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The World's Top Ten Richest Hip-Hop Artists

As the world reverberates to news of the US$3 billion sale of Dr Dre’s Beats Electronics to Apple, unveils hip-hop’s rich list as this musical art form continues its epic journey from pavement to penthouse.


Dr Dre wearing his trademark headphones. 

After weeks of speculation, Silicon Valley giant Apple has finally gone official on its purchase of headphones company Beats Electronics, for US$3 billion.

The news will come as a relief for the company’s co-founder and poster child Andre Young, better known as Dr Dre, who (perhaps rather prematurely) announced on a video that went viral two weeks ago, his updated status as “the first billionaire in hip-hop, right here on the motherf______ West Coast”.

While the buyout will not see him propelled into billionaire territory just yet, the US$3 billion sale will catapult the good doctor to the status of the world’s wealthiest hip-hop artist. With an estimated net worth of US$790 million, the Aftermath Entertainment founder beats Puff Daddy (yes, his name is back to Puff Daddy, for now) into second spot.

Combined, the top 10 wealthiest hip-hop artists have total assets of more than US$3 billion.

These music moguls have made fortunes through lucrative album sales and record labels, but they also all have sideline businesses, ranging from fashion brands to phone-sex companies. Some are also heavily endorsed by brands and businesses.

And many of these gods of hip-hop are major philanthropists in their own right, championing inner-city education and humanist causes, in particular Jay-Z, Puff Daddy and Eminem. unveils the top 10 wealthiest hip-hop artists on the planet, using up-to-the-minute data compiled exclusively by Wealth-X, the global authority on the world’s ultra-high-net-worth individuals.

Andre Romelle Young — AKA Dr Dre
Net worth: US$790 million
Age: 49
Sideline business: Co-founder of extremely valuable headphones company Beats Electronics.
Philanthropy: With business partner Jimmy Iovine, Young donated US$70 million to establish The Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation at the University of Southern California

Sean John Combs — AKA Puff Daddy, formerly P Diddy, formerly Puffy, originally Puff Daddy (he was Diddy at one point too)
Net worth: US$630 million
Age: 44
Sideline businesses: Owns cable TV network Revolt and lifestyle fashion brand Sean John; stakeholder in Ciroc Vodka.
Philanthropy: Donated US$250,000 to the Howard University’s School of Business (which gave him an honorary degree after he dropped out); ran the New York City Marathon, raising US$2 million for charities, including New York’s public schools, children suffering from AIDS, and his own charity to promote social programmes; on the board of the Hip Hop Summit Action Network not-for-profit organisation for education advocacy and youth empowerment.

Shawn Corey Carter — AKA Jay-Z
Net worth: US$500 million
Age: 44
Sideline businesses: Owns sports-bar chain 40/40 Club; an investor in Israeli wireless tech company Duracell Powermat; and a stakeholder in fragrance firm Perfumania.
Philanthropy: Owns the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation, which has awarded scholarships worth US$1.1 million to 750 students; pledged US$1 million to the American Red Cross relief effort post Hurricane Katrina; pledged US$5,000 each to six schools in New York and New Jersey, and US$5,000 to The 100 Mile Man Foundation; and supports a host of other community and educational charities.

50 Cent has nearly a quarter of a billion in net worth

Curtis James Jackson III — AKA 50 Cent
Net worth: US$240 million
Age: 38
Sideline businesses: Owns G-Unit Clothing; has released several PlayStation games; and has appeared in films, including the semi-autobiographical movie Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
Philanthropy: Founder of the G-Unity Foundation; supports Shriners Hospital for Children and the New York Restoration Project.

Bryan Williams — AKA Birdman
Net worth: US$230 million
Age: 45
Sideline businesses: Has signed a publishing venture, Cash Money Content, with Simon & Schuster to produce books; claimed to have purchased an oil rig (although this was reportedly disproven); and has a clothing line called YMCMB (Young Money Cash Money Billionaires).
Philanthropy: Reportedly pledged to donate US$50,000 to a school charity last year.

Marshall Bruce Mathers III — AKA Eminem, Slim Shady
Net worth: US$190 million
Age: 41
Sideline businesses: Starred in movie 8 Mile and has made cameo appearances in television and film; has his own radio channel, Shade 45 on Sirius XM Radio.
Philanthropy: Runs the Marshall Mathers Foundation and the Eight Mile Boulevard Foundation; supports and Small Steps Project; has donated more than US$200,000 to Detroit children’s charity Wolverine Human Services.

Percy Robert Miller — AKA Master P
Net worth: US$170 million
Age: 44
Sideline businesses: Of all the hip-hop moguls, Miller is the most entrepreneurial; has released a self-help book called Guaranteed Success; contracted as an NBA player on two teams; bought a real-estate company and a gas station; set up the No Limit clothing line; bought a phone-sex company; invested in car rims, fast-food franchises and book publishing and launched a sports management firm.
Philanthropy: Set up P Miller Youth Centers and his P Miller Food Foundation for the Homeless; has co-hosted an event with Michelle Obama for anti-obesity.

Kanye Omari West — AKA Yeezus
Net worth: US$110 million
Age: 36
Sideline businesses: West’s other ventures are mainly fashion lines, including collaborations with Nike, Adidas and Louis Vuitton.
Philanthropy: The Kanye West Foundation closed in 2011, reportedly due to lack of actual donations; has appeared at fundraisers and done community work for Hurricane Katrina relief and other foundations.

Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr — AKA Snoop Dogg
Net worth: US$110 million
Age: 42
Sideline businesses: Launched film production company Snoopadelic Films; has appeared in many films, including The Wash and Bones; also starred in many television shows.
Philanthropy: Runs the Snoop Youth Football League to bring the game of American football to underprivileged inner-city children.

Dwayne Michael Carter Jr — AKA Lil Wayne
Net worth: US$100 million
Age: 31
Sideline businesses: Carter has launched a clothing line, Trukfit, and dabbled in acting; he signed his first big endorsement with Pepsi’s Mountain Dew in 2012, although this was withdrawn last year after his lyrics compared a brutal racist murder to sex.
Philanthropy: Carter founded and is president of the One Family Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to youth empowerment, which paid at least US$150,000 to rebuild Harrell Park, after it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and US$200,000 to rebuild the local community centre; in 2011, Carter gave away approximately 500 turkeys to hungry families for Thanksgiving.