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The hip-hop industry is full of cash kings but was it the music that lead Jay Z, Eminem, Dr Dre and more to make their millions?
This year 50 just creeped into Forbes five richest rappers of 2014 list with earnings on $140 million. Believe it or not, 50's fortune comes not from his musical career, but from his $100 million sale of VitaminWater back in 07'. Picture: Getty
In 2012 Jay Z earnt $42 million and this year, the figure is reportedly at $60 million. How'd he do it? Jay signed a 10-year $150 million Love Nation deal in 2008, holds stakes in the New Jersey Jets, owns the club chain 40/40, an ad firm called Translation, he's sold 50 million albums worldwide, sold Rocawear clothing for $204 million in 2007, oh and then there's Roc Nation, which is worth a healthy 9 figures…
A regular on Forbes 5 wealthiest rappers list is Birdman, who might not be as prominent as other rappers in the charts, but has built an empire that's valued his net worth at $160 million thanks to his Cash Money record label, which Drake, Nicki Minaj, Lil' Wayne and more are all signed to.
Not only is Dr Dre one of hip-hops most iconic artists, he is now officially hip-hop's wealthiest artist. The rapper built up his Beats By Dre headphones company from scratch and sold it this year for a whopping $3 billion to Apple. The deal saw his net worth shoot up to £800 million. That, is how it's done. (But Dre, we're still waiting for Detox). Picture: Apple/PA
None of the rappers on this list made hundreds of millions through music. It's clear that the way to make serious, we mean really, really serious money, is through business. But Eminem, like usual, defies the 'usual.' He might not be worth the $800 million his entrepreneur and mentor is worth, but considering that most of Em's wealth is plain and simply down to his music catalogue and tours, a $120 million fortune is incredible.
Until this year Diddy was the richest man in hip-hop, and although Dre may have overtaken him, Diddy's still not doing badly for himself. Although he's been working the music scene for decades, he made his hundreds of millions thanks to a lucrative non-musical venture with the Vodka Diageo's Ciroc. The deal means that Diddy gets an eight-figure annual salary and will get a nine figure pay-out if they ever sell-up. Picture: Instagram
For the last seven years (bar one) Snoop has managed to pull in over $10 million a year earnings, with his highest sum being $15 million in 2010. How does he do it? By releasing 10 solo albums since 1993, dipping his toes into acting and lending his face to big-name adverts. It's reported that Snoop took home $200,000 for one afternoon's work when he shot the Money Supermarket ad you've likely recently seen him in.
Lil' Wayne is a rap star that has managed to maintain consistently high album sales for a decade now. In 2008, his 'The Carter III' sold more than 1 million copies in one week, in just one country (the US), which gives a pretty good idea of how he has managed to acquire a fortune of just under $100 million.
Ye's non-stop talking about his his involvements outside of music; art, fashion, philosophy… But the numbers are in and the fact remains that Yeezy makes most of his dollars from his primary talent. His stake in GOOD Music is worth as much as $13 million, but it's sales revenues together with tours and royalties on shoe collaborations with the likes of Nike and Louis Vuitton that's made Kanye worth approximately $120 million.
In 2011, Nicki Minaj became the first female rapper to make the Forbes Magazine’s Hip-Hop Cash Kings list with earnings of $6.5 million in the previous year. Now worth approximately $45 million, some of that money comes from 'Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded' record and ticket sales. But the majority was from her American Idol judging fee - a huge $12,000,000. On top of that, Nicki lets the world know in her 'Monster' verse that she gets $50,000 per guest verse.