Forbes published their list of the 20 highest-earning hip-hop artists of the past year (June 2017 – June 2018) on Wednesday. From brand deals to sold-out tour stops, the artists on their list have made a combined total of more than $400 million. We picked out the top 15.
1. Jay-Z ($76.5 million) With Tidal and Roc Nation under his wing, it’s no surprise that Jay-Z is hip-hop’s highest earner. He released a joint album, “Everything is Love” with his wife Beyonce, in June, and the powerhouse pair are currently on tour.
2. Diddy ($64 million) Is it Diddy? P. Diddy? Puff Daddy? Whatever name the rapper, born Sean Combs, goes by, a trail of money follows. His lucrative lifestyle stems from his multiple business ventures, which includes clothing lines and a partnership in Ciroc brand vodka.
3. Kendrick Lamar ($58 million) The “Money Trees” rapper certainly seems to have fulfilled his own prophecy. In addition to releasing back-to-back critically-acclaimed albums, Lamar also received a 2018 Pulitzer for his album, DAMN.
4. Drake ($47 million) The dulcet rapper dropped from his number two spot on Forbes’ list last year, but still raked it in as one of the most-listened to artists currently. His most recent album, “Scorpion,” lit up the pop culture sphere with dance challenges and unexpected cameos.
5. J. Cole ($35.5 million) According to Forbes, J. Cole’s high placement on the list came primarily from his “KOD” tour, which made “seven figures” at each stop.
6. Dr. Dre ($35 million, tie) Though Dr. Dre hasn’t put out much of his own music since his award-winning album, “The Chronic,” in 1992, he’s been exploring his other interests such as producing for other artists and his former ownership of Death Row Records. His most well-known business endeavor is his headphone company Beats by Dr. Dre, which he sold to Apple for $3 billion in 2014 and has been reaping the benefits from ever since.
6. Nas ($35 million, tie) Nas ties with Dr. Dre for the sixth place spot. He also isn’t the only rapper with a stake in the alcohol business — Nas has a partnership with Hennessy and investments in technology companies such as Dropbox and Lyft.
8. Pitbull ($32 million) Mr. Worldwide made upwards of $30 million, partially from touring with Britney Spears this summer. And it looks like he’s using his money for good, lending his private plane to bring cancer patients affected by Hurricane Maria from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland.
9. Future ($30 million) Future certainly did “F— Up Some Commas,” two to be exact, with earnings of $30 million. Last year, the rapper released two albums within a week of each other, “Future” and “Hndrxx,” both hitting number one on the charts.
10. Kanye West ($27.5 million) 2018 has not been the smoothest year for the “Power” artist — from his controversial remarks about slavery to the release of his latest studio album, “Ye,” this only one to not go platinum. Despite this, West still made a hefty fortune this year.
11. DJ Khaled ($27 million) The music producer cashed in on his sizable, meme-like social media status and secured deals with brands such as Weight Watchers and Apple.
12. Migos ($24.5 million) The hip-hop trio, comprised of rappers Quavo, Takeoff and Offset, have had an exciting couple of years. With cameo-studded hits such as “Bad and Boujee” and “MotorSport,”they have become a musical force to be reckoned with and are currently taking the country by storm with Drake on the “Aubrey & the Three Migos Tour”
13. Eminem ($23 million) The real Slim Shady just released his tenth studio album, “Kamikaze.” Though it didn’t factor into his earnings for this list, it debuted at number one on the charts in several countries, including the U.S.
14. Chance the Rapper ($21.5 million) Chance the Rapper is known for launching himself to success as an independent artist, and this past year was no exception. Though he didn’t put out a new album, he headlined Lollapalooza in his hometown of Chicago and “Come Back Barack,” a song he sang on “Saturday Night Live,” just won an Emmy.
15. Travis Scott ($21 million) Travis Scott’s latest album, “Astroworld,” charted at number one upon its release but wasn’t accounted for in his earnings for this list. However, Scott did spend much of 2017 touring with Kendrick Lamar and featuring on other artists’ tracks.