Forbes uncovered Hip-Hop’s wealthiest this week; P. Diddy (that’s his name now, right?), Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Bryan “Birdman” Williams and 50 Cent. When it comes to being an entertainer these days, these men have proven it’s smart to make the most out of every opportunity you’re thrown. You can live well by just doing the music end, but you can live lavishly if you can successfully take the business into your own hands.
And in a world where Hip-Hop culture gets a negative rap for its demeaning lyrics, “gangster” impressions, and other activities deemed by the law as taboo, it’s recognized by Forbes as a grand route to travel in terms of entrepreneurship.
Back in 2007 50 Cent became the spokesperson for Vitaminwater which garnered him $100 million then. Years later he’s still reaping the benefits of that deal, along with his continuous record sales, touring, and clothing line. By this time next year, 50 could go up in the ranks thanks to his recent headphone deal with SMS and the energy shots, Street King.
Over two decades ago Bryan “Birdman” Williams and his brother Ronald “Slim” Williams started up Cash Money Records giving the world hit makers such as Juvenile and Lil Wayne….who then went on to bring about current artists like Drake and Nicki Minaj. Much of Birdman’s worth comes from what his artists bring in, but we’ll see what happens when Cash Money’s distribution deal with Universal ends this summer and is up for grabs…
The oldest Hip-Hopper on the list, Dre has been in the game longer than any of them and was doing just fine with random acting gigs over the years and music since the mid-80’s….but the power of sound has made him even more of a powerhouse. Beats by Dre can be seen in and on the ears of anyone who can afford to get them, which seems to be pretty much everyone…allowing Dre to make his way onto the list this year.
He sold a major clothing line, has a deal with Live Nation, owns stakes with the New Jersey Nets, a chain of clubs, and a cosmetic company (wait, really?) and recently did a lucrative tour with Kanye West…Sheesh Jay-Z, it’s a wonder he even found time to make a baby in the past year. What’s next for the mogul? Probably figuring out which route Blue Ivy should go down; acting, singing, dancing? Well with those parents, she’ll probably do all three and Jay will be right there adding to his bundle.
No matter what name he goes by, one thing’s for sure, he’s got a heads up on all his competition. Yeah, he has a label (Bad Boy), endorsements with Ciroc Vodka, clothing lines (Sean Jean, Enyce) and had his share of musical fame back in the day….but anyone who’s ever seen P. Diddy in action either on TV or in real life knows he strives to be the best. That’s why he’s number one this year, and could very well be next year as he’s set on becoming Hip-Hop’s first billionaire. His deal with Comcast to launch the Revolt channel in 2013 sets the bar pretty high for any other Hip-Hop entrepreneur…
Now, with those numbers would you agree with many critics that Hip-Hop does nothing but create gangsters, murderers, and crooks?