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In the world of hip-hop, cash is king.
At least it is in the scope of Forbes' annual "Cash Kings" list, which tallies the earnings of hip-hop's top performers (defined as any artist "whose work is primarily classified as hip-hop or rap") to see where they rank in comparison to their peers. This year's clear winner is L.A. rapper/producer/entrepreneur Dr. Dre, who pulled in a whopping $110 million between May 2011 and May 2012 - far more dough than the number two earner, Sean "Diddy" Combs, who raked in a puny $45 million over the same period.
Dre's impressive haul came not thanks to his music (is "Detox" ever going to come out?) but rather his popular Beats By Dr. Dre line of premium headphones, which netted him a cool $100 million (pretax) when Taiwanese handset maker HTC paid $300 million for a 51% stake in the company last year. (Holy...)
Indeed, several of the hip-hoppers on Forbes' list (if not most) made a substantial portion of their money thanks to high-value endorsements: Diddy with his Ciroc vodka line, No. 3 Jay-Z ($38 million) with his ownership stakes in several ventures including the Brooklyn (formerly New Jersey) Nets, No. 8 Nicki Minaj ($15.5 million) with her various endorsement deals, etc.
Speaking of Minaj, the "Beez in the Trap" superstar was the sole female rapper to make this year's list - not surprising considering she's really the only big-ticket one out there at this point (though she might want to look over her shoulder at fiercely-talented up-and-comer Azealia Banks, if you ask us). A man's world, indeed.
After checking out the full Forbes list below, let us know what you think in the comments.
2012 Forbes "Cash Kings" (all figures pretax):
1. Dr. Dre: $110 million
2. Diddy: $45 million
3. Jay-Z: $38 million
4. Kanye West: $35 million
5. Lil Wayne: $27 million
6 Drake: $20.5 million
7. Birdman: $20 million
8. Nicki Mianj: $15.5 million
9. Eminem: $15 million
10. Ludacris: $12 million
11. Pitbull: $9.5 million
12. Rick Ross: $9 million (tie)
13. Wiz Khalifa: $9 million (tie)
14. Snoop Dogg: $8 million
15. 50 Cent: $7.5 million
16. Swizz Beatz: $7 million (tie)
17. Pharrell: $7 million (tie)
18. Young Jeezy: $7 million (tie)
19. Mac Miller: $6.5 million
20. Akon: $6 million (tie)