Rap, like every other genre of music, has come of age. What was once regarded as a type of music for gangsters and criminals has now become a regular in clubs, offices, homes, events, and public places due to its catchy lyrics, vibes, and beat. As a result of the huge demand and love for rap music in recent times, rappers are now capable of earning huge amounts of money which is evident in their day to day lifestyle.
In fact, for those who are skilled with the mic, the music genre has brought not just fame but affluence. Rappers who made it to this list have been in the hip-hop game for decades and thus have their music talents to thank for their primary source of wealth. However, while their captivating lyrical flows first established them as elites, it is their diversified investments outside the music world that have kept their wealth afloat.
From investments ranging from oil and gas to clothing lines to restaurants, these rappers are collectively worth thumping billions of dollars with Kanye West sitting on the topmost position. According to Forbes ranking, the list goes thus;
Here’s How Much Richest Rappers Are Worth Presently
25. Busta Rhymes – $65 million
Trevor George Smith Jr is an American rapper, producer, singer, and actor. Having started his career in 1990 Busta Rhymes is regarded as one of the most versatile rappers of the 90’s thanks to his fast rapping style. His high-speed rap style and rhyming technique have earned several Grammy award nominations. His talent also has earned him most of his fortune; his first album released in 1996 is a platinum-selling album. Like his contemporaries, Busta rhymes loves to live the luxury life. He owns a fleet of really expensive cars and a mouth-watering mansion in Malibu.
24. Nas – $70 million
Nas may have gone through different feuds with fellow musicians during his music career but that hasn’t impacted his earning power. The Brooklyn-born who first became famous for his debut album 1994’s Illmatic has been making money for over three decades for releasing hit singles that have sold in millions globally. He has several awards and has received 13 Grammy Awards nominations. Offstage, the singer has successfully turned into an entrepreneur and is involved in different business ventures including establishing his own capital firm QueenBridge Ventures that has investments in big brands such as Lyft and Dropbox.
23. Joseph Simmons – $70 million
Known widely as Rev Run, this Queens-born rapper has had things going for him since the eighties when he established a hip-hop group named Run DMC. He’s among the pioneers of the genre with several of his works going platinum. His recent engagements include doing vocals for the group The Force. The rapper has also had TV stints including appearing in the MTV reality show Run’s House.
22. Will. I.AM – $75 million
William James Adams Jr, popularly known by his stage name Will.I.AM is a famous American rapper who also equals as a songwriter, singer, producer, DJ, TV Personality, and actor. Having started his musical career as an eighth-grader, Will.I.AM has continued to remain relevant till date. He is credited with the release of four-hit albums titled Lost Change, Must be 21, Songs about Girls, and #Willpower.
As a producer, he is known to have worked with superstars such as Cheryl, Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, David Guetta, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Nicki Minaj among others.
Apart from his musical success which includes numerous works with former music group Black Eyed Peas (which he founded), and performing as a solo artist, Will.I.AM also powers as a judge of reality TV shows. Through this and the ability to nab lucrative endorsements, the rapper has amassed a net worth of $75 million.
21. Kendrick Lamar – $75 Million
From being a straight-A student in middle school, Kendrick Lamar has gone on to become one of the greatest hip hop artists of his generation, with thirteen Grammy Awards to his name.
Despite only going pro in 2004, Lamar can boast of having 13 Grammy awards to his name, a feat which is as admirable as it is enviable. Besides being a really talented rapper, Lamar is also an astute businessman who is a co-owner of the artist-friendly company of pgLang.
20. Nicki Minaj – $80 million
The Entertainment industry, unlike other industries, is very vocal about looks, and this is one department that Nicki Minaj is in no way lacking. That being said, Nicki Minaj is a popular American rapper who also serves as a singer, songwriter, actress, and model. As a rapper, she has collaborated with some of raps finest like Drake, Tyga, Lil Wayne, and DJ Khaled, etc.
19. Akon – $80 million
Akon is a Senegalese-American rapper, singer, and producer with so many hit songs to his name. The talented rapper owns 35 Billboard Hot 100 songs and has received five Grammy Awards nominations. He is also credited for being the brainchild of four songs certified as 3x platinum, 3 songs certified as 2x platinum, over ten songs certified as 1x platinum, and more than 10 songs certified as gold in digital sales. His production credits include works with Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Snoop Dogg, among other talents.
Besides being just a rapper, Akon doubles as a businessman who has floated two record labels – Konvict and Konlive, which were pivotal in bringing artists like Lady Gaga, R.City and T.Pain to stardom.
18. Timbaland – $85 million
Timbaland is an American rapper, songwriter, and Producer who is often referred to as one of Hip-Hop’s greatest ever producers. Since the start of his career in 1990, he has worked high profile Hip Hop and R&B artists in the persons of Drake, Aaliyah, Jay Z, Ginuwine, etc.
17. Pitbull – $90 million
Pitbull is a very successful rapper known for his smooth style of rapping as well as his love for designer suits. He is highly revered for his first US number-one single, Give Me Everything which paved the way for greater things. Pitbull has worked with several brands such as Budweiser, Dr. Pepper, Kodak, Walmart, Boost Mobil, etc.
The Miami-native who was born to Cuban expatriates has sold over 100 million records and over 3,850 studio albums globally. He has also won 35 Billboard Latin Music awards as of 2019. His other sources of income besides his musical ventures include brand ambassadorships for notable brands.
16. Mike D – $90 million
Having sold 20 million records in the USA, ‘The beastie boys’ is arguably the most successful rap group ever. Hence it’s no surprise why Mike D is the 18th richest rapper. Besides being a rapper and member of the beastie boys, he is also a very good drummer and businessman who founded the now-defunct Grand Royal Records.
15. Ad-Rock – $90 million
The name Ad-Rock is one that needs no introduction to any huge fan of rap music due to his lyrical prowess and energy. He is the most popular member of the rap band ‘The beastie boys’. His popularity is often attributed to his ability to produce, sing, or play instruments whenever the need arises.
14. Swizz Beats – $100 million
Kasseem Dean without mincing words is clearly a man of parts. He is a producer, art collector, rapper, DJ, and actor. Unknown to most people, Swizz made his first beat at the age of 16 and has since gone on to produce for artists such as Alicia Keys, Jay Z, DMX, T.I and Mashonda to name but a few.
13. LL Cool J – $120 million
LL Cool J is a famous rapper, actor, and music producer. He is often described as Rap music messiah due to the fact that he was the first solo rap artist to make it big thus paving the way for others to follow. He has 13 studio albums to his name and a 14th is said to be in the works.
12. Pharell Williams – $130 million
With 13 Grammy awards to his name, Pharrell Williams can be regarded as one of the most successful rappers of all time. Besides being a rapper and singer, Pharell who is attributed to having the most successful song in 2014 (Happy), is also a successful businessman who has worked with notable brands like Louis Vuitton, Adidas, and Moncler. With an estimated net worth of $130 million is it still any surprise as to why Pharrell is always happy?
11. Snoop Dogg – $135 million
Snoop Dogg is a very successful rapper who started his career in 1992 and is still relevant till date. His wealth can’t be attributed to music alone but also to his investment in his own marijuana line (Leafs), as well as Eaze (a marijuana delivery service). In 2001, he revolutionized the porn industry by bringing music to porn and for that, he won 4 AVN awards.
10. Lil Wayne – $150 Million
Grammy award-winning rapper Lil Wayne is the type of person that can never go wrong on a record. Having started his rap career as a kid, Lil Wayne has gone on to become one of the biggest entertainers in the world. He has his own music label, clothing line, and Cigar Company.
9. Ice Cube – $160 Million
Ice Cube is an American rapper who is often referred to as the pioneer of gangsta rap. He created a successful career for himself in the ’90s due to his strong lyrics which talked about issues relating to racism and police brutality. Besides being a rapper, he has also made a successful career for himself as an actor and has over 50 acting credits to his name.
8. Drake – $170 million
Drake is a Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, and actor. Despite starting off his career as an actor in the teen drama: Degrassi in early 2000, he finally found his calling for rap music and has become a rap music poster boy ever since. He changed the rap game with his emotional tone, thus proving that you don’t need to act all tough to become a successful rapper.
7. Birdman – $180 million
Birdman is a successful rapper and entrepreneur. In 1991 he co-founded Cash Money Record Label alongside his brother Slim which has successfully sold big acts including Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Young Thug. Cash Money is said to worth $300 million as of 2019 and has lately been branching out into a clothing line and other ventures. Known for his love for expensive chains and flashy cars, Birdman is also a very shrewd businessman who owns an oil exploration firm alongside his brother called, Bronald Oil and Gas, LLC. In 2010, Birdman reportedly made at least $100 million from his Bronald Oil and Gas, LLC.
6. Master P – $200 Million
Percy Robert Miller is an American rapper, actor, and former basketball player. His foray into music can be traced to a $10, 000 malpractice settlement he inherited following the death of his father in 1989. He has worked with several artists such as Snoop Dogg, TRU, and 504 Boys. His success today is a testament to his talent, skill, and good managerial skills.
5. Eminem – $230 Million
In an industry dominated by blacks, Eminem has defied all odds to become a well-respected figure in the rap game. The rap god as he is fondly called has been subjected to a lot of hardship since childhood (broken home, a broken marriage, and racial abuse) but that didn’t stop him from achieving his dreams of becoming a Rap Powerhouse.
4. Dr. Dre – $820 million
Dr. Dre is often regarded as Hip Hop’s biggest producer and if you decide to look at the facts you will understand why. He is highly respected for his ability to spot outstanding talent; as a matter of fact, he was the one to put rappers like 50 cents, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Busta Rhymes on track.
Beyond his record producing skills, under his Aftermath Entertainment label, which has seen him produce albums for and coached some of the best rappers, the rapper is also a clever businessman.
His wealth is largely due to his paychecks from the $3 billion sales of his Beats by Dre headphones to Apple Inc in 2014, a deal that was unprecedented in the history of music.
3. Diddy – $855 million
Anyone can become successful but to remain successful is an entirely different ball game that requires not just talent but hard work, dedication, and innovation – all of which Sean Combs (Diddy) possesses in its entirety.
As a rapper, Diddy can boast of having won several accolades to his name due to this penchant for dishing chart-topping albums. When it comes to business, Puff Daddy owes his primary riches to his Bad Boy record label which established the likes of Notorious BIG. In 2015, alone, Sean raked in $60 million making him the highest-paid rapper of that year, according to Forbes. In 2019, he earned a whopping $130 million.
The Grammy-winning rapper has more than doubled the income he’s made from music by making wise investments. His assets include Sean John clothing line, alcohol industry (Ciroc Vodka), DeLeon tequila, Aquahydrate water with actor Mark Whalberg, and equity stakes in the Revolt TV network which is arguably his biggest asset and according to speculations could soon earn him a membership at the billionaires club. Combs has also invested in restaurants and has also built a career in the film world.
2. Jay Z – $1 billion
Unknown to most people, Jay Z was the first rapper to hit the billion-dollar net worth. With several top-selling platinum albums to his name, one might assume that Jay-Z’s net worth is a result of record sales but that is pretty much untrue. On the contrary, the bulk of his net worth is a result of him investing in profitable ventures like Tidal, Roc Nation, D’Usse, Jetsmarter (an app for booking private jets), and Armand de Brignac to name but a few. He also launched his own cigar in 2015 with Cohiba and has signed countless profitable deals with notable brands.
Generally speaking, Jay Z has made huge success both as a rapper and a businessman. And he continues to grow his diversified business portfolio.
1. Kanye West – $1.3 billion
Yes, you read correctly Kanye West is the richest rapper alive. This is surprising given the fact that most media houses speculated that his career was on the verge of extinction following his desire to switch from secular music to gospel. The bulk of his revenue is a result of his Yeezy brand which struck a deal with sports giant Adidas in 2016, thus guaranteeing Kanye up to 15% royalty on wholesale. His net worth is said to be at an estimated $1.3 billion but Kanye disagrees with the figure released by Forbes in their April 2020 editorial. He claims to be worth $3.3 billion instead and even some sources rank him as such but there isn’t concrete evidence to buttress this claim.