Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Forbes Five: Hip-Hop's Wealthiest Artists

                                 1. Sean "Diddy" Combs ($580 million), cont'd

1. Sean "Diddy" Combs ($580 million)

The artist formerly known as Puff Daddy ranks No. 1 on this year’s Forbes Five 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 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.

                                     2. Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter ($475 million), cont'd

2. Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter ($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). He also boasts smaller stakes in Carol’s Daughter, the Brooklyn Nets—and, more significantly, the Barclays Center itself—as well as new partnerships with the likes of Duracell and Bacardi’s D’ussé Cognac. (For more on Mr. Carter’s rise as a businessman, check out “Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner To Corner Office”).

                                          3. Andre "Dr. Dre" Young ($350 million), cont'd

3. Andre "Dr. Dre" Young ($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. 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—and their investment continues to soar in value with a whopping 65% market share of the premium headphone market.

                                                     4. Bryan "Birdman" Williams ($150 million)

4. Bryan "Birdman" Williams ($150 million)
The New Orleans native cofounded Cash Money Records two decades ago with his brother Ronald “Slim” Williams (Birdman’s net worth would be well over $200 million if his ownership in the label wasn’t shared). 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.

                                     5. Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson ($125 million)

5. Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson ($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. Now he’s trying to replicate the latter 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. 

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