If you are one of the few that makes it, being in the world of hip hop can be extremely lucrative. While a select few rappers make a lot of money and appear as though they love to spend it, remember that it takes work like anything else to stand out among the rest. Many rappers’ careers have helped them purchase huge mansions, vacation homes, fancy cars, and a whole lot of bling that you see in videos. Some in the hip hop genre make more money than others because they have ventured out and done more than just rap. What’s become an increasing trend over the years is how rappers at the top of their games have become extremely successful entrepreneurs who have opened up new companies in areas like fashion, wine and spirits, production companies, and many, many more.
Below is a list of the 20 richest rappers in the world. *This list has been updated to reflect numbers as of 2019
20. Notorious B.I.G.-$160 Million
Notorious B.I.G. Aka Biggie Smalls sold 17 million albums before his death in 1997. When he was just 24 years old, he was shot and killed and his murder continues to be unsolved. Since his death, he has sold more records and the cash from these albums has gone to his estate. Many artists have sampled his songs which provide even more money. Jay-Z and his managers started a clothing line after his and the money earned went into a foundation and still continues to make a lot of music today. Had he not been murdered at such a young age, Biggie could have made it to number one on the list.
19. 50 Cent- $270 Million or $64 Million UPDATE – $30 Million
There have been some discrepancies regarding 50 Cent’s actual net worth. There have been reports that he had to file for bankruptcy and that his current net worth is $30 million. Nobody knows for sure if the bankruptcy stories are real, however, since he is still spending like he always has been, people think that the rumors are not true. He is more than just a rapper. He is also a producer and an entrepreneur. He is a partner in the popular Vitamin Water company, which has made him very rich.
18. Nelly- $60 Million
Nelly‘s real name is Cornell Iral Haynes Jr. He was born in 1974 and he never expected to become one of the richest rappers in the world when he was younger. In the history of American music, he is the fourth best selling rap star. Nelly is a singer, rapper, and songwriter. He has also appeared on television shows and in movies. Throughout his career, Nelly has sold over 21 million albums.
17. The Beastie Boys- $75 Million
You don’t see too many successful white rappers, and the Beastie Boys is one of them. They got together in New York City in 1986 and worked for years to prove that they could make it in the business. Over the years, they have released 7 albums that went platinum or higher. In 1985, in their early beginnings they toured with Madonna. A year later, they released their debut album which sold over 26 million copies in the United States and 50 million copies around the world. In 1991, Billboard Magazine named them the highest selling rap group of the year. In 2012, the received the huge honor of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is something all musicians strive for.
16. Akon- $80 Million
Akon‘s real name is Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam. He must have had trouble writing that in school as a young boy. He was born in 1973 in St. Louis, Missouri and he is one of the most successful rappers in the business. Not only is he a rapper, he is also a singer/songwriter, a producer, an actor, and an entrepreneur. Throughout his career, he has produced over 35 songs that landed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He also works with other artists. Over the years, he as been a featured vocalist on over 300 songs with superstars such as Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Michael Jackson, Gwen Stefani and the late Whitney Houston. More currently, he has been producing for the outrageous and popular, Lady Gaga. Akon works really hard and considering his net worth, it really pays off.
15. Timbaland- $85 Million
Timbaland‘s real name is Timothy Zachery Mosely and he was born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1972. He has had a very successful career as a solo rapper and working with other well known rappers. He owns the label Mosely Music Group and he has produced albums for hit stars including Brandy, Nelly Furtado, Rihanna, Ludacris, and Jay Z. Over the years, since 2014, he has written 99 hit songs in the United States and 85 hit songs in the United Kingdom. He is excellent at what he does and his bank account reflects that.
14. LL Cool J- $100 Million
LL Cool J‘s real name is James Todd Smith and he was born on Long Island. He started wearing baseball caps at a very young age and he continues to do so today. Very early on he learned about the hip hop and rap culture. He started writing songs which he says was a release for the bullying and abuse that he had to deal with as a child. It didn’t take long before he built up a great reputation for himself as a rapper and an MC. As much as he loves music, LL Cool J also has a passion for acting and he has proven himself in that arena as well. He has starred in several movies and even has a lead role on a television show. In 1999, he won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for his role in the film, Deep Blue Sea. LL Cool J is great at just about everything he does, which is why he has such a high net worth.
13. Pharrell Williams-$130 Million
Pharrell Williams has sure made his mark as he’s been making music and collaborating since the 90s. More recently in 2014, his song Happy was the most successful songs of the year, selling 14 million units and rose to triple platinum. He is also a composer and he has worked on songs for the films The Amazing Spiderman 2 and Despicable Me. He has his own record label, a YouTube channel, and a clothing line. Pharrell is also a very successful businessman and has partnered with companies such as Louis Vuitton, G-Star Raw, Moncler, Adidas, and Uniglo.
12. Snoop Dogg- $135 Million
Snoop Dogg is a popular rapper and a very smart and creative businessman. Since 1992, he sold over 53 million albums worldwide and has collaborated with some of the most popular rappers and singers in the business. If you have ever heard one of Snoop’s songs or have read any of his interviews, you know that he is a huge fan of marijuana. He has put his love for weed to good use and in 2015, he invested Eaze, which is a cannabis delivery service. Today, he has his own line of marijuana products called Leafs by Snoop. He is the first celebrity to take on such a venture and he is making a lot of money from it. He also has an app called Snoopify, which is said to be bringing in over $30,000 each week.
11. Lil Wayne- $135 Million
Lil Wayne is a pretty amazing person. Although he did some time in prison, he has still managed to be incredibly successful and has gotten very rich. He has more records on the Billboard Hot 100 than Elvis Presley. He has sold over 100 million records around the world, which puts him right up there with the legendary Beyonce. Like many other rappers in the industry, Lil Wayne has ventured out into the business world. He has his own clothing line, his own shoe line, and he owns a flavored cigar manufacturing company. He has also partnered with some very successful entertainers such as Drake and Nicki Manaj. He also partnered in Beats by Dre, which make Dr. Dre a billionaire.
10. Ice Cube- $140 Million
Ice Cube got his start in the famous and controversial rap group, NWA. When things went south in the group, Ice Cube ventured out on his own. He made a lot of money as a solo artist and then branched out into movies. In 1991 he started acting and he still continues to do so today. Just about every movie that he has written or starred in has become a hit. Most recently, he wrote and produced the Straight Out of Compton, which was about NWA’s rise to fame. Ice Cube is also a successful businessman. He has several enterprises and is a spokesman for Coors Light beer and St. Ides malt liquor. Ice Cube is a very smart and talented man with a nice, fat bank account.
9. Kanye West- $145 Million
Kanye West is a very controversial rapper. Over the years, he has sold over 100 million digital downloads of his music and 32 million albums. Over the years, he has won 21 Grammy Awards for his work. He is married to reality star, Kim Kardashian and is a successful businessman. He has his own line of clothing that he had to finance himself. His Yeezy clothing line and Yeezy Boots have made him millions. Kanye has also collaborated with Louis Vuitton and Nike. Some fans love Kanye and others hate him due to some sketchy things that he has done in public. The most famous was when he stormed the stage while Taylor Swift was trying to make an acceptance speech for winning the MTV Award for Best Video. In the middle of her speech, he got on stage to let everyone know that his friend, Beyonce should have one the award. This began a war with the sweetheart of pop music.
8. Eminem- $160 Million
Eminem‘s debut album sold millions of copies and all of the albums that followed did just as well. It is very rare for an album to go diamond and between 2000 and 2002, Eminem’s albums did. His music is excellent and very controversial. Many of his songs were about his hatred for his ex-wife, Kim Mathers. They are also about his love for his daughter, Haley. He started his own record company called Shady Records. He is also a movie star and he has starred in two Super Bowl ads with huge budgets. He continues to make music today which shocks and entertains the world.
7. Ronald “Slim” Williams- $170 Million
Slim was born in 1967 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Slim started Cash Money Records with his brother, Birdman. Slim is the executive producer in the company and many successful artists call this label home. One of the most famous is Lil Wayne. CNBC produced a documentary which featured Slim due to the outrageous amount of money that he has made in the rap industry and he appeared with Lil Wayne on a episode of Behind the Music.
6. Bryan “Birdman” Williams- $170 Million
Birdman is in a partnership with his brother, Slim in Cash Money Records and the two split everything 50/50. Unlike Slim, Birdman is also a performer. He was originally known as Baby when he was part of the rap group Big Tymer$ in New Orleans from 1997 until 1995. The brothers’ label works closely with Lil Wayne, and Birdman has collaborated with him on a few of his albums. While he leaves much of the production work to his brother, he has worked closely with Slim on some of his own songs.
5. Usher- $180 Million
Usher is a rapper, singer, actor, businessman, and a philanthropist. Unlike many rappers, he uses his real name, which is Usher Raymond IV. He is famous for being about to combine R&B, hip hop, funk, and pop into his music. Throughout his 21 years in music, he has won over 21 prestigious industry awards. He has had roles in television and movies and was a coach on the show, The Voice. He owns several restaurants and he is an investor in a school supply company called Yoobi. When Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans, Usher took notice and decided to help. He helped about 700 families with housing and electricity. He also donated a great deal of money to clean up the city. Not only is he talented, he is also very caring.
4. Master P- $350 Million
Master P goes by many names including his given name, Percy Robert Miller and his business name, P. Miller. He was a rapper very early on and is known for being a trend setter. He was born in New Orleans and grew up in the projects. In 1998, his songs about poverty, police brutality, drug dealing, and social problems helped him to land in the number 10 spot of the 40 highest paid entertainers. Although Master P isn’t making as much music as he did previously, he is still making a great deal of money through real estate, TV production, magazine publishing, and his Foot Locker franchise. He is also known for being a very talented filmmaker. He is one of the most respected rap artists in the industry.
3. P Diddy- $855 Million
Diddy aka Sean Combs is a huge superstar and a very savvy businessman. His debut album went platinum 7 times. He has had several stage names over the years. His talent has helped him win several prestigious awards in the music industry. He has also helped to build successful careers for some of the most famous artists. Music isn’t the only thing that P. Diddy knows. He has his own clothing line called Sean John and he has won several prestigious awards for his line. He is also a partner in Ciroc vodka and holds a huge stake in Revolt TV. Diddy even got into the water business and he is a majority holder in the Aquahydrate company. He is also an actor and owns his own movie production company. Diddy has also dabbled in reality television and he owns a couple of restaurants.
2. Dr Dre- $860 Million
Up until Dr. Dre sold his Beats By Dre to Apple for $3 billion, P Diddy was the reigning champion as the richest rapper in the world. Dr. Dre got his start with NWA which brought him a great deal of fame and fortune. After the group broke up, he created his own record label called Aftermath Entertainment which made stars out of some pretty famous rappers including Eminem, 50 Cent, Mary J Blige and many others. He has won many prestigious awards and in 2015, he announced that his album, Compton would be his last. This broke the hearts of rap lovers all over the world. Dre’s gonna be worth a billion some day.
1. Jay-Z- $900 Million
Jay-Z has created quite an amazing empire and is now tops on this list. Rolling Stone ranked him at number 88 of the 100 greatest artists of all time. This is a huge honor. His real name is Shawn Corey Carter and he was born in Brooklyn. Since 1986, he has been making millions. Over 100 million of his records have been sold and he has also worked with some of the most successful artists in the business. He branched out into the business world and founded Roc Nation Sports, where is works as a sports agent for the NBA. Is is also a co-owner of the 40/40 Club in New York which is incredibly successful. He is also the President of Def Jam. Jay-Z is married to the hugely successful Beyonce and he has been called one of the greatest rappers in history.