According to a chart published by former veteran Forbes editor Zack O’Malley Greenberg on Tuesday, Jay-Z and Kanye West were the highest-earning hip-hop stars in 2021.
Jay topped the list with $470 million after selling shares of his Tidal streaming business and Armand de Brignac champagne, boosting his total net worth to $1.5 billion. Fellow millionaire Ye came in second place with $250 million in revenue for the year, nearly entirely from his Yeezy footwear brand.
While the list includes famous mainstays such as Diddy and Drake, there were some surprises. Rapper Tech N9ne is ranked No. 10 thanks to a previously unreported eight-figure catalog contract. Wiz Khalifa made a fortune off cannabis with a number of products, including his Khalifa Kush (and also sold off a piece of his publishing in April). Meanwhile, Eminem and Cash Money Records cofounder Birdman exemplified passive prosperity, amassing large sums from their previous efforts.
Despite hip-tremendous hop’s popularity — it accounts for 27.7 percent of U.S. music consumption, more than any other genre, according to MRC Data – any financial counselor will tell you that diversification is the key to true riches. “Hip-hop has always set trends and will continue to do so,” says Kim Kaupe, founder of the creative agency Bright Ideas Only. “Brands recognize that they can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines and test what’might’ work. They must be involved in the process of testing partnerships and trends before they have the evidence to back it up.”
While we’re not sure if Doja Cat belongs on a hip-hop list, she has huge branding deals with Pepsy and CandyCrush — and it’s nice to see a female artist on there.
See the list in Vibe and Zogblog for further information.
Jay-Z ($470 million)
Kanye West ($250 million)
Diddy ($75 million)
Drake ($50 million)
Wiz Khalifa ($45 million)
Travis Scott ($38 million)
DJ Khaled ($35 million)
Eminem ($28 million)
J. Cole ($27 million)
Birdman ($25 million, tie)
Doja Cat ($25 million, tie)
Tech N9ne ($25 million, tie)