Master P Snags Top Ten On Annual Forbes List

Master P is the 10th highest paid entertainer according to this years’ “Forbes” magazine list of highest paid entertainers.

The rapper, with $56.5 in earnings, was one behind the top musical entity on the list, the Rolling Stones at $57 million. Rap Sean Puffy Combs came in 15th with $53.5 million.

According to “Forbes,” Master P, a.k.a. Percy Miller, 28, the self-proclaimed “Ghetto Bill Gates,” started his company, No Limit, in 1989 with a $10,000 malpractice settlement stemming from the death of his grandfather. He marketed his company’s records in spite of little airplay using heavy street promotion including print ads displaying lots of “jewels and loot.”

“Forbes” also reports that No Limit has generated $100 million in record sales this year and that Miller has now expanded into movies, sports management, clothing lines, real estate and phone sex. They say he wields tight-fisted control over his empire. For his first movie deal, for “I Got the Hook Up,” he covered
the $3.5 million budget himself and allowed the distributor only a percentage of the box office. The film went on to take in $10.5 million in the U.S.

Combs, also 28, began his career in 1989 as an intern with Uptown Records. He left for Arista in 1991 and soon founded his own label, Bad Boy, which splits its profits 50-50 with Arista, according to “Forbes.”

In contrast to No Limit, Bad Boy gets plenty of airplay. The label produced 39 percent of the number one hits on “Billboard’s” Hot 100 and R&B charts in 1997. Combs’ own album “No Way Out” has sold 5 million copies alone this year. He has also expanded his company into other areas of entertainment and business. Combs recently bought a $2.5 million mansion in East Hampton and hosted a polo tournament.

Other musicians on the magazine’s list of Top 40 Entertainers (at www.forbes.com) included Celine Dion, 12th with $55.5
million; Garth Brooks, 14th with $54; The Spice Girls, 20th with $49; Will Smith, 36th with $34; and Metallica, 38th with $32 million. Overall, Jerry Seinfield and his partner took the first two spots, which bumped perennial charttopper Steven Spielberg to third.

The publication reports that the list was compiled through interviews with lawyers, managers, agents, executives, insiders and the entertainers themselves as well as published sources including Performance, Pollstar, SoundScan and the Recording Industry Association of America.