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 40 richest rappers in the world. *This list has been updated to reflect numbers as of 2019. We will try to keep it updated every year.
40. Bahamadia – $32 Million to $300,000
Though her net worth estimates vary wildly, this rap queen knows the value of family and keeps herself to herself. She does have a son named Mah-Zing Wong who was on Project Runway, but beyond that very little escapes about her personal life. She participates in lectures at universities around the country, which speaks to her depth of character, and anyone who has heard her voice knows that warm, rich tone anywhere. It seems her lyrical excellence has found a secondary outlet teaching. Whatever the bank may say Antonia D. Reed has a lock on the things that really matter so we know her net worth is more than money can buy.
39. Nas – $39 Million
Nasir Bin Olu Daren Jones was born into a musical family. His father Olu Dara plays both the guitar and coronet and Nas could play the trumpet at age 4. By nine he is rumored to have been writing his own rap songs, and he dropped out before he even reached high school to pursue his musical passion. For most people, this would have been the worst life-choice ever, but NAS made it work. He has sold over 30 million albums and has eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums.
38. Rick Ross – $39 Million
As one of the most suspicious rappers on the list, it still might surprise you to find out that Rick Ross named himself after a drug kingpin in L.A. called Freeway Ricky Ross. With all the ‘questionable material,’ in his videos, fans and haters speculate more than a little about where he gets the money. Whatever the truth may be, at least a large part of the bankroll is coming from Maybach, the record label he owns that is part of Warner Brothers.
37. Common – $40 Million
Despite his stage name Lonnie Corant Jaman Shuka Rashid Lynn is anything but common. Let’s just be straightforward here; he’s written a book, dated Serena Williams, acted, modeled and even been included in video games. Commons debut (Can I Borrow a Dollar) in 1992 is still being played and remixed, and he still has a cult following. The only thing that surprises us about this philanthropic and in every way brilliant artist is that he’s not higher up on the list.
36. Andre 3000 – $45 Million
Just like his OutKast partner Big Boi, this rapper is known for his (their shared) quirky and upbeat musical stylings and hits like Hey Yeah. However, this singer and producer might be just as well known for his TV appearance on The Shield where he made several appearances and was well received. Few people know that OutKast was initially known as 2 Shades Deep, but we’re glad they changed the name before Players Ball, their first single, went platinum.
35. Big Boi – $45 Million
Big Boi is best known for his role in OutKast and along with his partner and friend Andre 3000 he has put out six studio albums so far. The dynamic duo has sold over 25 Million albums in total. As a solo artist, he’s put out a handful of albums and branched out into writing, composing and producing. Also, he’s done his share of acting. His first role was in 20 Funerals (2004), and he has since done parts in SVU, Girlfriends, and Idlewild to name just a few.
34. Darryl McDaniels AKA D.M.C – $45 Million
Even as the other half of the famous Run DMC, Darryl struggled hard in life. He was adopted as a child, and it can’t have been an easy life because he would later grow to have his heart-wrenching battles with drugs and alcohol as he fought depression. Yet somehow in spite of all the troubles he had, he still managed to co-found a brilliant rap trio and find time to work with children. He even helped to create a camp for foster children and subsequently received the 2006 Angels in Adoption Award from Congress. Some people see darkness and fall into it, but D.M.C uses his to propel himself to greater heights, and that is commendable.
33. DJ Khaled – $50 Million
If any rapper on this list knew from the beginning that he was headed to the top, it’s DJ Khaled. He was born in New Orleans, but his parents relocated to Orlando Florida when he was about 14. He began DJing there, but the family returned to New Orleans for financial reasons. In 1993 he started work at Odyssey Records, but when he won $5,000 the next year in a contest he took the win and went right back to Florida. Settling in Miami he began working at a pirate radio station (MIXX96) and worked his way up to the local hip-hop station (99 JAMZ) and beyond.
32. Wiz Khalifa – $50 Million
Unlike most of the artists on this list, Wiz Khalifa signed on to his first label (Rostrum Records) at just 16 years old. It shouldn’t come as much surprise that a man who started his career when most others were still worrying about getting their licenses and going to the prom managed to make the list of wealthiest rappers in the world. He also had the opportunity to travel the world while he was younger than most, living in Japan and Germany as a child before his parents came back to the US and settled in Pittsburgh. His debut album Show & Prove dropped over twelve years ago in 2006, and it’s been all uphill for this talented rapper ever since.
32. Missy Elliot – $50 Million
Missy Elliot is one of the most popular female rappers of all time, beloved by generations of fans. The Virginia born singer/songwriter, dancer, actress and record producer has had what you might call a prolific career so far. In addition to her five Grammys and a cabinet full of other accolades, she has won the incredibly prestigious Billboard Women in Music Innovator Award. It’s no more than we’d expect from someone whose debut album made it into the top 3 on the Billboard 200 list.
30. T.I. – $52.5 Million
Anyone with seven studio albums that have broken the top five on the billboards is worthy of making this list. T.I. is one of those notables. Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. hails from the dirty south, Atlanta Georgia. In addition to his music career, he has six children and juggles four different baby-mamas, which indeed isn’t very likely to make the hectic life of a star any easier. Despite a problematic personal life, he’s managed to secure no less than 11 Billboard Music Awards and at least a dozen others including his 3 Grammys. This rapper and actor is so talented it hurts.
29. Chad Hugo – $55 Million
N.E.R.D. partner of Pharell Williams, the two met back in their school days, and it was a perfect match. Pharell often credits his partner as a genius. Chad Hugo may not do the majority of the actual rapping, but he does contribute vocally at times. We’ve decided to round up and count it since he’s inseparable from Pharell. Watching the two gifted young rappers is always an amusing ride, and his irreverent musical style is the backdrop to so many well-known soundtracks that Chad has earned his place on the list.
28. Queen Latifah – $60 Million
Children of the 90s will remember the massively popular Queen Latifah show. Dana Elaine Owens aka Queen Latifah has undoubtedly done more than just rap, but her rhymes are what gives her the honor of being the second highest paid female rapper of all time. In addition to her music and talk show career, she has been in numerous movies including The Bone Collector and Chicago. She’s been nominated for and won numerous awards including Emmys, Grammys, and Perhaps more intriguingly, she (possibly) is the only bisexual to make the list. Though the singer and actress has never been married, she has publicly dated people of both genders and refuses to comment on her personal preferences. For all of this and more we say ‘Hail to the Queen,’ she deserves her spot on the list.
27. Busta Rhymes – $65 Million or $20 Million
While his net worth may be in debate, Busta Rhymes skills speak for themselves. The ability to spit rhymes rapid-fire and with high accuracy is a hallmark of this rapper’s style. Despite his money troubles, as it was revealed in 2014 he owed hundreds of thousands in back taxes, he made the richest rappers list. The eccentric star likes the finer things in life. His Malibu home is worth almost 11 million dollars, and he owns both a Rolls Royce Phantom and a Lamborghini Aventador among other cars.
26. Joseph Simmons AKA Reverend Run – $70 Million
Joseph Simmons stage name Reverend Run isn’t ironic in the least. This rapper and TV personality is an ordained minister. Millennials will recognize him from the show he created in partnership with MTV. Runs House was a reality show featuring his family and faith centered life. Older generations know him as the other part of Run D.M.C. The crossover song they did with Aerosmith (Walk This Way) was the first of its type paving the way for those who came after.
25. Swizz Beatz – $72.5 Million
Kasseem Dean was born in the Bronx, which makes it all the more surprising that he is so incredibly low key. His fame may not be on par with what you expect from someone with nearly a hundred million dollars in the bank, a wife like Alecia Keys and a successful career as both a DJ and a rapper in his own right. He doesn’t seem to mind being a bit of cult legend and spends more time producing others than himself. Swizz has many ventures including his line of shoes at Reebok (where he sits on the board) and a sideline working with Kidrobot, a company that makes toys and kids clothing.
24. Will.i.am – $75 Million
William James Adams Jr. came into his fame as one of The Black Eyed Peas. Music wasn’t what he originally planned for his life. The star once went to school at the Los Angeles Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising intending to become a clothing designer. After moving to Britain and making his home there, the Will.i.am joined the lineup of The Voice and is the only one to have been included in all seven seasons.
23. Nicki Minaj – $80 Million
This Trinidad/Tobago born beauty Nicki Minaj is quite possibly the most influential female rapper of all time, and indeed the best paid. Though she spends a fair amount of her money on those lavish and extreme fashions for which she is so well known, that’s not all she wrote. In addition to her time on American Idol, she’s worked for Peps and MAC among other huge name companies. She has a stake in Tidal and is a philanthropist to boot. Last year she awarded 37 scholarships.
23. Pitbull – $80 Million
This Miami born Cuban American singer/songwriter, actor, businessman and producer was born Armando Christian Pérez in 1981. In his formative years, the rapper says he was inspired by Jose Marti a Cuban poet whos’ work he memorized. Pitbull has several acting credits on his resume including Blood Money and a cameo on Empire. You may also recognize his voice from the animated movie Epic where he played Bufo. As a man of many talents, Pitbull has a fragrance line and was the executive producer and co-writer of La Esquina. He didn’t stop there. The business savvy rapper has a stake in Miami Subs Pizza and Grill. He’s also followed the trend of Hollywood actors investing in alcohol brands and holds a stake in Voli Vodka.
21. 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.
20. 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.
19. 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.
18. 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.
17. 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.
16. 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.
15. 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.
14. 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.
13. 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.
12. 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.
11. 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.
11. Drake – $140 Million
The Canadian Jewish Powerhouse rapper Drake wasn’t always in the music industry. He started out as a teen in the TV series Degrassi: The New Generation. His early start in entertainment may have been what opened the doors for him, but it was sheer talent that carried him onto the list of wealthiest rappers in the world. It wasn’t always easy for the upwardly mobile rapper however. As a kid, he was bullied so much about his race and religion that he chose to drop out of school.
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.