Dr. Dre, Diddy and Jay-Z.
Producer Dr. Dre earned the biggest crown in Forbes magazine’s “Hip-Hop Cash Kings” 2014 list, which was released this week.
The annual list ranks the highest-earning hip-hop artists and executives in the hip-hop industry. Earnings are calculated by adding up income from touring, record sales, publishing, merchandise sales, endorsements and other ventures. Management, agent and attorney fees are not deducted. Earnings are calculated from June 2013 to June 2014 and based on data from Pollstar, the RIAA and Nielsen SoundScan, and from interviews with numerous managers, lawyers, music executives and some of the artists themselves.
Dr. Dre clinched the No. 1 spot with earnings of $620 million, the highest by any musician – ever – on the Forbes list and more than the combined earnings of all 24 of the others on the 2014 Hip-Hop Cash Kings list. Dr. Dre earned this honor from Apple’s $3 Billion buyout of Beats, Dre’s headphone and portable speaker company, among other financial accomplishments. Dr. Dre was third on this list last year.
For second place, it is a tie between rapper Jay-Z and entrepreneur Diddy with earnings of $60 million each. Diddy, who was ranked first last year, has made his earnings from Diageo’s Ciroc vodka accounts, DeLeon tequila, Blue Flame marketing, Sean Jean clothing, and Revolt TV. Jay-Z was second last year as well and brought in money from his Roc Nation empire, 68 concerts, D’Ussé cognac and his latest album, which was certified platinum before it was released due to an agreement with Samsung to buy 1 million copies.
Rapper Drake comes in at the fourth spot with an income of $33 million, after being 11th last year. Drake’s fourth studio album, Nothing Was The Same has sold over 4 million copies worldwide. Drake also has ventures with an arena tour and an endorsement deal with Nike’s Jordan line.
Rap mogul Kanye West holds down the sixth spot with earnings of $30 million, which he raked in from shows and his sneaker line. West held the sixth spot as well last year.
Cash Money Records co-founder Birdman comes in seventh with $24 million in earnings, after being fifth last year. Birdman makes most of his money from the record label’s artists, including Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Drake.
Right behind Birdman at the eighth spot is Lil Wayne, with earnings of $23 million, moving down one spot from last year. Wayne has made his money through shows, sales from his Truckfit clothing line and his latest album I Am Not A Human Being II.
Producer and songwriter Pharrell Williams made the Top 10 list at No. 9, after being 14th last year. Williams made a large amount of money by producing songs such as “Blurred Lines” and “Get Lucky.’” Williams also had one of the biggest songs of the year in “Happy.”
Other artists on the list included Nicki Minaj (11), Wiz Khalifa (12), Snoop Dogg (14), Kendrick Lamar (15), 50 Cent (16) and Rick Ross (20).