1. Dr. Dre @ $110 million
Dr. Dre tops the list this year mostly due to his Beats By Dre headphones, but there’s also the fact that he has stake in the careers of Emineem and 50 Cent plus a very profitable catalog of music. He’s also the only artist other than 50 Cent to make over $100 million in a single year.
2. Diddy @ $45 million
Diddy comes in second as he continues pull in huge profits from his stake the Ciroc Vodka brand, in October 2007 Diddy agreed to help develop the Ciroc vodka brand for a 50 per cent share of the profits. He became a brand ambassador for the product.
The product has had huge commercial success and is synonymous with Hip Hop culture, often affiliated with terms like “Ciroc Boys” or Diddy referring to himself as Cîroc Obama.
Cîroc is on pace to sell more than 2 million cases in 2012.
3. Jay-Z @ $38 million
Jay-Z continues to be the ultimate hustler, he’s never fell below the 3rd position and has for many years been at the top spot. His Roc Nation label sports artists like J. Cole, Rita Ora, Willow Smith and Jahlil Beats as well as a management roster containing acts like Rihanna, Meek Mill, Wale, Melanie Fiona and Shakira just to name a few.
His collaboration album Watch The Throne with Kanye West was very successful and many would even call it classic.
4. Kanye West @ $35 million
Kanye West is not too far behind his big brother Jay-Z with $35 million, His G.O..O.D Music label is the home to Big Sean, Pusha T, Common, Kid CuDi and more. His Air Yeezy sneaker line is also very successful, not to mention the Watch The Throne tour that brought in big profits for both Kanye and Jay-Z.
5. Lil Wayne @ $27 million
Lil Wayne closes out the top 5 with $27 million, allot of which is due to his latest album Tha Carter IV, which sold almost a million copies it’s first week. He’s finally started to branch out into non-music ventures such as DEWeezy with Mountain Dew, and Trukfit clothing line.
6. Drake @ $20.5 million
Lil Wayne’s YMCMB front runner Drake stays close to Weezy with a little over $20 million. This is a big jump from last year where he tied Wiz Khalifa for the 11th spot earning $11 million. His Take Care album was very successful, selling 631,000 copies it’s first week. This was then followed by a successful Club Paradise tour.
He also shills for Sprite and Kodak.
7. Bryan “Birdman” Williams @ $20 million
He’s the co-founder and chief of Cash Money Records—home to listmates Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj—and adds to his coffers with other ventures including clothing and vodka. Birdman tied Wayne last year for the number 4 spot earning $15 million.
8. Nicki Minaj @ $15.5 million
I guess it’s 19 Cash Kings and 1 Cash Queen, performances at the Super Bowl and the Grammys helped raise her profile while a new album, extensive touring and endorsements with Pepsi and others lined her pocketbook. I might be wrong but I think Nicki Minaj is the only female to ever make Hip-Hop Cash Kings list.
9. Eminem @ $15 million
Sometimes music is enough. Eminem sold more albums last decade than any artist in the world, and continues to cash in from his extensive back catalog and occasional tour dates.
10. Ludacris @ $12 million
The multihyphenate mogul’s non-musical ventures include Conjure cognac, headphone line Soul, voiceovers for RadioShack and roles in movies such as Fast Five and New Year’s Eve.
11. Pitbull @ $9.5 million
The self-proclaimed “Mr. International” has been making money all around the world, pulling in millions from touring, record sales and endorsements with the likes of Kodak and Dr. Pepper.
12. Rick Ross & Wiz Khalifa @ $9 million (tied)
The portly Maybach Music Group boss banks big bucks from concerts, record sales and his aforementioned label.
13. Wiz Khalifa @ $9 million (tied)
After exploding onto the mainstream scene in recent years, the Pittsburgh-bred rapper has continued to milk his image as an herbal enthusiast, helping him to healthy merch and album sales. He’s managed to stay high on the list despite not releasing a second album yet.
14. Snoop Lion @ $8.5 million
The artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg is in the midst of a rebirth as a reggae artist — and continues to rake in cash from a wide range of activities including album sales, touring and endorsements.
15. 50 Cent @ $7.5 million
Though the onetime top Cash King has fallen from his VitaminWater-fueled peak, he still collects cash from sales of his music, as well as G-Unit clothes and video games, SMS headphones and energy shot Street King.
16. Swizz Beatz ($7 million, tie)
Though he’s still not as well-known as his wife, Alicia Keys, the multifaceted Swizz Beatz has been cashing in on production credits and deals with the likes of Lotus and Reebok.
17. Pharrell Williams ($7 million, tie)
The sweet-singing superproducer continues to earn big, thanks in part to new liqueur line Qream and his Billionaire Boys Club clothing line, which partnered with Rocawear last year.
18. Young Jeezy ($7 million, tie)
His recent album, Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition, has sold more than 500,000 copies since its December release; Jeezy adds to his coffers with touring and a clothing line.
19. Mac Miller @ $6.5 million
Not yet old enough to legally drink, the youthful emcee makes his Cash Kings debut on the strength of a rigorous touring schedule and the first indie record to top the Billboard charts in over a decade.
20. Akon, Timbaland & Tech N9ne @ $6 million (tied)
His latest album is still on hold, but the Senegalese singer continues to collect cash from a range of ventures including touring, production, a record label, a clothing line and a rumored diamond mine in Africa.
20. Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley ($6 million, tie)
The portly producer makes the Cash Kings list for the sixth year in a row, pulling in proceeds from a lengthy pack catalog, new production credits and liqueur LeSutra.
20. Aaron “Tech N9ne” Yates ($6 million, tie)
Though not well-known to mainstream music fans, this midwestern emcee racked up nearly 200 tour dates this year and earns big from releases on his indie label, Strange Music.