Jay-Z Tops The Highest Paid Hip-Hop Artistes List For 2021

Jay-Z and Kanye West were the highest-earning hip-hop acts of 2021, according to a list compiled by former longtime Forbes editor Zack O’Malley Greenberg on Tuesday.

Jay topped the list with $470 million, after selling portions of his Tidal streaming service and Armand de Brignac champagne, bringing his net worth to $1.5 billion. Fellow billionaire Ye was second with $250 million for the year, almost entirely from his Yeezy footwear empire.

While the list is filled with other perennials like Diddy and Drake — there were some surprises. Rapper Tech N9ne is No. 10 due to a previously unreported digital-only eight-figure catalog deal. Wiz Khalifa cashed in on cannabis with a variety of products, including his Khalifa Kush (and also sold off a piece of his publishing in April). Meanwhile, Eminem and Cash Money Records co-founder Birdman defined passive wealth, reeling in major checks from their past work.

Despite hip-hop’s massive popularity — it accounts for 27.7% of U.S. music consumption, more than any other genre, according to MRC Data — as any financial advisor will tell you, the key to real wealth is diversity. “Hip-hop has, and always will, set trends,” says Kim Kaupe, founder of the creative agency Bright Ideas Only. “Brands realize they can no longer sit on the sidelines and test what ‘might’ work. They need to be in the mix testing partnerships and trends before they have the data to back it up.”

And while we’d question whether Doja Cat actually belongs on a hip-hop list, she did rack up a major branding deals with Pepsy and CandyCrush — and it’s good to see a female artist on there.

For more details, see the list in Vibe and Zogblog.

Jay-Z ($470 million)
Kanye West ($250 million)
Diddy ($75 million)
Drake ($50 million)
Wiz Khalifa ($45 million)
Travis Scott ($38 million)
DJ Khaled ($35 million)
Eminem ($28 million)
J. Cole ($27 million)
Birdman ($25 million, tie)
Doja Cat ($25 million, tie)
Tech N9ne ($25 million, tie)

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