The new Forbes Hip Hop Cash Kings 2012 top 20 list has been revealed, with Beats headphone maker Dr. Dre topping the list. He’s joined by several other hip hop moguls and rapper entrepreneurs including Diddy, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne at the top of the list. So how did Dre earn the top spot this year, and will he continue to hold it for 2013?
According to Forbes.com, it’s those Beats by Dre headphones which have really boosted Dre’s income to that next level. Not only is he a massively successful producer and part-time rapper these days, but also has attached his “Beats” brand to multiple products including laptops and headphones. The idea was originally brought to him by Jimmy Iovine, and has been a rousing success to the tune of $110 million in pretax earnings.
Not surprisingly, Dre is joined by other rappers who have parlayed their fame into outside ventures to earn big bucks. Jay-Z has consistently been among the top rap stars on these lists. Jay, real name Shawn Carter, continues to have various income streams including his 40/40 Club restaurants, part ownership of the Brooklyn Nets, and various business deals. Those include deals with Duracell, Budweiser and several other companies he’s helped to promote. Touring with his rap partner Kanye West of “The Throne” has helped add to the income, as well as his nice little catalog of albums released over the years.
Other stars on the list have enjoyed extra earnings via their various ventures. Diddy has his alcoholic beverage Ciroc, Kanye West helps design Nikes and women’s clothing, and Lil Wayne has a clothing line called Trunkfit in addition to a partnership with Mountain Dew. Weezy has also recently made it known he may venture from the rap world into skateboarding, which could help boost his crossover earnings potential that much more.
Other stars who made the Forbes Hip Hop Cash Kings 2012 top 20 include Drake, Birdman, Nicki Minaj, Eminem, Ludacris, and Rick Ross. The common thread seems to be that these hip hop superstars have successfully branded their names into other products or partnerships, which has given an income boost all around. Continuing to make popular music and sell out concert venues doesn’t hurt either, and that right there is what helps keep them relevant enough to keep earning that massive cash.
With all that said, Dr. Dre will have to continue the play the role of “The Watcher” to make sure he keeps that top spot. Releasing the long-delayed but highly anticipated “Detox” album would certainly help the rapper/producer keep his spot amongst the upper rankings of hip hop’s elite money makers.
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