Who Will Be Hip Hop’s First Billionaire, Diddy or Jay-Z?


With every member on the Forbes Five list of the top earning hip-hop artists having a net worth of no less than $110 million, the hip-hop community may soon find itself with its first billionaire. When Forbes first revealed Hip-Hop Cash Kings, an annual summary of the top twenty richest hip-hop artists, Jay-Z, Diddy, and 50 Cent released “I Get Money (The Forbes 1-2-3 Billion Dollar Remix)” in celebration. Soon after other artists, including Akon and Bruno Mars, would follow-up with their own tunes in reference to the Forbes lists.

Steve Stoute, co-founder and co-owner of Jay-Z’s ad firm Translation, told Forbes, “Who’s going to be hip-hop’s first billionaire is still to be determined, but clearly Jay and Puffy are far and away positioned to surpass that.” Diddy, the wealthiest on the list, holds a net worth of $550 million; his profits coming from Bad Boy Records, his clothing lines, marketing firm, and more recently Ciroc Vodka. What may make Diddy the first hip-hop billionaire by this time next year, however, is his deal with Comcast to start cable channel Revolt.

Jay-Z is second on the list with $460 million, accruing his wealth from touring, selling Rocawear in 2007, signing a 10-year contract with Live Nation in 2008, partially owning the New Jersey Nets and owning his 40/40 Club chain, ad firm, cosmetics company Carol’s Daughter, and other business endeavors.

All of the artists on the list have accumulated their millions from branching out into the business and communication world, including the last three on the list, Dr. Dre ($270 million), Birdman ($125 million), and 50 Cent ($110 million).

Although the individuals on the list are in a close race for the title, who exactly will come out with the title of hip-hop’s first billionaire remains unknown. “In a world where people are creating applications that sell for a billion dollars, you never know who’s going to come out of left field,” Stout said, concluding that hip-hop’s first billionaire may not even be anyone on Forbes’ current top five list.


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