Mansions, fast cars, and bling costs a hefty penny nowadays. A rapper must typically succeed outside of the microphone if they ever hope to make it into the 9-digit bank account territory. This list shows the richest rappers in early 2016.
Top 10 Richest Rappers
Andre “Dr. Dre” Young
Starting in 1984 with the World Class Wreckin’ Cru before forming N.W.A, Dr. Dre is the definition of rap mogul. Making money through royalties and touring as a rapper, he began to make significantly more money as he founded several Recording Studios and produced music with various artists. Death Row Records, which he co-founded with Suge Knight, is responsible for 2pac, Nate Dog, and Snoop Dogg. He then founded Aftermath Entertainment and found Eminem, who also is in this list. He later sold his share of Aftermeth to Interscope Records and earned roughly $52 million. He would continue to make money through royalties in projects he would produce but it wasn’t until 2014 where he sold Beats by Dre to Apple that catapulted him to the top of this list. Forbes termed this transaction as “the biggest single-year payday of any musician in history”. Apple paid a reported $3 billion for the Beats by Dre brand, which earned Dre a little for $300 million and helped beat out the second name on this list.
Sean “Diddy” Combs
As a rapper, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur, Sean “Diddy” Combs comes second on the list. Estimated at over $730 million, Combs also achieved success outside of the rap world. In 1998, he started the clothing line, Sean Jean, and won the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) award for Menswear Designer of the Year in 2004 after being nominated four years prior. The brand also acquired Enyce from Liz Claiborne in October 2008. In addition to his clothing line, Combs owned two restaurants named after his son, Justin’s though they’ve both closed down since. In October 2007, Combs helped develop the Ciroc Vodka brand and earned a 50 percent share of the profits. His most recent venture was a major equity stake in the television network, Revolt TV, which began broadcasting in 2014.
Shawn “Jay Z” Carter
Selling over 100 million records while receiving 21 Grammy Awards, Jay Z comes in at number 3 on this list. Outside of the music, Jay Z co-owns the 40/40 Club and is the co-creator of the clothing line Rocawear. He’s worked in the recording business as both president and co-founder before he founded Roc Nation. He also dabbles in the sports entertainment business as a founder of Roc Nation Sports. His networth is estimated between $515 – 650 million.
Began promoting music in his early 20s, Russell Williams co-founded Def Jam Records, the company responsible for signing artists like the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, and Run-D.M.C. He monetized his investment further by selling his stake in the company to Universal Music group for $100 million. Simmons currently sits in the range of $340 – 350 million.
Percy “Master P” Miller
Born in New Orleans, LA, Master P started his own label when he used the money from a malpractice settlement to open No Limit Records. The label began as a record store, but shortly became a well-known recording company after signing many artists who became popular in the late 90s. Miller himself was also a rapper who later turned into an actor, entrepreneur, investor, author, filmmaker, and philanthropist. His current net worth is just below Simmons’, $325 million.
Marshall “Eminem” Mathers II
Professionally known as “Eminem”, Mathers was discovered by Dr. Dre and went on to release The Slim Shady LP in early 1999 that went on to be multi-platinum. In 2000, he released The Marshall Mathers LP which is noted to be the fastest-selling album in rap history. After several successful albums, Interscope offered him his only label and founded Shady Records with Paul Rosenberg in late 1999. The label went on to sign D12, Obie Trice, and 50 Cent in joint efforts with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath label. Mathers also appears in various films and television shows such as 8 Mile (2002) and Entourage. He’s currently estimated between $160 – 210 million.
Ronald “Slim” Williams
Probably the least well known on the list, Williams was one of the two original members of Cash Money Records. Slim is actual the older brother to the well known “Birdman,” however without the catalog of hit songs to his name he doesn’t have the same fan fare. Due to his ownership of the Cash Money Label and working as an executive producer for a handful of the biggest names in hip hop (such as Lil Wayne) he is current net worth is believed to be in the range of $160 million.
Bryan “Birdman” Williams
Known by his stage name “Birdman” or “Baby”, Williams co-founded Cash Money Records with his brother Ronald “Slim” Williams. Birdman formed half of the duo Big Tymers as well as performing as a solo artist for much of his career. According to Forbes, he has an estimated net worth of $160 million.
Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter Jr
Also a recording artist from New Orleans, LA, Carter was the youngest member of the label Cash Money Records. His first solo album, Tha Block is Hot (1999), went on to sell over one million copies and followed the debut with many high-selling albums after. Carter went on to found Young Money Entertainment, which is responsible for many US number 1 albums. Current artists signed to the label include superstars such as Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Tyga. His estimated net worth is estimated at $150 million.
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson
Jackson is a New York-native American rapper, entrepreneur, actor, and investor. Discovered by Eminem and signed by Shady Records and Aftermath Entertainment, he quickly became one of the world’s bestselling rappers and rose to prominence with East Coast hip hop group G Unit. He went on to found G-Unit Records in 2003 and signed the other members of his group though his business career didn’t stop there. One of his first business ventures was investing in the beverage industry, particularly with Glaceau where he collaborated to create a vitamin enhanced water drink. The original drink was called “Formula 50” and he later worked with the company to create a new grape-flavored variant of VitaminWater. As a minority shareholder when Glaceau was purchased by Coca-Cola in 2007, Jackson earned just over $100 million from the deal after taxes. Though Jackson’s net worth has fluctuated tremendously in the last decade, he’s currently valued at up to $100 million.