Hip-hop lyrics are often about “making it big” with little or nothing to work with. Most hip-hop artists have gone from rags to riches through their music. In the spirit of Forbes’ recent list of the top 5 wealthiest hip-hop artists, here is an extended list of hip-hop icons that mastered the art and struck gold. Click to see how they made their millions.
Missy Elliott – Net Worth: $50 million – The Pass Go: Missy made the majority of her fortune from music. She is the only female to have 6 albums certified platinum by the RIAA. She also founded the record label The Goldmind, Inc.
Queen Latifah – Net Worth: $50 million – The Pass Go: Often called hip-hop’s first lady, Queen Latifah made serious waves on the music scene. The now-Cover Girl model has also made colossal inroads in music, television, and artistic management with her company Flavor Unit.
Rihanna – Net Worth: $90 million – The Pass Go: Rihanna’s 7 studio albums and constant touring keep her soaring high financially. She is also the face of Vita Coco.
Kanye West – Net Worth: $120 million – The Pass Go: Kanye made a bundle when he designed shoe lines for Nike and Louis Vuitton. He also branched off into the fast-food business with his chain of Fatburger restaurants. He has just released a new album, Yeezus.
50 Cent – Net Worth: $140 million – The Pass Go: A big haul came from his sale of VitaminWater in 2007, but his own business G-Unit has made 50 Cent a brand in his own right. He also made some money on his video game Bulletproof and the movie based on his album Get Rich or Die Tryin’, which he starred in.
Birdman – Net Worth: $160 million – The Pass Go: Birdman cofounded Cash Money Records two decades ago with his brother Slim (Ronald Williams). Cash Money Records features artists such as Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Paris Hilton. He also came out with a line of Birdman-branded shoes.
Eminem – Net Worth: $180 million – The Pass Go: Eminem’s multi-millionaire status is due to the fact that he is consistently one of the world’s best-selling rappers. He was the best-selling artist of the 2000s and as of March he was named the sixth best overall selling artist in the United States. His other ventures include opening his own record label, Shady Records, and he starred in the drama film 8 Mile.
J Lo – Net Worth: $250 million – The Pass Go: Her stint on American Idol had her earning a $12 million salary. When she left the show, she replaced the earnings with a tour that grossed $1 million per night. She also started lifestyle clothing brand J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez.
Beyoncé – Net Worth: $350 million – The Pass Go: Beyoncé’s stint as brand ambassador for Pepsi earned her a large sum, but her work with H&M and her world tour also earned her a few mill.
Jay Z – Net Worth: $520 million – The Pass Go: A megadeal with Rocawear and a pact with Live Nation granted Jay Z a hefty fortune. He recently signed a deal with Samsung, opened up a sports agency, and has an album on the way, so we can expect this number to rise.
Dr. Dre – Net Worth: $550 million – The Pass Go: While he has cooled it on the music side of things, Dre’s success erupted when he cofounded the Beats by Dr. Dre headphones with record executive Jimmy Iovine in 2008. He owns 65% of the market share.
P. Diddy – Net Worth: $700 million – The Pass Go: P. Diddy is the wealthiest person in the hip-hop business. He founded his fortune mostly through non-musical ventures. Between his 50% share in Ciroc vodka, his Sean John clothing line, and his tv channel Revolt TV (which gives him a majority equity stake), this man will be rolling in dough ’til foeva, f’sho.
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