Do You Agree with These Numbers? The Fifty Wealthiest Rappers

Maximus RexMaximus Rex Pulchritudo in Conspectu RegisThe EmpreyanPosts: 6,355 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited February 2014 in The Reason
The thirty-nine wealthiest rappers according to Celebrity net worth.

The Forbes Five: Hip-Hop's Wealthiest Artists 2013

This story appears in the April 15, 2013 issue of Forbes.

Sean “Diddy” Combs rose to mainstream fame in the late 1990s rapping about his desire for Benjamins, otherwise known as $100 bills. A decade and a half later, he might need to consider some larger denominations—McKinleys, Clevelands and Madisons, perhaps—to express his wealth.

Diddy ranks No. 1 on this year’s Forbes Five, our list of hip-hop’s wealthiest artists, with an estimated net worth of $580 million. The bulk of the Bad Boy Records founder’s wealth comes from non-musical ventures, namely his deal with Diageo ’s Ciroc. The agreement entitles him to eight-figure annual payouts and a nine-figure windfall if the brand is ever sold—and Ciroc’s value has never been higher.

“It is one of the fastest-growing brands within vodka,” says Jack Russo, an equity analyst at Edward Jones & Co. “Consumers are feeling a little bit better about their situation, and with that, they’re willing to spend more on premium products.”

The Forbes Five: Full Coverage

The No. 2 spot goes to Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, with a net worth of $475 million. He’s still rolling in cash from megadeals like his $204 million Rocawear sale in 2007 and his $150 million pact with Live Nation the following year. He continues to hold stakes in Roc Nation, Carol’s Daughter, the Brooklyn Nets—and, more significantly, the Barclays Center itself—while adding new partnerships with the likes of Duracell, Budweiser and Bacardi’s D’ussé Cognac. (For more on his rise as a businessman, check out “Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner To Corner Office”).

Andre “Dr. Dre” Young ranks third with $350 million, thanks mostly to his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. A year after selling 51% of the company to handset maker HTC for $300 million in August 2011, Dre and his partners bought back half of the half they sold in 2012—and their investment continues to soar in value due to Beats’ whopping 65% market share of the premium ($99 and up) headphone market.

Bryan “Birdman” Williams owns the No. 4 spot, riding his Cash Money/Young Money empire to a fortune of $150 million. His roster includes Drake, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne (the latter crossed the $100 million threshold for the first time this year, by our estimates, but remains just outside the top five). Birdman also recently launched a YMCMB clothing line and a spirit called GT Vodka.

“We have to build different brands,” he told FORBES last month. “That’s what it’s all about.”

The Forbes Five: In Pictures

Rounding out the list is Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson at $125 million. He’s another master of brand building: The bulk of his fortune came from heavy sales of his music, merchandise, video games and books in the wake of his smash debut Get Rich or Die Tryin’—and particularly from his payout for the sale of his stake in VitaminWater parent Glacéau to Coca-Cola in 2007.

Now he’s trying to replicate that feat with companies like SMS Audio, his answer to Dr. Dre’s Beats, and SK Energy, which has its sights set on category leader 5-Hour Energy. When informed that his net worth would be estimated at a little over $100 million this year, 50 Cent said simply, “That’s cool.” After being asked to elaborate, though, he changed his tune slightly.

“Oh, you want me to tell you an exact number?” he said with a grin. “I’ve got way more.”

The Forbes Five: Methodology

If his new ventures continue to grow, 50 Cent’s number on this list should begin to reflect that belief as soon as next year.

As for Diddy, he may need to stick to Benjamins after all. According to a recent tally, there were only 165,372 $1,000 bills still in use—not even enough to cover one-third of Diddy’s fortune.


5) 50 Cent-$125 Million

He reaped a fortune from heavy sales of his music, merchandise, video games and books in the wake of his smash debut Get Rich or Die Tryin’—not to mention a massive haul from the sale of VitaminWater in 2007.


4) Birdman-$150 Million

Cash Money continues to flourish, with a roster that includes Drake, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. Birdman is still looking for ways to diversify, launching the YMCMB clothing line and GT Vodka.


3) Dr. Dre-$350 Million

The legendary superproducer owes his fortune mostly to the success of his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, which he cofounded with record executive Jimmy Iovine in 2008.


2) Jay-Z-$475 Million

Still rolling in cash from megadeals like his $204 million Rocawear sale in 2007 and his $150 million pact with Live Nation the following year, Jay-Z’s net worth has continued to grow in tandem with his Roc Nation label and management outfit (according to one insider, the rapper owns the company outright and merely shares profits with Live Nation).


1) Puffy-580 Million

The Ciroc agreement entitles Diddy to eight-figure annual payouts and a nine-figure windfall of the brand is ever sold—and Ciroc’s value has never been higher.

The 39 Richest Rappers

39) Cee Lo-$22 Million

38) Soulja Boy-$23 Million

37) Ludacris-$25 Million

36) The Game-$25 Million

35) Rick Ross-$28 Million

34) Flo Rida-$30 Million

33) Common-$35 Million, (This is was pleasant surprise. I'm happy to see the game has been good to Common.)

32) Drake-$35 Million

31) Ice T-$35 Million, (It seems like Ice T would be caked up a little bit better than that.)

30) 2Pac-$40 Million, (How is Biggie worth more than Pac, when Pac has a bigger body of work?)

29) Big Boi-$40 Million

28) Andre 3000-$45 Million

27) Nicki Minaj-$45 Million, (This number is fugazi as fuck. How in the fuck is Nicki Minaj is worth $45 million dollars?)

26) DMC-$45 Million

25) Bone Thugs-N-Harmony-$45 Million ( I fucks with Bone Thugs, but I don't how how these niggas are worth $45 Million.)

24) Wyclef Jean-$50 Million

23) Nelly-$60 Million, (Guess that nigga didn't blow 30 mil like he was Hammer,)

22) Busta Rhymes-$65 Million

21) Swizz Beats-$65 Million

20) Rev. Run-$70 Million

19) Ad Rock-$75 Million

18) Will.I.Am-$75 Million

17) MCA-$75 Million

16) Mike D-$75 Million

15) Timbaland-$80 Million

14) Pharrell-$80 Million

13) Kanye West-$100 Million

12) L.L. Cool J-$100 Million

11) Ice Cube-$120 Million

10) Snoop Dogg-$120 Million

9) Lil Wayne-$135 Million

8) Eminem-$140 Million

7) Biggie Smalls-$160 Million (Someone has to explain to me how Biggie is worth more than Pac.)

6) Birdman-$170 Million

5) 50 Cent-$260 Million

4) Master P-$350 Million (I find it very hard to believe that Master is worth $350 Million dollars.)

3) Dr. Dre-$360 Million

2) Jay-Z-$500 Million

1) Puffy-$580 Million

Now the reason why my list has thirty-nine rappers instead of fifty is because this fucked up list has people like Russell Simmons, J Prince, and Usher, (how in the fuck is Usher a rapper?) categorized as rappers.


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