Society: Shem’s Idle Notes: Forbes Hip Hops Top Ten Earners

The 2011 Forbes Hip Hop Cash Kings list was released last year, and 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.

The 2011 Forbes Hip Hop Cash Kings list was released last year, and 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.

At numbers 2 and 3 on the Forbes list are Diddy and Kanye West with $35 million and $16 million, respectively. Lil Wayne and Birdman are on number 4 with $15 million.

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.

Here is the complete list according to Forbes, showing how much the rappers earned over the past year, and their net worth.

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.
9. Aliuane “Akon” Thiam – $13 million

The Senegalese-American singer-songwriter-producer extraordinaire caked up 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 debut.
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.”
6. Andre “Dr. Dre” Young – $14 million (tie)

Net Worth: $125 million (as of March 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 and Beats by Dre, HP laptop line, his lucrative headphone venture with Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine.

 6. Marshall “Eminem” Mathers – $14 million (tie)
He doesn’t tour as much as many rappers and his outside business interests are limited, but music alone was enough to blast him back into the upper reaches of the FORBES 2011 list. His album Recovery sold 5.7 million copies worldwide and earned 10 Gramm nominations. He added to his coffers with Super Bowl spots for Lipton and Chrysler.

4. Bryan “Birdman” Williams –  $15 million (tie)

Net Worth: $100 million (as of March 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 this year because most rappers on the list have a similar job description.

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.

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.

2. Sean “Diddy” Combs – $35 million

Net Worth: $475 million (as of March 2011)

Music now accounts for less than 20% of earnings for the artist formerly known as Puff Daddy, thanks to big stakes in clothing lines Sean John and Enyce, record label Bad Boy and marketing firm Blue Flame. But it’s his Ciroc vodka deal that led Forbes to estimate his net worth at $475 million as of March 2011.

1.Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter – $37 million

Net Worth: $450 million (as of March2011)

The Hip-hop’s 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 the business of hip-hop, check out Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office.

The next ten top earners according to Forbes, for the year 2011 are:

 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


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