Nicki Minaj—$75 Million
Nicki Minaj remains one of the world’s top-earning women in entertainment and is the only female rapper on this list. She juggles a string of lucrative businesses and endorsements from the likes of Pepsi and OPI and also earns payouts from her chart-topping albums and incessant touring.
Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley is a front-runner for the 100-million-dollar club, thanks to his vast music catalog, in-demand production services, and diverse group of talented pop collaborators. He also owns a recording studio, Thomas Crown Studio, in Virginia Beach.
It’s not that Birdman hasn’t had money troubles. In 2016, Lil Wayne sued his record company, Cash Money Records, over unpaid royalties. It’s just that they don’t seem to have made a dent in Birdman’s high net worth. Attorneys finally settled the $51 million suit in June 2018, with Wayne agreeing to what was reportedly a fifth of the original amount. And with stars Drake and Nicki Minaj on board, Birdman is sure to keep seeing the money roll in. He and his partner, brother Ronald “Slim” Williams, also added a YMCMB clothing line and GT Vodka to the mix.
Drake may someday go down as the wealthiest Canadian hip-hop artist of all time. Although Drizzy is nowhere near the financial levels of Jay Z and Dr. Dre, he’s been gradually and steadily building his case. The rapper earns a majority of his income from touring, record sales, and endorsements with the likes of Sprite, Nike, and Apple Music.
Eminem doesn’t have a ridiculously lucrative business venture like his mentor Dr. Dre. What Slim Shady does have, though, is enough to guarantee an enviable bank account. His revenue stems largely from record sales, sold-out arena tours, and performance fees. He also runs a moderately successful record label, Shady Records, which claims Slaughterhouse, Bad Meets Evil, and Yelawolf as part of its talent-heavy roster.
LL Cool J—$110 million
The man born James Todd Smith has amassed more than a cool hundred million, thanks to his music sales and lucrative acting deals. He earned $150,000 per episode of “NCIS: Los Angeles” for his role as Special Agent Sam Hanna, and his movie work includes parts in “Deep Blue Sea,” “Rollerball,” and “Grudge Match,” just to name a few. LL is also a burgeoning tech investor. One of his early start-ups is Boomdizzle. Its flagship product, My Connect Studio, helps power collaboration by allowing musicians to record, upload, and edit music in real time.
Snoop Dogg—$135 million
Even if he never drops another album, Snoop Dogg, aka Snoop Lion and Snoopzilla, will always be one of the coolest rappers around. Snoop’s laid-back personality lends an attractive vibe to his marketing prospects. He’s still an in-demand collaborator, and he continues to grow his fortune in and out of the studio. In addition to continually putting out hit records, Snoop has served as a pitchman for companies like Airbnb and Hot Pockets.
Skateboard P’s range of assets and investments are as diverse as his musical toolkit. Pharrell has a couple fashion lines and an enviable production catalog. Before he left the show in 2016, he also had a distinguished seat as a sometime-judge on one of the most popular shows in America, “The Voice”.
Lil’ Wayne—$150 million
Show of hands if you remember when Lil’ Wayne was just a prepubescent puppy running around with the big dogs? Through years of grind and maturation, he’s evolved into a household name. Unlike many of the names on this list, Weezy’s earnings stem primarily from his music. He charges a hefty performance fee that reportedly ranges from $300,000 to $500,000, tours relentlessly, and moves millions of record units.
Kanye West—$160 million
Rapper. Producer. Designer. Kanye West does it all. And with so many irons in the fire, Ye, as he now likes to be called, has multiple avenues to generate revenue. Sure, he’s controversial. He interrupts award speeches, reportedly micromanages his wife Kim Kardashian’s look from head to toe, and makes appearances on Saturday Night Live singing the praises of Donald Trump. Still, there’s no denying that he’s also an incredibly savvy businessman. West earns a substantial amount from record sales, sold-out tours like his Yeezus experience, production work, and GOOD Music projects. In 2013, the Louis Vuitton Don left severed ties with Nike and signed a multi-million dollar deal with Adidas for his Yeezy line of sneakers.
Master P—$250 million
How is it that Master P is one of the richest rappers in the world, despite not having released a relevant single in over a decade? That’s because he’s pretty much the godfather of the independent-label hustle. P built his No Limit empire in the 1990s, and a host of other labels would eventually follow his blueprint. But it wasn’t just about music. The No Limit emporium grew to include a clothing line, a film production company, a video game company, and a luxurious travel agency.
Dr. Dre—$770 million
Dr. Dre gained a massive influx of points on the richest rappers list, thanks to Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics for a reported $3 billion in 2014. Forbes estimated that Dre earned around $620 million from the sale—the largest annual payday of any musician in history. Dre also racks in cash from extensive music recording catalog which includes decades of royalties. And the NWA biopic “Straight Outta Compton,” which he helped executive-produce, only helped Doc’s bankroll grow.
Call him Diddy, Puff Daddy, or Sean Combs. Better yet, call him Money Making Mitch. Whatever you call him, Diddy has built a lasting reputation as a shrewd businessman with an impressive portfolio. His deal with Diageo’s Ciroc Vodka drives most of his earnings. The Bad Boy founder has also added other ventures like DeLeon Tequila, Aquahydrate, Blue Flame, and Revolt TV. And, believe it or not, Sean John clothing is still going strong.
Jay-Z’s No. 1 spot shouldn’t surprise anyone. He has been one of the wealthiest rappers over the last decade or so, but what made him overtake Diddy is the rise in value of his Armand d Brignac champagne and D’Usse cognac. Additional business ventures include Roc Nation, Roc Nation Sports, and the subscription-based music streaming service, Tidal. Oh, and he’s also married to Beyoncé, no slouch in the net worth department as well, even though her assets are not included in Z’s $900 million.