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Most hip-hop artists don't make their millions through record sales or world tours, but through the big money business deals that come as a result of their entrepreneurial endeavours. These are some of the biggest the industry have ever seen.
As one of hip hops most notorious entrepreneurs, expect to see Jay Z's name pop up more than one on this list. One if his biggest deals to date was back in '07 when the kid from a housing project in Brooklyn sold the rights to the urban clothing line his co-founded, Rocawear. The buyer, Iconix Brand Group, gave Hov $204 million in cash in one of the biggest deals hip-hops ever seen.
Not content with just his music career and SMS audio, 50 Cent has closed a $78 million deal with FRIGO Revolution Wear to promote mens luxury underwear. The breifs, which cost $100, were designed before Fiddy got involved, but he insists "women spend so much money on lingerie; it's the right project for men." Picture: Getty
Diddy, still hip-hop's richest man until Dre has signed on the dotted line with Apple, is worth a huge $700 million. The sum is largely down to his infamous deal with Diageo's Ciroc which brings him in an eight-figure monthly salary and if the company is ever sold, a nine-figure pay-out .
A lot of the big money deals are made outside of the music industry, through clothing lines, headphones and drink brands for example. But there is still money to be made in music. In '98 Birdman, co-founder of Cash Money, signed a $30 million pressing and distribution with $3 million advance contract with Universal. The deal gave cash money 85% of its royalties, 50% of its publishing and ownership of all masters.
Jay Z has reportedly purchased a Swedish music company in a deal that's seeing him hand over $56 million in cash! The deal will give him ownership of streaming services Tidal and Wimp, which are already gaining popularity in Europe, and see him go head to head with the richest hip-hop entrepreneur in the world, Dr Dre. Picture: Getty
Jay Z went where no other artist has ever been before when he sold 1 million copies of his 'Magna Carta… Holy Grail' album before it was even released in a lucrative deal with Samsung. Estimated to be worth $20 million, Samsung distributed the 1 million free copies through an app only its users could download, a few days before it was available to the public.
Before fancy headphones and expensive drinks Russell Simmons was making the big bucks from music and retail. His clothing line Phat Farm was all the rage, so much for that he sold it to Kellwood company for nearly a staggering $140 million back in 2004.
Before everyone was talking about Dr Dre's Beats Electronics deal with Apple, they were talking about the company's deal with HTC. In August 2011 the mobile phone manufacturer acquired a 50.1% majority share in Beats for $309 million.
Eventually, Beats bought back the entire share that had been acquired by HTC so that Carlyle Group could make a minority investment. The deal valued Beats at £1billion. Picture: Getty
The deal between Beats Electronics and Apple has recently been confirmed, with Jimmy Lovine admitting; "I’ve always known in my heart that Beats belonged with Apple.' Although Dre claimed the deal would make hi hip-hops first billionaire, Dre will in fact be a bit short. But who's complaining?
50 got involved with Vitamin water in the peak of his music career in 2004, but the pay off didn't come until three years later when The Coca-Cola company purchased Glaceau for $4.1 billion. 50 walked away with a satisfying $100 million for the deal. The next year Fiddy rapped in 'I Get Money'; "I took quarter-water, sold it in bottles for two bucks. Coca-Cola came and bought it for billions. What the…."
In 2008 Jay Z clinched a unique '360 deal' worth $152 million with Live Nation. Thr 10-year deal reportedly sees Jay Z receive $10 million per album for a minimum of three albums, $20 millions for others rights including publishing and licensing and $25 million to finance Jay Z's external acquisitions and investments.
Before his deal with Phat Farm happened Russell Simmons was already a hip-hop millionaire. Five years earlier he sold his remaining stakesin Rick Rubin-founded record label Def Jam to Universal for a reported $100 million. Def Jam still operates with its original name but under the bigger umbrella.
Diddy's already rolling in it, but the rapper is staying true to his slogan 'can't stop, won't stop.' His latest venture is Revolt TV, a digital cable television network that had over 25 million subscribers when it debuted in October thanks to a deal with Time Warner Cable, making it the second biggest launch in history. If all continues to go well with Revolt TV, it could see Diddy on the cusp of becoming a billionaire. Picture: PA
MC Hammer was involved in one of the original big hip-hop money-making deals in 1990 when he got an exclusive endorsement deal with New York based British Knights for an undisclosed amount. "Let’s just say the amount is commensurate with what anyone would pay a superstar" the company's Vice President Larry Schwartz said. And a superstar he was, having spent 21 weeks with the number one album in America.
At 2012's SXSW Lil' Wayne premiered his 'DEWeezy' campaign, an endorsement deal with Mountain Dew that Derek Jackson, chief of the Glu agency that brokered the deal, called a "multi-million dollar deal." The deal was for one year with an option for more and the possibility of Pepsi and Mountain Dew bankrolling an original film with Lil Wayne, but the partnership was broken when Lil' Wayne rapped controversial lyrics in a song unveiled in 2013.