The 2011 Forbes Hip Hop Cash Kings list has been released, Jay-Z tops the list with total earnings of $37 million over the past year. Forbes cites Jay’s $150 million Live Nation deal and his stakes in other ventures like the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and the 40/40 Club chain. It’s also noted that this is the first year Jay-Z has become the “breadwinner” between he and wife Beyoncé since their 2008 marriage. It’s likely Jay-Z will continue to hold the spot for next year as he and Kanye West recently released one of the most anticipated rap albums and concert tours in some time, Watch the Throne.
Nicki Minaj becomes the first female to make the list at No. 15 with $6.5 million. The Young Money diva burst onto the scene with her platinum debut Pink Friday, tours with Lil Wayne and Britney Spears, and endorsement deals with M•A•C Cosmetics and Casio.
Cash Kings 2011: Hip-Hop’s Top 20 Earners
1. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter – $37 million
Net Worth: $450 million (as of March 2011)
With a net worth of $450 million, the reigning Cash King continues to reap the benefits of a 10-year $150 million Live Nation deal, as well as his stakes in the New Jersey Nets, the 40/40 Club chain, ad firm Translation and others. This year marked the first time he out-earned his wife Beyonce (her 2011 earnings: $35 million) since their marriage in 2008.
For more on Jay-Z checkout Zack O’Malley Greenburg of Forbes.com’s Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office.
2. Sean “Diddy” Combs – $35 million
Net Worth: $500 million (as of September 2011)
The current richest rapper on the planet, Piddy formerly known as Puff Daddy, makes of his earnings from clothing lines Sean John and Enyce, record label Bad Boy and marketing firm Blue Flame. Music now accounts for less than 20% of earnings. Forbes to estimate his net worth at $475 million as of March 2011, thanks to his big stakes in Ciroc vodka.
3. Kanye West – $16 million
The self-proclaimed Louis Vuitton Don returns to the top three on Forbes list for the first time since 2009. His new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, hit stores in November 2010, earned critical raves and quickly went platinum. His follow-up, Jay-Z collaboration Watch the Throne, debuted on August 8th, 2011.
4. Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter – $15 million (tie)
The lyricist reportedly wrote his first song at age 8 and signed a record deal with Cash Money at 9. He’s now one of rap’s richest, despite serving eight months in jail last year. His latest release, I Am Not A Human Being, made him the first artist since Tupac Shakur to have a No. 1 album while incarcerated.
4. Bryan “Birdman” Williams – $15 million (tie)
Net Worth: $110 million (as of September 2011)
Co-founder of Cash Money Records and one half of the duo Big Tymers, continues to rake in cash from the label, home to fellow Cash Kings Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj. Forbes Magazine excluded Birdman from last year’s list because he is deemed to be more executive than rapper, but was included in this year’s list because most rappers on the list have a similar job description.
6. Marshall “Eminem” Mathers – $14 million (tie)
Not like other rappers on the list, Eminem doesn’t tour as much and his outside business interests are limited, but music alone was enough to bring him back into the upper reaches of this year’s list. He added Super Bowl spots for Lipton and Chrysler to his coffers.
6. Andre “Dr. Dre” Young – $14 million (tie)
Net Worth: $300 million (as of August 2011)
The super producer/rapper, launched the careers of fellow Cash Kings including Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent. He keeps bringing in cash—namely from producer fees, Beats by Dre, HP laptop line and his lucrative headphone venture with Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine.
On 11th August 2011, Dr Dre reportedly sold 50% stake in the headphone company, Beats Electronics, to Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC for £191 million ($310m). Forbes Magazine looked into what the deal may mean for Dr. Dre’s net worth, which was last estimated at $125 million. By the magazine’s back-of-the-envelope calculations, Dre may end up worth $300 million, meaning the deal just added $175 million to his fortune.
6. Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus – $14 million (tie)
The ageless wonder of the West Coast turned in another strong year, boosted by new album Doggumentary, heavy touring and endorsements with companies from Metro PCS to Pepsi Max. Icing on the proverbial cake: A verse on Katy Perry’s smash hit “California Gurls.”
9. Aliuane “Akon” Thiam – $13 million
The Senegalese-American singer-songwriter-producer extraordinaire made it big on a string of international concerts from Australia to Zimbabwe, a lucrative World Cup spot with Pepsi, a host of business ventures and hit song “I Just Had Sex,” which has garnered over 115 million YouTube views since its December 2010 debut.
10. Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges – $12 million
The self-proclaimed Mouth of the South makes money from much more than just music. This year (2011), he earned big on movie roles including Fast Five, No Strings Attached and New Year’s Eve, as well as endorsements with Tag body spray and Trojan condoms. He also struck partnership deals to launch Soul By Ludacris headphones and a cognac called Conjure.
11. Wiz Khalifa (tie) – $11 million
11. Drake (tie) – $11 million
13. Pharrell Williams – $10 million
14. Timbaland – $7 million
15. Swizz Beatz (tie) – $6.5 million
15. Nicki Minaj (tie) – $6.5 million
17. Rick Ross (tie) – $6 million
17. 50 Cent (tie) – $6 million
17. Pitbull (tie) – $6 million
20. T-Pain (tie) – $5 million
20. B.o.B (tie) – $5 million
[See full list on Forbes.com]