Jay-Z, Diddy, Dr. Dre top Forbes list of wealthiest hip-hop artists

04.18.12 5 years ago

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Rap mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs is currently the biggest baller in hip-hop.

At least that’s according to a new list published by Forbes, which counts down the five wealthiest artists in the genre based on net worth.

The entrepreneurial rapper – arguably better known for his business portfolio than his musical abilities these days – is worth a total of $550 million, according to the magazine, thanks to financial stakes in popular brands including Ciroc Vodka and his Sean John clothing line. The Artist Formerly Known as Puff Daddy also reaps substantial profits as co-founder of the Bad Boy record label he founded in 1993.

Coming in second on the list is Beyonce baby daddy Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, whose net worth comes in at a whopping $460 million – an amount tied to the $200 million-plus sale of his Rocawear clothing line in 2007 as well as a 10-year, $150 million LiveNation deal made the following year. He additionally owns a stake in NBA team the New Jersey Nets (you can see him pictured at a recent game above) and, oh yeah, he also makes music occasionally.

Taking the #3 spot is West Coast rap guru Dr. Dre (born Andre Romell Young), whose net worth doubled to $270 million from a year ago thanks in large part to the cool $85 million he recently received from handset maker HTC when they bought a 51% stake in Beats Electronics, the company he co-founded with Interscope-Geffen-A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine back in 2006. The hip-hop legend is also the founder and CEO of Aftermath Records, home to rapper Eminem.

At number four on the list is Cash Money Records co-founder Birdman (nee Bryan Williams) with a net worth of $125 million. The entrepreneur’s wealth has increased dramatically as of late thanks to semi-recent blockbuster signees including Nicki Minaj and Drake (top-selling rapper Lil Wayne is also on the roster). With the label’s Universal deal ending this summer, Forbes notes that an all-out bidding war could break out between numerous record companies for distribution rights to future releases from the label.

Rounding out the list is rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, currently worth a measly $110 million, according to the magazine. Though Fiddy’s record sales certainly aren’t what they used to be (there’s still no release date on the horizon for his long-delayed fifth studio album thanks to ongoing battles with label Interscope), he sold his stake in the lucrative Vitamin Water brand for a cool $100 million back in 2007and additionally reaps profits from branded products including shoes, videogames and headphones. A further financial windfall will likely follow from the forthcoming release of his charitable Street King energy shots.

All in all, it’s hard to know how to sum up the list any better than the Birdman himself, who proclaimed the following in a recent interview with Forbes: “One of my motivations in life is to be a billionaire. …We”re going to keep working hard until we get our brand to be as big as possible. That”s the goal in life, that”s what I live for.”

A profound sentiment, that.

Are there any hip-hoppers you’re surprised didn’t make the list? Who do you think will be next to crack the top five? Sound off in the comments!

Around The Web