You’re On Stage or Not

Wearing a bulletproof vest comes with many decisions and factors prior to purchasing and committing to wearing one. There are several reasons to wear one aside from it being a fashion statement. Bulletproof vests are not mandatory to wear if you are a rapper performing. In fact they are not even encouraged unless you, the rapper, feel your life is in danger.


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Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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