In the royal hip hop empire, there are no deficits or credit score downgrades among the Cash Kings.
There are however, collaborations. Almost as if in celebration of their Cash King status, Jay-Z and Kanye West released their long-awaited collaboration “Watch the Throne,” this week. Forbes reports that among the top earning rappers, Jay-Z is number one; his earnings this past month added up to $37 million while West came in third.
Jay-Z owes his year’s earning to the close of his Blueprint 3 Tour and vast selection of business ventures. In second was Diddy, who earned $35 million, about half of which came from his partnership with Diageo’s Ciroc Vodka. In third place, West made $16 million. His profits are sure to skyrocket this fall as he joins Jay-Z on a co-headlining tour.
The duo are “hip hop ambassadors,” according to Steve Stoute, chief of the branding firm Translation and author of The Tanning of America. Not only have they taken the production to the next level, they know how to reach a global crowd and launched their album around the world exclusively on Apple’s iTunes.
In fourth place, Lil Wayne tied with his mentor and label boss, Birdman. Just out of an eight-month jail sentence, he’s released an album and has performed from Buffalo to Vancouver, making about $15 million. Birdman tells Forbes that he has “billion dollar dreams,” and promised that they’ll be in the number one spot soon.
Swizz Beats earned the number 15 spot with $6.5 million. He wrote in an email to Forbes that he also plans to claim the number one spot.
Other rappers, such as newcomer to the list Wiz Khalifa in the number 11 spot, are just surprised and pleased to have made it to the top and proclaimed, “that’s what’s up!” Another newcomer is Nicki Minaj, who tied with Swizz Beats for the number 15 spot. Minaj also has the honor of becoming the first female rapper to ever land a spot among the Cash Kings.
In total, the top 20 Cash Kings made a combined $271 million from live shows, recorded music sales, endorsements and various entrepreneurial ventures. Thirteen of them earned $10 million or more. Earnings are determined based from the sum earned from May 2010 to May 2011 and originate from several different sources of data including Nielsen SoundScan, individual record labels and interviews.
Here’s the full list of the Top 20 Rappers:
Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter– $37 million
Sean “Diddy Combs–$35 million
Kanye West– $16 million
Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter and Birdman– $15 million
Marshall “Eminem” Mathers, Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, Snoog Dogg and Akon– $14 million
Ludacris– $12 million
Wiz Khalifa and Aubrey “Drake” Graham– $11 million
Pharrel Williams–$10 million
Timbaland– $7 million
Swizz Beats and Nicki Minaj– $6.5 million
Rick Ross, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Pitbull–$6 million
T-Pain and Bobby “B.o.B” Simmons, Jr. — $5 million