Top 5 Richest Rappers - How Did The Talented Rappers Build Their Net Worth?
Rap is an art in the form of music that has its roots in the hip-hop culture. However, since it was introduced in the 1970s by DJs in New York, rap music has become famous worldwide. Today, one can find hard-core fans of the genre in any corner of the world.
As rap music is so famous and has had so many lovers over the decades, many rappers have come into the scene. Rappers like Eminem, Drake, and Snoop Dogg are one of the most famed rappers to live. With a dedicated fan base, many artists have been able to amass a vast fortune.
Album sales, brand collaborations, and music production have helped contribute to the fortune of famous rappers. So here is a list of the top five richest rappers in the world. Find out how they build a massive fortune.
5. Russell Simmons, Net Worth - $340 million
While talking about the richest rappers in the world, Russell Simmons, with a net worth of $340 million, sits in the fifth position. Although long gone are the days of his rapping, Simmons is still a prominent member of the community thanks to his contribution to the genre of music.
Born in Queens Borough, New York, the rapper was first introduced to rap music while growing up in the neighborhood. During his youth, the multi-millionaire was a part of a gang and would participate in gang activities, sell drugs, and take drugs himself.
Despite his family's pleas to leave the gang and start an honest lifestyle, Russell Simmons would not do so until one of his friends died in gang violence.
Inspired by the pioneers of the hip-hop movement, Russell Simmons would collaborate with Kurt Walker to release his very first single in 1979. Somehow, the single managed to sell over 500,000 copies and thus started Russell Simmons' musical career. Throughout his rap career, the artist released several albums, which were all well received by the audience.
Russell Simmons has become one of the richest rappers alive thanks to his hefty contributions to the hip-hop community. Photo Source: Russell's Instagram.
Not long after joining the hip-hop community, the artist founded Def Jam alongside Rick Rubin. The music label has signed big names under them. Some of them include Alessia Cara, 2 Chainz, and Rihanna. Russell himself has also worked on several projects after he founded the recording label.
Art And Clothing Line
The entrepreneur has not limited himself to music. Drawing inspiration from classical brands, Russell Simmons has created a clothing line for a wide range of audiences called Phat Fashions LLC. However, in 2004, the rapper sold the clothing line to Kellwood Apparel for a jaw-dropping $140 million.
The love for art in a human does not come in just one form. Similarly, Russell Simmons not just loves the art of music but all forms of art. So, to provide art education to underprivileged youth, the artist and his brothers have founded Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation in 1995. The foundation manages two art galleries located in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Therefore, all of these sources have helped Russell make millions of dollars making him one of the top five richest rappers in today's world.
4. Dr. Dre, Net Worth - $780 Million
Without a doubt, Dr. Dre is one of the greatest minds to exist in the world of rap. Born Andre Romelle Young, Dre has done everything from signing famed rappers like Eminem and 50 Cent under his label and launching their careers to releasing listening devices. With his multiple business ventures and contributions to the world of music, Dr. Dre's net worth has become a whopping $780 million.
Music And Beats By Dre
Debuting in 1985, the artist has been one of the most successful artists for the past three decades. Andre Romelle has released three studio albums and several collaboration albums.
Dr. Dre has helped launch the career of many musical artists through his record labels and made millions in the process. Photo Source: Dr. Dre's Instagram.
In addition to his own music, Dre has overlooked the production of songs and albums of numerous singers. He is a musical genius who has helped produce several records and does sound engineering as well. With his level of expertise, he has gained the respect of millions, and many up-and-coming rappers try to get into his good side so that he can help them achieve success.
As the experience of listening to music is not pleasant without suitable listening devices to play the music on, Dr. Dre launched the brand Beats by Dre in 2006. The brand has now become one of the most recognized globally, with many A-list celebrities endorsing them. The brand was sold to Apple in 2014 in a $3 billion deal.
As the rap artist has been determined to help launch the careers of aspiring singers, he opened up his own record label. Death Row was co-founded by Dr. Dre alongside Suge Knight in 1991.
Although it seemed that the record label was doing great, Dre left in 1996, citing legal troubles and disputes constantly occurring within the label. Dre claimed that he got $50 million when walking away from Death Row Records many moons later.
Dr. Dre has found success as an artist and an entrepreneur. So, it is no surprise that he is counted among the richest rappers in the world.
3. P. Diddy, Net Worth - $900 Million
P. Diddy has been one of the highest-paid celebrities in the world for the past several years. It has been estimated that Sean John Combs adds millions of dollars into his bank accounts annually. As a result, P. Diddy's net worth has reached a colossal amount of $900 million.
Sean started out in the music industry almost immediately after graduating college. First working at New York's Uptown Records, he gained a lot of experience and knowledge of the music industry. When he was fired from the label, Combs opened his own record label, Bad Boy Entertainment in 1993, and pulled some of his clients from Uptown Records.
As the executive of a record label, P. Diddy would only produce songs in the beginning. But, however, the rapper was able to start his own musical career in 1997 with the release of his single Can't Nobody Hold Me Down.
Since then, the record executive has released several albums and even won the prestigious Grammy Award in 1998 for the best rap album category. Moreover, the earnings from albums sales of his own and other artists under his label has benefitted Combs' fortune.
TV Shows, Movies, And Screen Writing
P. Diddy's talents are not just limited to music. The music producer has worked as an actor in several movies like Made, A Raisin in the Sun, and The Defiant Ones. Combs seems to have an affinity for entertaining people, and it shows.
P. Diddy is a multi-talented man who is not just a musician but an actor, screenwriter, and a TV show producer. Photo Source: Wikimedia.
And after entertaining people through music and television for years, P. Diddy has amassed a fortune of $900 million making him the 3rd wealthiest rapper in the world.
Businesses And Controversies
Apart from being a very creative person in the industry, Sean Combs is also an excellent businessman. He has his own umbrella organization named Combs Enterprises. He has several various types of businesses working under him. Ciroc vodka, Revolt TV, and Aquahydrate are some of the big-name companies P. Diddy has an equity stake in.
Moreover, the entrepreneur has his own clothing line named after himself, which has won the award for Menswear Designer of the Year at C.F.D.A. in 2004.
2. Jay-Z, Net Worth - $1.3 Billion
Multiple-time Grammy Award winner Jay-Z has worked in the rap music industry for a long time. Due to his extensive work in the industry as a rapper, music producer, and songwriter Shawn Corey Carter aka Jay-Z's net worth amounts to an impressive $1.3 billion. Moreover, the record producer's combined net worth with his wife Beyoncé is $1.8 billion.
The billionaire always had an interest in music and somehow entered the industry despite his family's financial struggles. Jay attended high school alongside Busta Rhymes and The Notorious B.I.G. but could not graduate high school.
Nevertheless, today, he is considered to be an excellent music producer and rapper. Moreover, he has won 23 Grammys, and all of the albums he has ever released have gone platinum in the U.S.A.
Jay Z is one of the few singers who actually own their own master recordings, which may be why he has such a massive fortune. His musical catalog is estimated to be worth around $95 million. In addition to releasing his own music, Shawn has also founded a record company named Roc-A-Fella Records. However, the label was later bought by Russell Simmons' Def Jam Records.
Businesses, Stakes, And Brand Deals
Although Jay Z is considered to be a great musician, he is also an excellent entrepreneur. The rapper opened a clothing line in 1999 called Rocawear, which generated millions in revenue until it was sold in 2007. The rights to the brand were bought for a mouth-watering $204 million by Iconix Brand Group.
Jay-Z has become a billionaire due to his investments in various types of brands. Photo Source: Beyoncé's Instagram.
Jay Z is also a founder of the music streaming service Tidal which is estimated to be worth over $450 million. He sold his majority stake in the company in 2021, leading to a massive bump to his net worth. Moreover, the music producer is the co-founder of 40/40 nightclubs and has had several brand deals with Chevy, Budweiser, and Armadale Vodka.
Investments too earn a big buck if one knows precisely where to invest. Thanks to Jay-Z's good eye in the market, he has had a lot of monetary profit from his investments in Armand de Brignac champagne and D'Usse cognac. Not only that, the entrepreneur owns a sports management company called Roc Nation sports.
Thus, income from all of these sources has helped Jay-Z become the 2nd richest rapper in today's world.
1. Kanye West, Net Worth - $6.6 Billion
Kanye West is certainly one of the most well-known people on earth. Whether it be as reality T.V. star Kim Kardashian's ex-husband or due to his feud with Taylor Swift, even non-hip-hop fans know of him. Moreover, due to his immense fame as a rapper and his multiple business ventures,
Kanye West's net worth has amounted to a jaw-dropping $6.6 billion making him the wealthiest rapper. Yes, the man who thinks he's Jesus Christ is a billionaire!
Although he is super-rich, Kanye is not one to show off, at least not too much. He is a very family man with humble beginnings. The billionaire is a college drop-out who initially got recognition for being a music producer. After working as a music producer for big names like Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and John Legend, Kanye Omari West wanted to start his own rap career.
Kanye West has become a multi-billionaire thanks to his brand Yeezy, music career and other investments. Photo Source: Kim's Instagram.
After his debut album, The College Dropout dropped in 2004, the music producer has not looked back. He has released several albums, albeit with delays most of the time, and his entire musical catalog is expected to be worth around $80 million.
West's contributions to the hip-hop industry have not been blindsided. He has been awarded a Grammy 22 times and has 70 nominations. In the same year as his debut album, the rapper opened his own music label named G.O.O.D. Music with Sony BMG.
Yeezy And Other Brand Deals
Despite his extensive catalog and his own record label, music is not Kanye's primary source of income. Most of West's net worth stems from his brand Yeezy. Yeezy is apparently worth over $5 billion and makes sales of over $1.5 billion a year.
The clothes, shoes, and accessories sold by the brand seem to be fashionable. This must be why people worldwide are attracted to it and want to own at least one item from the brand.
Not only Yeezy but even West's partnership with The Gap is a billion-dollar deal. In addition, Kanye has worked with several brands like Adidas and Louis Vuitton over the years. Because of his hefty earnings, Kanye West has been able to afford numerous multi-million dollars worth of properties and real estate in the U.S.A.
In addition to being the richest rapper alive, Kanye is a very philanthropic man who has always wanted to make the world a better place. From what he earns, he gives too. Kanye West has founded the Kanye West Foundation, which he utilizes to provide education to underprivileged African and Latino children.
And even with the millions he donates to various charities, West's net worth has not seen a significant decline in recent days. Moreover, with an estimated $6.6 billion to his name, Kanye West's name is cemented as the wealthiest rapper the world has ever seen.
Apart from the abovementioned rappers, others like Eminem, Master P, Pharrell Williams, and Drake have also earned millions from their careers.
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