Sean “Diddy” Combs sits on top of the hip-hop throne on Forbes annual ranking of the highest earning hip-hop stars. He has a combined net worth of $735 million, derived not just from his Bad Boy Entertainment empire, but his interest in several lucrative companies. He owns a controlling stake in the clothing line Sean John, the bottled water brand Aquahydrate, Ciroc vodka brand and the television network Revolt.
Andre Young a.k.a. Dr. Dre comes in a strong second place with a net worth of $700 million. Known as the greatest producer in hip-hop and putting out the landmark album Chronic, the vast majority of Dr. Dre’s fortune came from the sale of Beats Electronics to Apple in 2014. Dr. Dre had a 25 percent stake ownership in the company and netted $500 million. Dr. Dre is not serving as a producer on “Straight Outta Compton,” but also making new music for the film based on the true story of gangster rap group N.W.A. Dre was a founding member of the group, along with the late Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, and MC Ren.
Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter made the top three, with a net worth of $550 million. The greatest rapper in the modern era recently purchased the Swedish high-quality audio streaming service Tidal for $56 million and relaunched the service to benefit recording artists. Jay-Z announced ‘B-Sides’ Concert for Tidal users only, which should generate more money in his swollen pockets. Jay-Z already has business holdings in Armand de Brignac champagne, Carol’s Daughter, Roc Nation, and Roc Nation Sports.
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson lands in the number four spot with an impressive net worth of $155 million. He derived most of his wealth from the sale of Vitamin water in 2007 when Coca-Cola purchased Glacéau for $4.1 billion and, according to Forbes, Jackson, who was a minority shareholder, earned $100 million from the deal after taxes. 50 Cent earns money from his film production Cheetah Vision, mining and precious metals industries, and his boxing promotion company SMS Promotions.
Bryan “Birdman” Williams makes the top five with a net worth of $150 million. Nicknamed the #1 Stunna, he is the mastermind behind Cash Money Records. The success of the record label and Young Money Entertainment made him a very rich man. Birdman is involved in other mediums, including publishing with the launch of Cash Money Content, a book-publishing house under the Cash Money umbrella.