Forbes has just released its annual list of richest Americans — plus ones to watch. In addition to the Forbes 400 that lists the highest-ranking billionaires in the U.S., the magazine has outlined the “Future 400,” which includes Diddy among other uber-wealthy businessmen in various fields who may soon make the Fortune 400 list. Forbes staff writer Zack O’Malley Greenburg has taken this occasion to question what other hip-hop moguls might make the Forbes 400, taking the minimum net worth required to crack this list of $1 billion as a benchmark. Seen through the lens of the rap world, there are only a few contenders according to him:
1. Sean “Diddy” Combs – Net Worth, $500 Million
Diddy has achieved his wealth in large part through his partnership with Ciroc vodka, which is itself nearing a $1 billion valuation. Diddy gets a cut of the company’s profits and some cash anytime Ciroc is sold. Dang — that’s a good deal. And of course, his clothing lines, music royalties, and personal appearances, etc. don’t hurt the bottom line. Mr. Combs is seen as most likely to break $1 billion first, not only because he has the most money, but also because the business model he has set up with Ciroc is genuinely lucrative.
2. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter – Net Worth, $450 Million
Jay-Z inked a $150 million deal with Live Nation in 2008, sold his Rocawear clothing line for $204 million in 2007, and of course continues to produce popular hit music which earns him lucrative royalties (unlike Diddy). Then there are his numerous side businesses ranging from his stake in the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets to his 40/40 chain of clubs. Still, with all that hustle Mr. Carter is $50 million behind the rapper-entrepreneur who has supposedly dubbed himself “Ciroc Obama.” That is no small amount of cash.