Jay-Z Tops Forbes’ Hip-Hop Cash Kings (Again!)

Check out the full top 20 list, which features Jay topping the competition for a record fourth year.

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud

It's pretty safe to say that Jay-Z's having a damn fine year. In addition to his massively anticipated and widely celebrated collaboration album with Kanye West called Watch the Throne, Hova topped the Forbes Hip-Hop Cash Kings list for the fourth time. 

Over the past 12 months, Sean Carter has netted $37 million, edging out Sean "Diddy" Combs (who earned $35 million); Kanye follows in third with $16 million, though with Watch The Throne expected to top 500,00 units in first-week sales and a planned The Throne tour between 'Ye and Jay about to begin, those numbers are likely to rise significantly.

As Zach O'Malley Greenberg's article in Forbes says, "Fueled by the tail end of his 'Blueprint 3' Tour and a vast portfolio of business interests, Jay-Z barely edged second-ranked Diddy-who raked in $35 million, roughly half of that total coming from a lucrative partnership with Diageo's Ciroc vodka-but handily topped West, who earned $16 million. The duo is steaming ahead with plans for co-headlining tour starting this fall."

"Jay-Z and Kanye are hip-hop ambassadors," says Steve Stoute, chief of branding firm Translation and author of The Tanning of America. "They bring the art form around the world, and they've taken production and everything to the next level. Now they've got a chance to grow with their global audience."

Live music has also played a significant role, with touring and live endorsements bringing in strong revenue despite the economic downturn. “There are four hip-hop artists that sell hard tickets: Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye and Lil Wayne,” says Randy Phillips, chief of concert promoter AEG. “Those are the big four. In the past, it hasn’t really been a live medium … Is it changing? When you look at the business Jay and Eminem did in Yankee Stadium, I think it is.”
Forbes' Hip-Hop Cash Kings

1. Jay-Z: $37 million

2. Diddy: $35 million

3. Kanye West: $16 million

4. Lil Wayne: $15 million

5. Bryan "Birdman" Williams: $15 million

6. Eminem: $14 million

7. Snoop Dogg: $14 million

8. Dr. Dre: $14 million

9. Akon: $13 million

10. Ludacris: $12 million

11. Wiz Khalifa: $11 million

12. Drake: $11 million

13: Pharrell Williams: $10 million

14. Timbaland: $7 million

15. Swizz Beatz: $6.5 million

15. Nicki Minaj: $6.5 million

16. Rick Ross: $6 million

17. 50 Cent: $6 million

18. Pitbull: $6 million

19. T-Pain: $5 million

20. B.o.B: $5 million