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Monday, August 15, 2011

Jay-Z, Kanye West, Diddy Top Forbes Hip-Hop List


Jay-Z and Kanye West are already poised to seize the top of the charts with Watch the Throne. But before the final sales figures are even tabulated, the superstar hip-hop duo are already rap's top cops, thanks to their #1 and #3 ranking on the Forbes Hip-Hop's Top Earners list.

Entrepreneur Jigga earned the first spot with more than $37 million in earnings, just outpacing another serious multi-hyphenate, Diddy, who was no joke just behind at $35 million. It's the fourth time Jay has worn the Cash Kings crown in the past five years. Kanye was a bit further behind at #3 with a not-too-shabby $16 million.

How did Jay do it? Partly from the earnings for his Blueprint 3 Tour, a major 10-year, $150 million deal with Live Nation, as well as his ownership stakes in the NBA's New Jersey Nets, his 40/40 club chain and the ad firm Translation. Interestingly, this also marks the first time he's outearned wife Beyoncé since they married in 2008.

Zack O'Malley Greenburg, Forbes staff writer and author of the Jay-Z biography "Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office," said Jay has become the "gold standard" to which hip-hop artists aspire when it comes to mixing business and music. "I'd put Diddy and Birdman up there too, but Jay is always at the top of the Cash Kings list because he makes brilliant business moves but keeps putting out relevant music," he told MTV News. "Others [on the list] are more one or the other, but he keeps doing both."

Diddy's cash came mostly from his stakes in the clothing lines Sean John and Enyce, his Bad Boy record label and marketing firm Blue Flame. In fact, only 20 percent of his earnings were from music, with the vast majority coming from his lucrative partnership with Ciroc vodka.

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Jay-Z, Kanye West, Diddy Top Forbes Hip-Hop List
 

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