The Top 5 Richest Rappers in the USA have undoubtedly worked their way up to the top, with all of them making over a million dollars. They make more money then most people make in their lifetime, and it is all well deserved thanks to their excellent ability to not only record and produce music, but also get involved in extra paying gigs such as commercials, video games, movies, and many other areas of business that instantly place them on top as the top 5 richest rappers in the USA. Most of these rappers will be easily recognizable, whether you are a fan of rap or not. The list is topped by Sean "Diddy" Combs who manages to rake in over $500 million dollars, and those who underperform him still make a ridiculous amount of money. Currently, these rappers have been named Forbes richest rappers; and I would expect that they will be sitting pretty on this list in 2012 as well.
1. Sean "Diddy" Combs - $500 million dollars
Diddy was born in Harlem, NYC in a housing project. He is undoubtedly one of the staple faces of going from "rags-to-riches," and his background is very interesting to examine when thinking about the whopping $500 million dollars he has made in his lifetime, one can only imagine what his yearly salary is like. Not surprisingly, his music career is what shot him into the public eyes; originally releasing rap music through Uptown Records; then later opening his own record label names Bad Boy Records. Of course, one does not become one of the top richest rappers in the USA (and in the world on a larger scale!) just by making music. Diddy started his own blothing line named Sean John, which was met with critical success. In addition to this major business investment, he also owns a restaurant (in Atlanta), designed the Dallas Mavericks jersey, aided in developing Ciroc (a brand of vodka), among many other things. Needless to say, Sean Diddy Combs is a talented and business savvy individual who got his start as a young budding rapper; and took the world by storm in many different areas of business.
2. Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter - $450 million dollars
Jay-Z is another one of those top 5 richest rappers who has gone from "rags-to-riches" in a pretty short period of time. Like Diddy, he grew up in a housing project in New York City (in Brooklyn). His music career gained a lot of steam very quickly, and quite frankly he is one of my personal favorite rappers of all time; especially out of those who have hit the mainstream. Like most of the artists on this list, Jay-Z is an entrepreneur and has found himself getting involved in a variety of different business models. He started a clothing line known as Rocawear, which was met with a lot of success. He also owns the club 40/40 in New York City (and some other major cities in the USA). He is a part owner of the New Jersey Nets, he is involved in real estate investing to some degree, and he has even taken up writing with the release of his memoir Decoded in 2010. Needless to say, Jay-Z has taken literally the idea of "diversifying" ones investments, and it has ultimately made him a killing. He sits snuggly at spot #2 on Forbes richest rappers list.
3. Andre "Dr. Dre" Young - $250 million dollars
What would the rap world be without Dr. Dre? While he started his business career as a rapper in the 1980's, he is now much more well known as being a music producer, actor, and entrepreneur. A growing trend that you can take away from the rappers who have stumbled onto this top 5 list is that they get involved in many different areas of business. He is most known for his brand of headphones (Beats by Dr. Dre), his alcohol brands, and perhaps most recently a commercial where he acts promoting Dr. Pepper soda.
4. Bryan "Birdman" Williams - $110 million dollars
Unlike the other top rappers on this list, Birdman did not start life in a bad position; as he lived in Uptown New Orleans. Regardless, his music quickly pushed him into popularity; and like the other men on this list he has made some investments outside of music that has made him millions of dollars. Last year, he made $15 million dollars as his salary; which is still likely more then what your average person makes in their lifetime! Birdman is well known for his collaborations with fellow rapper Lil Wayne, and also for his business exploits in the oil industry with his father.
5. Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson - $100 million dollars
In all honesty, 50 Cent is perhaps one of the youngest yet richest rappers to break into the Forbes top 5 rappers list. 50 Cent rose to fame with the release of his albums "The Massacre" and "Get Rich or Die Tryin." He is very popular for having been shot multiple times and surviving. Of course, music is not the only way these top rappers get to be the richest rappers in the United States. 50 Cent is well known for his video games 50 Cent: Bulletproof and 50 Cent: Blood and Sand. He helped develop a vitamin water drink called Formula 50. He teamed up with deoderent brand Right Guard to develop and release a line of body spray and condoms, Pure 50 RGX Body Spray and Magic Stick Condoms respectively. He is also somewhat of an actor, being featured in shows like The Simpsons on occasion. He started a film company, Cheetah Vision, and a book firm as well known as G-Unit Books. 50 Cent may be the most diversified businessman on this list, and I expect with time he will rise even higher on this Forbes richest rappers list as well.
You have just read The Top 5 Richest Rappers in the United States article, heavily inspired by Forbes richest rappers list. The rappers on this list are well known for their music, but much of their earnings come from a variety of entrepreneurial exploits and business ventures that have pocketed millions of dollars for them. Be sure to check out my other articles The Top 10 Richest Musicians in the World and The Top 7 Richest Rappers Who Give Their Money to Charity.