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Dr. Dre Tops Forbes’ List of Highest-Earning Hip-Hop Artists

By / 09.05.12

Forbes released its annual list of hip-hop “cash kings” today, and the No. 1 spot is occupied by Dr. Dre. The Doc earned $110 million in pre-tax earnings last year, thanks largely to a staggering $100 million in compensation from the handset maker HTC, which bought 51% of his Beats by Dr. Dre headphone company last year. Dre, by the way, hasn't released a solo album in 13 years, and “Detox” still doesn't have a firm release date. Now, we can see why he's not killing himself to work on it. 

No. 2 on the list is P. Diddy, who brought in $45 mil, mainly through sales of his vodka Ciroc (“and Sprite on a private flight“). Jay-Z ranks at No. 3 with $38 million earned in 2011, and like Diddy and Dre, the majority of his earnings come from ownership stakes in companies, not album sales.

The rest of the Top 10:

4. Kanye West: $35 million

5. Lil Wayne: $27 million

6. Drake: $20.5 million

7. Birdman: $20 million

8. Nicki Minaj: $15.5 million

9. Eminem: $15 million

10. Ludacris: $12 million

Go to Forbes to see the rest of the top 20.

One final note on the list:  we featured Forbes' list of top-earning DJs a couple of weeks ago, and it seems that the EDM guys still have a good ways to go before reaching the rappers. The combined income of Tiesto, Skrillex, and Swedish House Mafia—the top 3 on that list—is $51 million, $142 million less than the rappers' top 3. 

Still, I do think they're going to be okay.


TAGSforbesforbes highest earning rappersHip hopRap
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