Dr. Dre Unseats Jay-Z As Hip-Hop’s Top Earner
Dr. Dre (photo: Johnny Nunez, WireImage)
It might have been the best piece of advice the rapper-producer ever received. In 2008 he teamed with Iovine and a handful of other partners to launch Beats By Dr. Dre, which now sells more than half of the country's premium headphones ($100 and up). That's music to the ears of Dr. Dre, who collected $100 million pretax when handset maker HTC paid $300 million for a 51% stake in the company last year.
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With $110 million in pretax earnings, Dr. Dre is this year's Hip-Hop Cash King—despite the fact that his long-awaited album, Detox, remains on the shelf. He's not the only one on the list who banks the bulk of his bucks outside the recording studio. Diddy ranks No. 2 with $45 million, thanks mostly to a share of profits from Diageo's Ciroc vodka; Jay-Z ranks third with $38 million, pulling in more than half his annual earnings from ventures including ownership stakes in cosmetics company Carol's Daughter, the Brookyln Nets and a joint venture with battery maker Duracell. Last year, Jay-Z topped the list with $37 million.
Jay-Z and New Jersey Nets owner Lewis Katz (photo: Johnny Nunez, WireImage)
Kanye West ranks fourth on the list with $35 million, fueled by his Watch the Throne album with Jay-Z and the ensuing tour, followed by Lil Wayne at $27 million. The diminutive rhymester's latest album, Tha Carter IV, sold a million copies in its first week; he also launched clothing line Trukfit and a partnership with Pepsi's Mountain Dew, the first major product endorsement in the veteran rapper's career.
Lil Wayne is joined on the Cash Kings list by labelmates Drake (No. 6) and Nicki Minaj (No. 8), who banked $20.5 million and $15.5 million, respectively, thanks to new albums, tours and product endorsements with companies like Kodak and Pepsi. Their boss, Cash Money co-founder Bryan "Birdman" Williams, ranks seventh with $20 million. Even lower down on the list, artists are getting paid considerable sums to shill products.