Hip-hop began as a hobby for many in the Bronx during the 1970s. It was experimental and fun. However, people quickly began to realise it was something far more significant. From street corners to stadiums, the genre has become a multi-billion dollar industry and now sees artists and labels make extraordinary amounts of money.
The music industry is a cutthroat business, and those who manage to reach a high level don’t necessarily stay there. Moreover, those who become rich quickly rarely stay wealthy for the rest of their lives. Many MCs see money and squander it, whether it’s on material goods or unnecessary vacations.
However, specific figures receive and reinvest the money in the most genius ways. Often, these kinds of artists hold on to their wealth and manage to generate more. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of hard work and the ability to spot a fantastic opportunity. However, if you do, it can sometimes see your money double.
Some young lyricists claim they are rich because they have a net worth of over $1million. However, the intelligent and strategic players in rap have net worths of over $500million. In this article we will see the 10 richest rappers in hip-hop today.
The 10 richest rappers in hip-hop:
10. Lil Wayne
As the man behind the Young Money label, Lil Wayne has not only seen an unfathomable amount of success himself but has helped launch the careers of some of the most successful rappers we know today, including the likes of Drake, Nicki Minaj and Tyga.
Lil Wayne has collaborated with several companies over his career that have earned him quite a lot of money. For instance, he partnered with Supra for his own trainer line and went into business with Dr Dre to produce his own line of Beats By Dre Pro Headphones dubbed the ‘Tunechi Beats’. However, he is most known as someone who gets a healthy cut of every cheque headed to Nicki Minaj, Drake or Tyga.
9. Master P
Louisiana rapper Master P is not only a legendary emcee but a respected record executive, actor and entrepreneur. As the founder of No Limit Records, once home to Snoop Dogg, Master P was one of the first truly independent hip-hop moguls.
The legend (real name Percy Miller) has his hand in television, movies, and professional wrestling and has a massive portfolio, including vast amounts of Floridiana real estate. The New Orleans native still has the rights to albums such as The Game Is To Be Sold Not To Be Told and Tha Last Meal.
Pharrell founded Star Trak Entertainment in 2001. A label that released projects such as Snoop Dogg’s 2004 platinum-certified album Rhythm & Gangsta and Robin Thicke’s hit single ‘Blurred Lines’. In 2003, Pharell teamed up with Japanese fashion designer Nigo (the founder of BAPE) to launch Billionaire Boys Club. The brand was one of the first to fuse streetwear, high fashion and hip-hop.
ICECREAM was a subsidiary fashion label founded by Pharrell that was more affordable and acted as a skatewear brand. Pharrell made copious amounts of money during the mid-2000s and early 2010s through his contacts in the fashion world. In 2010, Williams was approached to work alongside Hans Zimmer and Heitor Pereira for the Despicable Me soundtrack. The film was a box office hit and was one of the highest-grossing films released that year. As such, they commissioned a sequel, Despicable Me 2. Williams worked on the soundtrack of the sequel also.
Upon signing to Interscope as part of Aftermath Records in 1997, after the success of his first two commercially released projects, Eminem was given the opportunity to run his own record label. Named Shady Records in honour of his alter-ego ‘Slim Shady’ one of the first people he signed was 50 Cent. A monster hitmaker.
Following this, in 2004, Eminem founded the Shade45 hip-hop show on Sirius XM Radio (an online radio station). It is also simulcast visually on Cable TV number 6045. Founded in 2004, Eminem got some of radio’s biggest hitters to join his network, and the channel has become increasingly popular.
In 2021, Eminem opened a restaurant in his hometown of Detroit. Called Mom’s Spaghetti. The restaurant is open to this day and is one of many destinations that tourists go to when they’re in Detroit. Eminem has also collaborated with many brands during his career.
With four Grammy awards, 13 BET awards and a whopping 34 Billboard awards, Drake is a musical powerhouse but also a savvy businessman. He founded OVO Sound in 2012 and signed many stars, including PartyNextDoor, Majid Jordan and Popcaan. The brand also has an annual festival, OVO Fest, which sells out yearly.
Few know he is also involved with the bourbon-based whisky brand, Virginia Black. However, Drake’s wealth mainly comes from his highly sought-after music and brand endorsements.
Berner is an artist few know about. Born in San Francisco to first-generation Mexican immigrants, he was signed to Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang label in 2012. However, this isn’t how he made his money.
In the early-2000s, the emcee took an interest in the cannabis industry and was an early investor in Jai Chang. A renowned Californian cannabis cultivator. Learning from Chang, Berener went on to develop his own strains of cannabis and opened an edibles chain named Cookies. It was promoted by Wiz Khalifa in his music and is one of the highest-earning weed dispensaries in California.
4. Kanye West
Beginning under the wing of No ID in Chicago, Kanye West quickly rose through the production ranks and became Jay-Z’s prodigy child by the turn of the millennium. Eventually signing with Roc-A-Fella in 2002, West sold millions of multi-platinum and even diamond-certified songs.
His tracks have been used in advertising campaigns for companies such as Dior. Following this, Kanye quickly became involved in fashion and began collaborations with big-name fashion houses, including Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga. He even had casual wear partnerships with Adidas. A Kanye West beat in 2023 costs approximately $35,000.
3. Dr Dre
Dre became a mogul over the years as a result of many good investments and timing. His decision to pull out of N.W.A. and co-found Death Row Records was the start of a journey that led him down the road of being able to manage and run a record label. At the end of the 1990s, he founded Aftermath Entertainment alongside Interscope founder Jimmy Iovine, and the two have been business partners ever since.
As well as making money from artists such as Eminem, 50 Cent and Kendrick Lamar, Dre founded Beats Electronics in 2006 and sold an unfathomable amount of headphones and electronic accessories. By 2013, Beats by Dre was worth $1 billion. Being a businessman and wanting to see a profit, in 2014, Young sold the company to Apple for $3 billion in cash and stocks.
Diddy is undeniably one of hip-hop’s most innovative and wealthiest men. In 1993, he founded Bad Boy Entertainment, and with acts such as Lil Kim, Ma$e, Biggie Smalls and 112, the mogul was moving units of platinum-certified records as well as his own material for over a decade.
Even with the death of his protégé in 1997, the rapper and entrepreneur continued to prosper, and now he is officially at mogul status. Akin to the likes of 50 Cent, Diddy even entered the world of media and now owns his own television station, Revolt TV and is most definitely a tycoon of epic proportions.
1. Jay- Z
Carter began his career by creating his own record label, Roc-A-Fella Records, which, upon finding success, he demanded to become an imprint of Universal Music Group. With popular acts such as Kanye West, The Diplomats, Jadakiss and many more signed to his label, he also founded a production company, ROC Films, as well as a clothing brand, Roc-A-Wear.
In 2008, he founded an entertainment agency that boasted the likes of Rihanna, J Cole, Jay Electronica, Vic Mensa and others. The management arm also takes care of artists such as Lil Uzi Vert, DJ Khaled and Megan Thee Stallion.
In 2015, Carter bought the technology company Aspiro and its subsidiary streaming company Tidal. A $56.2 million investment from the rapper, Tidal was to become a new artist-owned streaming platform with exclusive content not available anywhere else.
The rapper launched a Cognac brand, D’Ussé, in partnership with Bacardi in the mid-2000s and in 2014, the artist purchased the champagne brand Armand De Brignac (commonly known as Ace of Spades) from the Cattier family. Carter also had a brief but key involvement with the Brooklyn Nets NBA team.