The 20 Richest Hip Hop Artists According to Forbes
Forbes recently released its list of the wealthiest and most successful hip-hop artists, and it comes as no surprise that Sean John Combs aka P. Diddy tops the charts with his $50 million earnings for 2013. The rapper is followed closely by other famous names in the industry such as Jay Z and Dr. Dre, while the combined earnings of all the 20 members of the chart soar up to $343 million. Let’s have a closer look at the top!
1. P. Diddy
Even though he is undoubtedly one of the most talented hip-hop artists in the world, Sean Combs earned his substantial fortune through his side businesses, which include his Bad Boy record label, his Sean John clothing line and some endorsements for Ciroc vodka.
Furthermore, the star has plans to open his own TV channel in October, which will be named Revolt and will feature music-orientated programs. P. Diddy’s total earnings for 2013 add up to $50 million, which is why he is currently tops the Forbes Cash Kings list.
2. Jay Z
Compared to Diddy, Jay Z actually had a pretty busy year music-wise, since he launched a new album named “Magna Carta … Holy Grail”. The album was highly successful and received an investment of $5 million from Samsung, which made it go Platinum just before its launch.
As many other hip-hop stars, Jay Z signed a lot of endorsements contracts this year, his “favorite” products so far being D’Ussé cognac and Armand de Brignac champagne. The rapper also owns the Roc Nation label, which managed to bring in good revenue, while his lucrative live shows also helped in swelling his pockets. His total earnings for 2013 add up to $43 million. Not bad at all.
3. Dr. Dre
As one of the oldest and most experienced hip-hop producers in the business, Dr.Dre is still gathering fortunes even though he is mostly out of the spotlight these days. His Beats Electronics Company is still bringing in good revenue, more so since it will soon include a music-streaming service.
Actually, Dr. Dre sold part of his firm in 2011, which allowed him to top the Forbes charts last year. Dropping two spots, the famed entrepreneur and talented artist now sits at no.3 backed up by $40 million.
4. Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj is perhaps one of the most successful female hip-hop artists in the world right now, a title that was acknowledged officially when she became the first female artist included in the Hip Hop Cash Kings list. She raised her fortunes through steady music sales, touring and through her successful performance as an American Idol judge.
She also signed endorsement contracts with a number of companies, including Pepsi, which also helped her gather the $29 million that she boasts today.
Birdman based his hip-hop empire on his Cash Money record label, which flaunts contracts with artists such as Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Drake. Birdman’s real name is Bryan Williams, and his $21 million earnings for 2013 are also based on publishing, clothing and vodka.
6. Kanye West
Kanye Omari West managed to earn $20 million this year, which placed him at no.6 on Forbes’ list. Even though no.6 might not seem very impressive, the star’s release of his album “Yeezus” was not included in his earnings for 2013 because it fell out of Forbes’ scoring period. However, his fall tour will definitely place him higher on the charts for 2014.
7. Lil Wayne
With earnings of “just” $16 million, Lil Wayne is not doing so well compared to others, but he is still quite rich nonetheless don’t you worry. The rapper kept himself busy with a few shows in 2013 and with some health-related gigs, but most of his dollars came in from the release of his new album called “I Am Not A Human Being II”. His Young Money label and Trukfit clothing line also helped.
8. Wiz Khalifa
Cameron Jibril Thomaz, also known as Wiz Khalifa, enjoyed great success with his single “Black and Yellow”, which was featured on his 2011 album “Rolling Papers”. The rapper followed up with a 2012 album called” O.N.I.F.C.”, while” Blacc Hollywood” is set to release this year.
He managed to bring in $14 million in 2013.
Even though his music career is not what it used to be, Ludacris plans to release his new “Ludaversal” album soon. Furthermore, he still kept his role in the new Fast & Furious movie, which allowed him to bring in some pretty important sums of money.
His Souls by Ludacris headphones, live shows and Conjure cognac endorsements also contributed in raising the $12 million that put him in Forbes’ charts this year.
In 2013, Pitbull encouraged his fans to buy Kodak products and to drink Dr. Pepper, which must have had something to do with him earning $11 million. Mr. International also released a new album called “Global Warming” this year, while his constant tours across the country also resulted in big checks.
Drake did not release a new album last year nor did he manage to earn cash by touring. However, he did release an album named “Nothing Was The Same” recently, which will definitely enable him to climb up to the top positions in next year’s list.
At no 11, Drake earned just $10.5 million in 2013.
12. Snoop Lion
Formerly known as Snoop Dogg, Snoop Lion decided to focus more on his reggae career as of late. This move was relatively successful, as the artist performed 85 shows during Forbes’ scoring period. Furthermore, Snoop also had a key role to play in several endorsement deals, and so his total earnings for this year add up to $10 million.
Eminem earned exactly as much as Snoop Lion did in 2013, but most of his earnings actually come out of his past singles and hits. Eminem is widely recognized to have sold more albums in the past 10 years than any other artist of his kind, which is probably why he can afford to tour rarely and skip on endorsement deals on a regular basis.
14. Kendrick Lamar
With earnings of $9 million, Kendrick Lamar enjoyed great success with his hit song “Great Kid, m.A.A.d City”, and while his talent as a hip hop artist is definitely undisputed, being Dr. Dre’s protégé surely must have helped him along his career path.
15. Pharell Williams
At the age of 40, Pharell Williams still managed to take the world by surprise and top the charts due to his successful collaboration with Daft Punk. “Get Lucky” was and still is a huge success, enabling Pharell and the French electronic duo to cash in vast sums of money.
Moreover, Williams also receives revenue from a few clothing lines, and he even has his own YouTube show.
16. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Also flaunting earnings of $9 million, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis made their first appearance on Cash Kings this year thanks to their highly successful album named “The Heist”, which sold over $1 million copies in the United States.
The artists’ “Thrift Shop” and “Same Love” singles are some of the most popular in the world right now.
17. Swizz Beatz
Alicia Keys’ husband, Swizz Beatz, is a very successful producer that managed to gather as much as $8.5 million this year. His main endeavors were centered around deals with well-known brands such as Lotus, Reebok and Monster, while his generous production catalogue also gave him a big financial boost.
18. Tech N9ne
Tech N9ne can be found at the bottom of the Cash Kings list, but he is still doing quite well for himself thanks to his Strange Music label and recording studio. The Kansas-based rapper earned $7.9 million in 2013, which is nothing to sneeze at for sure.
19. 50 Cent
Back in 2008, 50 Cent was the highest earner in the hip-hop industry, mostly thanks to his stake in VitaminWater. Of course, there were other things that helped, including his records sales, video games roles and clothing lines.
Nowadays, the famous rapper concentrates on other businesses, such as his SK Energy drink and SMS headphone line. His latest endeavors allowed him to cash in $7 million.
20. Lil Jon
Lil Jon scored big in 2004 with his outstanding hit “Yeah” that he did in collaboration with Usher. Nine years later, the rapper/producer decided to focus on his skills as a DJ, and so he enjoyed the success of over 100 shows this year alone. Who would have thought that such an eccentric rapper could actually pull off a DJ career?
In any case, his 2013 earnings added up to $6 million.