Once again we look at who are the richest rappers of 2012 according to Forbes. Really not much as changed since our 2008 edition of the richest rappers, and as the old saying goes “the rich get richer”.
1. Dr. Dre – $110 million
Dre doesn’t even have to put out Detox, he makes the bulk of his money pushing Beats By Dre headphones, which received $300 million for a 51% stake by HTC (Dre and his partners bought back half that).
2. Diddy – $45 million
We’ve seen a resurgence of Bad Boy Records over the last year with acts like French Montana and Machine Gun Kelly making noise. But the lion share of Diddy’s income comes from his Sean John line, his 50% stake in Ciroc Vodka (you know those ads you see before every Rick Ross video?) and from screwing over his artists.
3. Jay-Z – $38 million
Jay-Z Watch The Throne tour with Kanye West grossed $48.3 million, which Jay-Z likely saw a nice cut off. Also he has sponsorship deals with Duracell, Budweiser and he still has a stake in Rocawear even though he sold the license rights in 2007 (But Rocawear maybe going bankrupt).
4. Kanye West – $35 million
Kanye’s Watch The Throne tour with Jay-z and his successful sneaker line Air Yeezy with Nike brought Ye’ his annual income.
5. Lil Wayne – $27 million
Carter IV going platinum in a week, his clothing line Trukfit and his deal with Mountain Dew.
6. Drake – $20.5 million
Club Paradise tour grossed $42 million, plus is sponsored by Sprite and Kodak.
7. Birdman – $20 million
Pretty much raped every artist on Cash Money/Young Money.
8. Nicki Mianj- $15.5 million
The Barbz breakout their purses to see Nicki perform, buy her albums and watch her drink Pepsi.
9. Eminem – $15 million
It may sound crazy but a chunk of Em’s fortune is still of album sales. He’s what only the second highest selling rapper of all time.
10. Ludacris – $12 million
Just because Luda as “a rapper” isn’t hot anymore don’t think he’s not getting paid from his own line of headphones, cognac, and film roles.
11. Pitbull – $9.5 million
You can’t turn on top 40 radio without hearing Mr. 305 and those royalty checks add up. Also factor in deals with Dr. Pepper and Kodak, the latter which placed Pitbull’s mug on a massive billboard in Times Square.
12. Rick Ross – $9 million
For all Ross’ talk of defecating into 24 karat gold toilets and being one of the most active musically as both an artist and as CEO of Maybach Music Group, he’s only made $9 million this year which ties him with the less active and probably high Wiz Khalifa.
13. Wiz Khalifa – $9 million
Wiz’s annual take comes off his merchandise and album sales.
14. Snoop Dogg- $8.5 million
Snoop’s still living off past album sales, tours and endorsements and who know how much (or less) money he’ll make when he transforms into the reggae artist Snoop Lion.
15. 50 Cent – $7.5 million
Oh how the mighty have fallen: To think in 2008, Fifty made $150 million (largely off Vitamin Water). Nowadays 50’s banking off his movie deal with Lion’s Gate, his SMS headphone line, Street King Energy drinks and most likely royalties from “In Da Club’.
16. Swizz Beatz – $7 million
His deal with car manufacture Lotus and Reebok, plus his publishing from DMX’s highly successful catelogue.
17. Pharrell – $7 million
His Billionaire Boys Club clothing line and liquor line Qream.
18. Young Jeezy – $7 million
Surprisingly, Jeezy’s last album TM103 pushed 500k units, in addition his touring sales are not too bad.
19. Mac Miller – $6.5 million
His album Blue Slide Park was the first album to crack the Billboard 100 in a decade and his touring sales keep Mac aspiring to hit Donald Trump numbers.
20. Akon – $6 million
Two words: Lady Gaga.
21. Timbaland – $6 million
C’mon Timbaland still eating of Justin Timberlake.
22. Tech N9ne – $6 million
Even though he’s still indie, he’s done 200 tour dates this year and drops his albums on his own label.