Thanks to a handful of high-stakes tours and corporate moves, it’s been a big few years for the hip-hop and R&B cash cows. Dr. Dre almost cleared a billion upon Apple acquiring his Beats Music brand and Diddy is storming off with Revolt and a new alkaline water company. And while Jay Z‘s TIDAL acquisition seems like a flop, the guy has one of the most diverse investment portfolios in the entertainment business, so he’s not going anywhere.
With all of that in mind, read on for our list of the most bankable hip-hop and R&B acts in the industry.
While Dr. Dre and Diddy might be a couple hundred million dollars ahead of Hov’s net worth, when we think about businessmen in the music industry, Jay Z’s name comes up. With his management, publishing, and live event company Roc Nation taking over the world, Jay doesn’t have to worry so much about TIDAL’s stumbling start. Thanks to Roc Nation, his just-acquired champagne brand, and a handful of other business deals, Jay Z is now reportedly worth some $550 million, according to Forbes.
Can you say power couple? Last year, Beyonce and Jay Z’s collective “On The Run” tour grossed over $100 million in ticket sales, which is not too bad for a 19-stop trip around the continent. (For reference, rumor has it that the couple was taking home about $4 million a show, according to Billboard.) But Beyonce is very much an independent woman, and despite Jay Z’s swelling net worth, her own bank account is almost as overflowing. According to Forbes, Bey has something like $250 million to her name.
Unlike most of the rest of this list, you’re not seeing Dr. Dre in the public eye very often. 2015 has been a big year for the guy though, and despite rumors that he became hip-hop’s first billionaire after Apple acquired Beats Music in 2014, his real net worth is closer to $700 million or so. Most of that money did indeed come from the hugely successful Beats brand, but this year’s he adding onto the tally with his first album in more than a decade and a N.W.A. biopic that will no doubt net him some scratch as a producer.
At 45-years old, Sean “Diddy” Combs is hip-hop’s richest man. Worth a reported $735 million as of this May, according to Forbes, Diddy amassed a huge net worth thanks to a handful of business deals. While Bad Boy Records might have earned him his initial pile of cash, Diddy’s TV network REVOLT and investments into the water, vodka, and tequila companies Aquahydrate, Ciroc, and DeLeon respectively, have earned him his second-act millions.
His ongoing rift with Lil Wayne might be the reason his name has been in the headlines this year, but Birdman is still very much in charge of his own Rich Gang. With Cash Money as his cash cow, Birdman is now worth something like $150 million, according to Forbes. We’ll have to wait and see what all these rapper lawsuits against the label mean in the end, but with Young Thug on his side, he’s probably got plenty of gas left in him.
Even though some of his recent music might not be a fit for the charts, nobody in the industry can drum up more excitement about new material. It’s also been a little while since Ye went on a full-out tour, but back in 2013 he grossed some $25 million across 18-dates with Yeezus.
Not unlike his mentor Dr. Dre, Eminem has largely retreated from public life. But when Em comes out into the light, he makes sure it’s more than worth it. Last year Slim Shady clocked something like $31 million, according to Forbes. A lot of that money came thanks to sharing a national tour bill alongside Rihanna, which earned Em nearly $5 million a night over six dates last year.
While the rest of us are waiting for Rihanna to release new music, she’s busy touring, posing for magazine covers, and constantly fueling rumors about who it is she’s dating. She also just unveiled her new collaboration with Puma, and all of that work adds up to a net worth of at least a hundred million dollars, if not twice that.
We don’t need a number to know that Nicki Minaj is killing the game, and while her net worth isn’t as available (or under as much public scrutiny) as some of the other names on this list, she’s definitely holding her own. For reference, Nicki’s just-finished Pink Print tour, which was basically a traveling Summer Jam given all the high-profile artists tagging along, sold nearly 300,000 tickets and grossed $13 million in the process.
Okay, Justin Bieber isn’t a rapper…or is he? Regardless of whether or not Biebs’ raps are legitimate (check out Travis Scott’s new album Rodeo to find out), he’s definitely a R&B/pop icon by now, and the sold-out tours and #1 singles have paved the road to a $200 million net worth.
Drake‘s influence might outweigh some of the other rappers on this list, but he’s got a long way to go to catch up with the richest of the rich. Still, Drizzy definitely isn’t hurting: Drake earned $10.5 million in 2013 and then $33 million the next year, according to Forbes. “Know yourself, know your worth!”
If you Google J. Cole‘s net worth, you’ll probably end up at a lyric he rapped on his second album, Born Sinner: “Beyonce told me she want to cop the blue Bugatti / That shit is more than what I’m worth / I think she knew it probably / Well this is awkward.” But don’t let that line from a couple years back fool you, Jermaine is doing just fine. Cole might not be making a million dollars a show, but he’s well into the six-figure range, and while he might still leave the Bugatti on the lot, he’s definitely worth as much as that $2.5 million whip by now and earned something like $7 million last year.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis popped back from a year off with a new corny-as-ever video called “Downtown” about a month ago, but no matter how many people are cracking jokes about the clip, the Seattle duo are probably laughing their way to the bank. Last year Macklemore and Lewis were in the top five highest earners among their hip-hop peers, taking home $32 million in 2014, according to Forbes. Not bad.
On top of his music, Justin Timberlake has endorsement deals with Bud Light, Sony, and Sauza tequila to thank for his raking in more than $63.5 million last year alone. He also released two albums in a single year, so maybe he’ll be riding that 20/20 wave for a while.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a proper Lil Wayne moment: his last mixtape-cum-album Free Weezy Album kind of flopped while his long-anticipated final Carter record is still being held up by Birdman and company. Still, Weezy has been at it for years, and his fans will always come out to see him live. In 2013 Wayne made something like $23 million and last year his tour alongside Drake pulled in some of the highest price per ticket of any tour around. If he can just get this Carter V album out he’ll be set for a few more years.
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