Wealth has always been a classic subject for hip-hop tracks. The rap genre was born from the disenfranchisement felt by minorities living in poverty during the later half of the 20th century, so making braggadocios claims about escaping said poverty and living a lavish lifestyle is basically a musical victory lap. But in reality, there are relatively few rappers who deserve to make such declarations. For each artist who makes millions and reaches the masses, there are a thousand SoundCloud rappers who never extend beyond their circle of friends and listeners. But alternatively, those who do make it large in the industry can make absolute bank. Here’s a rundown of the top 10 richest hip-hop artists walking the planet today.
He may be the rap industry’s most notorious scumbag, but Bryan ‘Birdman’ Williams is still sitting on a $110 million nest egg. A co-founder of Cash Money records and the initial mentor to fellow rapper Lil Wayne, Birdman has made his millions through his own rap albums as well as openly exploiting those who work for him. His longstanding feuds with Lil Wayne, Drake and Nikki Minaj has only boosted his financial standings.
Snoop Dogg: Net Worth – $130 million
One of the realest OGs left, Snoop Dogg rolls pretty with approximately $130 million in the bank. After a nearly twenty-year career of making classic rap anthems, hopping from one record label to another and even converting to Rastafarianism at one point, Snoop is probably one of the most recognizable rappers in the world right now. In recent years, he’s branched out to other venues such as acting, reality show hosting and even took time out of his schedule to break the world record for the largest gin and juice ever made.
Ice Cube: Net Worth – $140 million
One of the first mainstream rappers and a member of the historic N.W.A. rap group, Ice Cube has accumulated somewhere around $140 million between his hip-hop subsidies, his clothing line, his self-promoted baseball league and, of course, his numerous film exploits. Cube was the creative mind behind the birth of mainstream rap, writing most of the landmark Straight Outta Compton album. He’s also known to work as a sports commentator and an architectural consultant in his free time.
Lil Wayne: Net Worth – $150 million
With about $150 million to his name, Lil Wayne is the fourth wealthiest rapper in the world currently. His standing may have been higher, but his befuddling beef with Birdman and Cash Money Records has cost him dearly since 2014. Even more unfortunately, it looks like Lil Wayne may still be thinking about retiring before he finally releases the long-awaited Tha Carter V.
Kanye West: Net Worth – $160 million
Recent unfortunate comments aside, it’s fair to say that Kanye West has become one of the most influential figures not just in hip-hop but in all of popular culture, and he has a net worth of $160 million to show for it. West was a noted and sought-after beat maker in the industry for years before mentor Jay-Z gave him the courage to pursue a legitimate rap career. Little did either of them know that West’s fragmented style, emphasis on the human voice and skewering lyricism would be the key to global stardom.
Eminem: Net Worth – $190 million
Eminem might not be a businessman and may be one of the most controversial rappers alive, but he’s the best selling rapper of all time and sold more albums domestically in the 2000s than any other artist in any genre at the time, leaving him with a healthy net worth of around $190 million. The reclusive Marshall Mathers has made cemented his place on rap’s metaphorical Mount Rushmore by combining the base and graphic subjects with deceptively clever lyrics and hypnotizing beats.
Master P: Net Worth – $250 million
Aside from rapping, Master P has made his $250 million from professional basketball, producing, acting and some surprisingly shrewd business maneuvers. Master P got his start from a $10,000 inheritance from his grandfather. Seeing the retail potential of the burgeoning rap movement, P bought a record store which he eventually evolved into No Limit Records, one of the most successful rap labels in the industry.
Dr. Dre: Net Worth – $770 million
An original member of the progenitor rap group N.W.A., Dr. Dre has always been known more for his producing. Still, he made seminal rap album The Chronic, helped hip-hop godfather Eazy-E find his voice and founded Aftermath Entertainment, responsible for discovering and producing the likes of Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Xzibit, and Eminem. Add to that his insanely lucrative Beats by Dre headset line and the good doctor walks away with a net worth of $770 million.
Diddy: Net Worth – $825 million
When he’s not busy making hip-hop tracks and trying to think of new stage names, Diddy a.k.a. P Diddy a.k.a. Puff Daddy a.k.a. Puff a.k.a. Love a.k.a. Sean Combs is usually designing clothes for his successful fashion line. Between making music, producing it, cameoing in films and the designer fashion industry, Diddy has accrued a net worth of $825 million, enough for him and his extended family to live in opulent luxury.
Jay-Z: Net Worth – $900 million
For the last several years, Jay-Z, Diddy, and Dr. Dre have been in a friendly competition to be the wealthiest rapper alive. Overtime, each of them has held the title, but Jay-Z is the current winner with a net worth of $900 million. Apart from making some of the most influential albums of all time and holding the record for most number one albums by a solo act, Jay-Z also owns and operates several business ventures, including his personal pet project: the Tidal streaming platform.