Being a hip-hop mogul is no joke. To be on the top, not only do artists have to produce quality rhymes, catchy beats and have the all-around image, but they need to have endorsements, clothing lines, vodka companies and beyond. On Sept. 22, Forbes released its annual list of highest paid hip-hop artists of 2015, and the results are more than surprising.
Number 20 on the list was Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, who earned $5.5 million in the past year. That amount is pocket change, though compared to some of the other rappers who topped the list.
Coming in at number 15 is Snoop Dogg, who made $10 million in the past year, followed by Birdman at number 10 with $18 million, despite his legal problems with his now nemesis, Lil’ Wayne this year. Being the only woman on the list, Nicki Minaj came in at number nine, which is not surprising because in the past year, Minaj has released a new album, The Pink Print, went on tour, was the new face of the Roberto Cavalli spring/summer 2015 campaign and also is a co-owner of Tidal, the music streaming service.
Eminem just barely made the top five with $31 million this past year. Pharrell Williams came in at number five with $32 million. Pharrel has always proven to the music world that he is more than just an musical artist. He was a judge on the popular television show The Voice and owns two clothing lines—Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream, which is evident from his sense of style.
Last year, the one and only Dr. Dre topped the Forbes list by making more than any musician ever with $620 million. Most of that money came from his selling of Beats to Apple. This year, though, Dr. Dre fell down a few slots, coming in at number four with $33 million. This year has been a big one for Dre, though, with his much anticipated album and he was a producer on his biopic, Straight Outta Compton. Despite his spot drop, he still is extremely wealthy and still collecting checks from Apple, though not as large.
Drake took the number three spot by making $39.5 million this year—the highest he has ever been. Drake is the only hip-hop artist on the list who has made most of his money simply from music. Drake has had a huge year, with his album If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late being extremely successful. Every time Drake performs, he makes around $1 million. He also has some help making it this high on the list from his work with Sprite and Nike, but it’s his sold out concerts that make him the money.
Coming in at second is the one and only Jay-Z. It’s obvious that Hova would be close to being the highest paid hip-hop artist and he moved up a spot from last year. Him and his equally-talented wife, Beyonce, toured the world full of sold out shows and he also invests in sports, Samsung and has his own clothing line. He’s quoted saying, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” This year Jay also become owner of Tidal, the subscription based music streaming service.
Last, but certainly not least, is Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy or Shawn Combs, whatever you feel like calling him, but it doesn’t matter, because he is number one on the list. Despite his name change, the hip-hop legend sits at this spot making $60 million just this year. He may not be as relevant in the actual music scene these days anymore, but his endorsements, companies and television network take care of all his earnings for him. Diddy is the owner of the not-so-cheap vodka brand, Ciroc, the extremely successful clothing line Sean John and the owner of the water brand Aquahydrate. Revolt is his newest venture—a cable channel which is being unveiled this fall through Time Warner and Comcast.
“You started learning how to count right, I see,” Diddy told Forbes. “Thank God!”