Forbes’ 2013 Hip Hop Rich List

Posted on April 4th, 2013 by in Music Industry News, Offbeat

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Image by NYCArthur on Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Hip Hop music and culture often uses money to try and demonstrate power, or even just as a display of bravado and swagger. In recent years, some high-rolling artists have managed to tune in to the newly evolving music business and place themselves in the right place at the right time, making a small fortune in the process.

Turning a hip hop fan base into a brand and a multi-million dollar business is no small feat, and recently, Forbes magazine took the same methodology they use to create their annual list of the world’s wealthiest individuals and applied it to the scene. Here are the five wealthiest artists in hip hop;

Hip Hop Rich List 2013

1. P. Diddy ($580m)
Sean “Diddy” Combs; formerly known as Puff Daddy, Bad Boy Records’ head honcho, and owner of clothing line Sean John. Diddy made his name in the rap game with a string of chart hits, but these days most of his wealth comes from non-music-based ventures – keeping his name at the top of the rich list is his multi-million dollar deal with Ciroc vodka, owned by Diageo. Diddy receives eight-figure paychecks from the company each year as part of their endorsement deal, and will land a nine-figure payoff if the brand is ever sold.

2. Jay-Z ($475m)
Since selling his Rocawear clothing brand for $204 million and then hooking up a Live Nation deal to the tune of $150 million, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter’s net worth has skyrocketed in recent years. This coming year may see another huge income boost from a summer tour with Justin Timberlake, and endorsement deal with D’ussé Cognac, but for now he is firmly at number two in the list. One of the most diverse hip hop moguls, Jay-Z also owns or has stakes in Roc Nation label and management, Carol’s Daughter, the Brooklyn Nets, and also their home stadium the Barclays Center in New York.

3. Dr. Dre ($350m)
Andre “Dr. Dre” Young easily takes third spot in the artists rich list, despite not releasing an album for over a decade. After a few years of singles and the occasional guest appearance in the early 2000s, Dre really leaped into the big money leagues with his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. Co-founding the company with record exec Jimmy Iovine in 2008, they first sold 51% of the company to handset maker HTC in 2011 for a whopping $300 million. However, in 2012 they bought back half of that stake, and have seen Beats by Dre conquer the premium headphone market.

4. Birdman ($150m)
Having been in the music game for over twenty years, Bryan “Birdman” Williams has one of the strongest current rosters in music, including Drake, Nicky Minaj and Lil Wayne. Their prolific hits and record sales have made a fortune for Birdman and his brother Ronald “Slim” Williams, as co-owners of the Cash Money Records/Young Money Entertainment empire. Birdman also recently launched the YMCMB clothing line and GT Vodka.

5. 50 Cent ($125m)
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson also sees most of his net worth coming from non-musical release projects – the rapper was quick to branch out after his smash hit album Get Rich or Die Trying, dipping into the world of movies, video games, books, merchandise and more. Even lending his brand and skills to soft drinks resulted in a big payout; he worked with Glacéau/Energy Brands to launch VitaminWater in 2000, and they went on to sell the brand to Coca Cola in 2007, netting ‘fiddy’ a few mill along the way.

by Lee Jarvis.
Follow Lee on twitter @leejarvis and get music jobs updates from @usmusicjobs.

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