“A new generation is challenging those veteran Cash Kings for financial supremacy, led by the likes of Drake and Wiz Khalifa. The former claims the No. 4 spot with earnings of $38.5 million–fueled by the best music sales of any musician not named Adele–thanks to new albumViews. He padded his total with live shows and checks from Apple, Sprite and Nike; more may be on the way with his new Virginia Black whiskey. Khalifa tallied $24 million to earn the No. 5 rank, boosted by 70 shows and a healthy six-figure nightly average gross during our scoring period.
There are even fresher faces on the list: A$AP Rocky (No. 13, $14.5 million) parlayed lucrative live gigs and a growing array of fashion ventures into his Cash Kings debut, while DJ Khaled (No. 12, $15 million) and Swizz Beatz (No. 19, $10.5 million) returned to the list after brief absences. Khaled made a mint on deals with Apple, T-Mobile and Zappos; Swizz inked a multi-year, multimillion dollar deal to become Barcardi’s global creative director.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Hip-Hop Cash Kings list, and the numbers generated over that period are staggering. The top 20 acts pulled in $4.5 billion over the past decade, an average of $22.5 million per act per year. Along the way, FORBES’ pioneering coverage of the business of hip-hop has earned it more than 200 lyrical mentions since 2007 according to Genius, up from 20 in the decades before.”
In 2007, FORBES debuted the world’s first-ever ranking of the top earners in the genre of hip-hop. A decade later, we celebrate ten years of the Hip-Hop Cash Kings list. In that time, the genre has burgeoned into a full-fledged multibillion-dollar international business, with the top earners pulling an average of about $20 million per year. In 2016, Diddy tops the list at $62 million—up from his $28 million No. 3 spot in 2007.
Along the way, FORBES has become a household name in hip-hop. According to Genius, the name has been mentioned in lyrics 200 times, thanks to shout-outs from the likes of 50 Cent, Diddy and Jay Z (“Just call me FORBES.com”) in their “I Get Money (Forbes 1, 2, 3 Remix).”
This eBook compiles the rich ten-year history of Hip-Hop Cash Kings data, interviews and features. Writers Zack O’Malley Greenburg and Natalie Robehmed take us backstage with Wiz Khalifa and Tech N9ne, assess the industries of headphones and ghostwriting, and evaluate why Nicki Minaj is the only woman ever to make the top 20.
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