Live & Touring

Who Are The World’s 20 Richest Hip-Hop Stars?

Dr-dre-bwHip-hop has been synonymous with
entrepreneurship since its inception – from the 70s and 80s with pioneers like
Jazzy Jay and Grandmaster Flash laying the foundation to what would become a
massive worldwide phenomenon, to today’s hip-hop moguls whose influence can be
felt in countless consumer products and all across pop culture. It comes as no
surprise then, nor could it be any more fitting, that today’s top earning
hip-hop stars continue the tradition of entrepreneurship to witness
extraordinary high yearly earnings

Topping Forbes’ list of the top cash kings in
hip-hop was Dr. Dre, and anyone
who’s ever walked down a city street for more than five minutes can guess why. With
$110 million in pretax earnings, Dre soars past the others on the list by
earning the bulk of his income from his deal with Jimmy Iovine and the Beats by Dre line of headphones. While
his Detox album is still yet to be released, he continues to see royalties from
The Chronic and 2001, as well as past projects and production credits.

At $45 million in pretax earnings, Sean “Diddy” Combs continues to kick it
comfortably among music’s highest earners, thanks largely in part to a share of
profits from Diageo’s Ciroc vodka. Right behind Combs is Jay-Z, who saw more than half of his annual income from non-music
ventures including ownership stakes in the cosmetics companies Carol’s
Daughter, the Brooklyn Nets and a joint venture with battery maker Duracell. Jay-Z’s
Budweiser-sponsored Made In America event
last weekend in Philadelphia also brought in $38 million.

Kayne West comes in fourth place with $35 million in pretax earnings, stemming
largely from his Watch the Throne album
with Jay-Z and the massive tour that came to support it. Lil Wayne follows behind West at $27 million.
While his latest album, Tha Carter IV, sold
one million copies during the first week of its release, the rapper has also
seen income from his new clothing line Trukfit and partnership with Mountain
Dew. Wayne is joined up in the ranks by labelmates Drake and Nicki Minaj, who
earned $20.5 million and $15.5 million respectively – stemming largely form
their new albums, huge tours and product endorsements with Kodak and Pepsi. Cash
Money co-founder Bryan “Birdman” Williams
rests comfortably between Drake and Minaj at seventh on the list $20 million in
pretax earning

year’s top 20 earners in hip-hop (complete list below) brought in a combined $415 million, stemming
largely from leveraging their personal brands and their audience demographics
for major product endorsement deals. Touring also continues to be a large
factor, as it is for musicians of any genre nowadays. At the end of the day, the entrepreneurial spirit that brought hip-hop to prominence over the past three decades continues to flow through these cash kings and queens.

The 20 Richest Hip-hop Stars:

1. Dr. Dre @ $110 million 
2. Diddy @ $45 million 
3. Jay-Z @ $38 million 
4. Kanye West @ $35 million 
5. Lil Wayne @ $27 million 
6. Drake @ $20.5 million 
7. Bryan "Birdman" Williams @ $20 million 
8. Nicki Minaj @ $15.5 million 
9. Eminem @ $15 million 
10. Ludacris @ $12 million 
11. Pitbull @ $9.5 million 
12. Rick Ross @ $9 million (tied) 
12. Wiz Khalifa @ $9 million (tied) 
14. Snoop Lion @ $8.5 million 
15. 50 Cent @ $7.5 million 
16. Swizz Beatz @ $7 million (tied) 
16. Pharrell Williams @ $7 million (tied) 
16. Young Jeezy @ $7 million (tied) 
19. Mac Miller @ $6.5 million 
20. Akon @ $6 million (tied) 
20. Timbaland @ $6 million (tied) 
20. Tech N9ne @ $6 million (tied)

Hisham Dahud is a Senior Analyst for Additionally, he is the head of Business Development for Fame House and an independent musician. Follow him on Twitter: @HishamDahud

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  1. I wonder if K’naan can close the gap somewhat, now that his upcoming album “Country God Or the Girl” features cameos from 2 rock music icons. It shall be interesting to see whether this move can lure in some fans of theirs to buy his album. To be honest, I’ve been curious about it for a while and I will give it a try. But why does the label keep postponing it since May? The buzz has almost died down by now.

  2. Lill’ Kim $18 million – $25mill depending where you look, Missy Elliott. And P diddy has a net worth according to forbes of $580 million and Jay Z $475 million.
    50 cent has more virtually everyone on the list has more and Nicki Minaj still has to pay her label back a big chunk before she see’s the million this claims.
    Did any research go in to this list or is it just pick a number and write.

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