Those mentioned above have changed the game and made millions outside the industry and other industries such as fashion, real estate, and liquor. According to Greenberg, the “annual income for this year’s top two is up more than tenfold from ten years ago.”
“Hip-Hop has, and always will, set trends,” explains the founder of the creative agency Bright Ideas Only, Kim Kaupe. “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.”
Keep on reading to learn more about the top earners.
Jay-Z Tops The List
Topping the list is the iconic rapper and cash king Jay-Z, who pulled a whopping $470million. This amount was the most significant annual sum of his career.
The mogul added to his net worth by selling his streaming platform TIDAL to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey for $297million. This deal put Jay as one of Dorsey’s board of directors.
Jay also sold half of his Ace Of Spades champagne line to luxury giant LVMH for a reported $600million. According to Forbes, the deal earned the rapper a cash payment of at least $600million.
“We were always looking to grow this brand and this happened very naturally,” the 51-year-old spoke of the partnership at the time. “Just the idea of this partnership is a signal to a more diverse way of looking at things.”
List creator Greenberg revealed on Twitter that Jay’s “What you call money, I pay more in taxes” line wasn’t just an empty boast.
“Even if you assume he paid the capital gains rate of 20% on the bulk of his income after selling centimillion-dollar stakes in Tidal & [Armand de Brignac], he’ll pay Uncle Sam more than any hip-hop act earned (other than Ye).”
Ye Comes In A Close Second To Jay-Z
Kanye West is coming in second on the list, earning $250million in 2021 due to his Yeezy footwear empire.
The Chicago native also saw items from his 10-year partnership with Gap sell out in a few minutes while also relishing the commercial success of his “Donda” album.
Most of Ye’s financial worth resides in assets–$21 million in land and $81 million in properties. The enigmatic artist’s team listed $35 million in stocks and $17 million in cash.
Ye’s 2022 is off to a great start, having pulled over $2million in less than a week from his $200 stem player, through which he’s exclusively rolling out his new album “Donda 2.”
Last month, Ye released his first drop from his Yeezy Gap line, which included $180 sweatpants, $440 denim jackets, and $240 hoodies.
Diddy Is Third On The List With Drake And Wiz Khalifa Coming in Fourth And Fifth
The former hip-hop Cash King, Sean Diddy Combs, sits on the third number with $75milion.
The Bad Boy Records boy has continued to amass a reported eight-figure salary from his partnership with Diageo’s Ciroc and his collaboration with sophisticated brands such as Pandora, Dolce, and Gabbana.
Jay-Z, Ye, and Diddy’s combined earnings accrue to almost $800 million, while the entire top ten pulled off over $1billion. This was a near doubling of their pre-pandemic earnings.
Outside of the top three, Drake’s record-setting “Certified Lover Boy” pushed his 2021 earnings to $50millon. He also struck endorsement deals with big brands such as Apple, Sprite, and Nike and has ownership stakes in the Virginia Black whiskey and Toronto Raptors NBA franchise.
Pittsburgh native Khalifa rounds up the top five, pocketing $45million by selling his catalog and venturing into legal cannabis with various products, including his own Khalifa Kush.
In a statement announcing his brand, Khalifa made his stance on marijuana known, stating that his company was to help “raise awareness and end cannabis prohibition nationwide.”
Doja Cat Is The Only Female On The List
Doja Cat, the only woman on the list, comes in at 10th place with Birdman and Tech, no thanks to her endorsement deals with Candy Crush, Pepsi, and her international presence.
“Doja is unapologetically self-expressed and the world loves her for it,” says Vice President at artist management firm Rebel, Adriana Arce.
For the new year, Cat and Eek! Games have teamed up to create a side story with “House Story.” Although she’s not the first public figure to do it, she’s the first black public figure to do so.
Fans can only expect a shoot-up of Cat’s earnings and net worth with more money moves like this.