Hip-hop is a genre of music that is bigger than just a term. Hip-hop is a whole movement. A culture. One that has been carried through generations by various people who have made their immense contributions to keep the movement pushing.
Such category of persons that have played a pioneering role in the advancement of Hip-hop are rap artists, preserving the culture through their music and giving back to the community. In so doing, they have reaped tremendous rewards from international fame to prestigious awards to endorsement deals, all playing in a part in raising their net worth, which is were this article comes in.
In 2018, the richest hip hop artists in the world were worth a combined $2.2 billion. That’s up from $1.7 billion in 2017. The top five alone were worth $1.4 billion.
The richest hip hop artist in the world today, October 5th, 2022 is Kanye West, with a net worth of $6.6 billion. He’s followed by Jay Z, who’s worth an estimated $1.4 billion.
P. Diddy rounds out the top three with a net worth of $900 million. And he’s not the only billionaire on this list. Rounding out the top five are two more billionaires: Andre “Dr. Dre” Young and Eminem.
We have put together a list comprising 15 of the richest hip-hop artists of all time. Get hip and hop on as we take you on a fun and enlightening ride through the wealthy lives of these artists.
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15. Timbaland ($85M)
Timbaland, born Timothy Zachery Mosley on March 10, 1972, is an American record producer, rapper, performer, songwriter, and record executive. Do we give enough credit to Timbaland’s musical contributions? Most likely not, but he has an estimated $85 million to heal those wounds.
Timbaland became one of the top hip-hop producers when he worked with Missy Elliott in the 1990s. In the early 2000s, he gained international recognition as the producer of Justin Timberlake’s back-to-back smash hit albums, “FutureSexLoveSounds” and “The 20/20 Experience,” which both became worldwide hits.
Having the ability to write well has been advantageous for Timbaland as well. Nearly 200 of his compositions have charted on the American and international Billboard charts.
14. Mike D ($90M)
Michael Louis Diamond, better known by his stage name Mike D, was born in the United States on November 20, 1965. He is most known for being a founding member of Beastie Boys, a hip-hop group. Mike D contributed to the success that resulted in 40 million album sales and three Grammy Awards.
It’s easy to understand why Mike D was pulled to painting in the way that he was. He was raised in a wealthy family on Central Park West that built a fortune as some of the world’s top art dealers. We owe Mike D a debt of gratitude because he was the one wielding the sticks when you listened to a Beastie Boys record and were swept away by the beats that featured drums so prominently.
13. Swizz Beatz ($100M)
American record producer, rapper, and record executive Kasseem Daoud Dean, better known by his stage name Swizz Beatz, was born on September 13, 1978. Dean began his musical career as a DJ after being born and raised in New York City. The influence of Swizz Beatz may be heard all over a list of the top rap tracks from the previous 20 years.
He was dubbed “the best rap producer of all time” by Kanye West at one point for a reason. Swizz produced songs for Jay-Z while he was just a teenager and sold his first beat to DMX, the iconic “Ruff Ryders Anthem.” More importantly, Swizz Beatz is to blame for the hugely popular “Verzuz” web series, which pits rappers and musicians against one another while performing songs from their own discographies. He also has checks to cash.
12. LL Cool J ($120M)
James Todd Smith, better known by his stage name LL Cool J (short for Ladies Love Cool James), was born on January 14, 1968, and is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, and actor. Like many other rappers on this list, LL Cool J began as a music phenom before transitioning to a successful career in acting and producing.
After dropping out of high school, LL Cool J became one of the stars of rap’s “golden period” in the 1980s and released his debut solo album, “Radio,” at the age of barely 17. LL Cool J has had average acting success in movies, but in 2009, he found success when he was cast on “NCIS: Los Angeles.” He has appeared in 289 episodes over the course of 13 years, with an estimated remuneration of $350,000 per episode.
11. Snoop Dogg ($150M)
American rapper, Snoop Dogg, also known as Snoop Doggy Dogg and briefly as Snoop Lion, was born Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. on October 20, 1971. Rap fans have known Snoop Dogg for 30 years; he originally caught our notice on multiple occasions as a guest artist on Dr. Dre songs and “The Chronic” before breaking through with his debut solo album, “Doggystyle,” in 1993.
If you want to pinpoint the source of Snoop’s wealth, you can do so by naming an artist who may have the most tenacious work ethic in the industry. Snoop has released 17 solo albums, seven collaborative albums, and countless high-paying guest appearances over the course of 30 years. He has been even more active as an actor. In the same period, his IMDb has 234 acting credits distributed across roles in movies and television.
10. Pharrell Williams ($150M)
Pharrell Lanscilo Williams, an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer, was born on April 5, 1973. A rapper alone is not what Pharrell Williams has ever been. It only makes up a small portion of his work in the music business, where he has achieved success as a vocalist, producer, and musician on some of the greatest hits in history.
Try to get the song “Frontin” out of your brain after listening to it only once; it’s Pharrell’s first big hit with the rock band N.E.R.D. and The Neptunes, and subsequently as a solo artist. With his clothes brand featuring the incredibly trendy Billionaire Boys Club, he has improved his net worth.
9. Lil Wayne ($150M)
American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record executive Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., better known by his stage name Lil Wayne, was born on September 27, 1982. One of the best rappers of all-time, Lil Wayne, is also one of the most significant figures in pop culture. His distinctive approach has impacted an entire generation. He has also made waves in fields other than music.
At the age of nine, Lil Wayne began rapping for Cash Money Records and his mentor Birdman. At the age of fourteen, he joined Juvenile, B.G., and Turk as a member of the Hot Boys. Lil Wayne has sold over 100 million records on 13 albums as a solo artist, and in 2012, he surpassed Elvis Presley to become the musician with the most Billboard 100 chart performances.
8. Ice Cube ($160M)
O’Shea Jackson Sr., better known by his stage name Ice Cube, was born in the United States on June 15, 1969. He is also an actor and director. In the 1990s, Ice Cube broke out on his own with a number of highly regarded and popular solo albums, but he possessed other skills as well.
He launched his acting career in 1992 with the Academy Award-nominated movie “Boyz N The Hood,” and since then has achieved astounding success. In 1995, Ice Cube wrote, produced, and performed in the comedic classic “Friday.” Over the course of his career, Ice Cube has produced and starred in movies that have earned more than $1.1 billion at the international box office.
7. Drake ($180M)
Rapper, singer, and actor, Aubrey Drake Graham, was born on October 24, 1986. Drake, the only Canadian on the list, became one of the most well-known rappers of all time after becoming famous as a kid actor on “Degrassi Junior High.”
The majority of Drake’s wealth and success have emerged in the digital era. He has largely amassed his wealth through streaming sales. With around 170 million records sold, he is one of the best-selling artists of all time, and he is the artist with the most digital single sales in the United States. He is also one of the most commercially successful rappers ever and has endorsement deals with brands like Sprite and Whataburger.
6. Master P ($200M)
Percy Robert Miller Sr., better known by his stage name Master P, is an American rapper, record executive, actor, and entrepreneur who was born on April 29, 1970. As a solo rap artist, a member of the rap trio TRU, and the creator of No Limit Records in the mid-1990s, Master P is a pretty spectacular American success story.
The New Orleans native briefly held the title of richest rapper of all time in the late 2000s when his fortune reportedly reached $700 million because to his business savvy. When Master P first rose to fame, he didn’t only limit himself to rap. He also appeared in a number of successful films, the majority of which he funded and produced himself.
5. Eminem ($230M)
Eminem (stylized as EMINƎM), also known as Marshall Bruce Mathers III, is a professional rapper and record producer from the United States who was born on October 17, 1972. Eminem immediately picked up tips from Dr. Dre and found his own superstar in 50 Cent, cashing in on a portion of his millions of album sales in addition to his own.
Even the song “Lose Yourself,” which is based on his own life story and appears in the popular movie “8 Mile,” got him an Academy Award. However, Eminem’s success can be attributed to his own songs. He has sold 150 million albums in the US alone, and ten of his albums have reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.
4. Dr. Dre ($820M)
Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Romelle Young, was born on February 18, 1965, in the United States. Dre first attracted attention as a part of the 1980s rap group NWA, in which he produced the majority of the beats, before going it alone in the early 1990s. His “Chronic” album from 1992 and his “2001” album from 1999 both propelled rap to new heights as a solo artist.
Large portions of his wealth also stem from his discovery of Eminem, another rapper on our list, in the late 1990s and from the $3 billion sale of his Beats By Dre brand to Apple, which he divided with longtime partner and friend Jimmy Iovine.
3. P. Diddy ($900M)
Sean Love Combs, well-known by his stage names Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy, or Puffy, was born on November 4, 1969, and is an American rapper, musician, record producer, record executive, actor, and entrepreneur. Early in his career, Sean Combs established himself as a producer on some of the finest rap albums ever.
He was the producer of the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Notorious B.I.G. albums “Ready to Die” and “Life After Death.” After Biggie’s death in 1997, Combs proceeded to amass wealth as a solo artist, the owner and CEO of Bad Boy Records, and through a number of ventures, notably Ciroc vodka.
2. Jay-Z ($1.4B)
Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Corey Carter and who was born on December 4th, 1969, is an American rapper, record producer, businessman and founder of the talent and entertainment company, Roc Nation, which has its headquarters in Manhattan. Additionally, Jay-Z’s numerous investments, which include lucrative contracts with the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center, as well as his ownership of a record label, have been enormous sources of wealth.
1. Kanye West ($6.6B)
Ye, also known as Kanye West, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, and fashion designer. He was born Kanye Omari West on June 8, 1977. West made his name first as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records before launching his solo career in 2004 with the critically acclaimed “The College Dropout” album.
With over 20 million albums and 140 million singles sold, he became one of the best-selling artists of all time, and his 21 Grammy Awards are almost the most ever. One of his most successful partnerships has been the one with Adidas. He reportedly receives an annual royalty payment of about $100 million for his Yeezy line.