Hip hop artists in America remain one of the highest-paid in the world. A number of them have also achieved millionaire status by combining entrepreneurship with their craft. This statement is backed by Zack O’Malley Greenburg’s list of the highest-paid hip-hop acts of 2021, which says that “highest-paid acts are successful because of their diversified portfolios.”
“Hip-Hop has, and always will, set trends,” said the founder of the creative agency Bright Ideas Only, Kim Kaupe. “Brands realize they can no longer sit on the sidelines and test what ‘might’ work. They need to be in the mix testing partnerships and trends before they have the data to back it up.”
A number of agencies and magazines have over the years deployed various methodologies to study the net worth of hip hop stars. Following similar studies, Zack O’Malley Greenburg, a former editor at Forbes, has released an independent list of hip-hop’s top earners.
Billionaire rapper Jay-Z topped the list as the highest-paid hip hop artist with $470 million after selling portions of his music streaming service Tidal and Armand de Brignac champagne last year. Jay-Z’s business deals in 2021 saw his net worth rise to $1.5 billion.
It will be recalled that Face2face Africa reported that Jay-Z sold 80% of Tidal to Jack Dorsey’s Square for a reported $350 million last May.
Kanye West came in second on the list, with $250 million for the year. According to Greenburg, Kanye’s fortune was derived almost entirely from his Yeezy sneaker empire. In 2021, Face2Face Africa reported that Kanye’s Yeezy shoe and streetwear surged in value, propelling him to a net worth of $6 billion per Bloomberg calculations.
Diddy and Drake made $75 million and $50 million, respectively, in 2021 while Wiz Khalifa, brought in $45 million. Khalifa’s money came from the sale of a piece of his publishing catalog, and he also cashed in on his cannabis revolution with products including his Khalifa Kush.
Check out the full list of hip-hop’s top earners for 2021 below:
No. 10 (tie): Birdman – $25 million
No. 10 (tie): Doja Cat – $25 million
No. 10 (tie): Tech N9ne – $25 million
No. 9: J Cole – $27 million
No. 8: Eminem – $28 million
No. 7: DJ Khaled – $35 million
No. 6: Travis Scott – $38 million
No. 5: Wiz Khalifa – $45 million
No. 4: Drake – $50 million
No. 3: Diddy – $75 million
No. 2: Kanye West – $250 million
No. 1: Jay-Z – $470 million