You've read about the [article id="1584696"]$150 million deal with Live Nation,[/article] bought the hit [article id="1571481"]American Gangster[/article] album and gone to see the [article id="1584472"]smash, sold-out tour[/article] with Mary J. Blige. Given his mountain of coin, Jay-Z must be sitting securely at #1 on Forbes magazine's 2008 list of "Hip-Hop Cash Kings," right?
Not if 50 Cent has anything to do with it. According to the magazine, after topping the list in 2007, Jigga dropped down to #2 this year behind 50, who hauled in $150 million over the past 12 months, nearly twice as much as Jay ($82 million) made in that same period.
A huge chunk of that ($100 million after taxes) came from the sale of 50's stake in VitaminWater, but he also raked in millions from his G-Unit clothing line and record label, his movie projects, video games and sales of Curtis. He could be primed for a repeat next year as well, if his joint venture with South African mining billionaire Patrice Motsepe pans out and produces the expected 50 Cent-branded line of platinum bling.
For the second year in a row, the man who has made a career out of diversifying his portfolio, Sean "Diddy" Combs, came in third on the list, pulling down $35 million from his Sean John clothing line, Bad Boy label, premium Ciroc vodka and a pair of reality shows.
You can bet that the man in the #4 slot isn't happy about being out of medal contention when it comes to what Forbes refers to as "hip-hopreneurs." But Kanye West, no slouch at $30 million, can still have the satisfaction of beating 50 in the [article id="1570001"]record stores [/article] and at the [article id="1581292"]Grammys,[/article] even if his album sales, production and tour grosses didn't get him into the top three this time out.
One of the busiest men in hip-hop, rapper/mega-producer (and
[article id="1591482"]Chris Cornell's new best friend[/article]) Timbaland, who is working on tracks for [article id="1590927"]Jay-Z's next record[/article], slid into #5 on $22 million, just ahead of another superstar performer/producer, Pharrell Williams, who banked $20 million thanks to album sales, production fees, touring, his Ice Cream and Billionaire Boys Club clothing lines, and a line of Louis Vuitton sunglasses. Just behind him was yet another producer/performer: Swizz Beatz scooped up $17 million thanks to his debut solo album, [article id="1562996"]One Man Band Man,[/article] [as well as his work as a model for Gap, a cut of the hip toy company Kidrobot and production fees.
And for a guy who seems to have his hand in every aspect of the business, down to a line of clothes for dogs and a reality TV show, it's a bit surprising that Snoop Dogg came in at #8 with $16 million. He was followed by his former mentor, Dr. Dre, who cooked up $15 million mostly composed of royalties from nearly 20 years of producing and appearing on albums, according to Forbes.
The rest of the list includes Ludacris (#10, $14 million), T.I. and Lil Wayne (#11, $13 million), Eminem, Common and Akon (#12, $12 million), Jermaine Dupri and Lil Jon (#13, $11 million) and Outkast, Game and Chamillionaire (#14, $10 million).
In keeping with his status as the Elvis of hip-hop, Tupac Shakur, who was murdered in 1996, continued to ring up serious numbers with $15 million in income.