Hip Hop Stars Stayin’ Paid Outside Of Music

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  • August 17, 2010

jay z

Are you a rapper trying to make it in today’s music business? If so, you may want to create a business plan and think about getting your MBA. It seems that the world’s richest rap stars are making the bulk of their money by using the age old financial advisement, diversify.

I bet you were told years ago not to put all of your eggs in one basket, but that’s exactly what a lot of people do. Well if you want to party like a rapper…and who wouldn’t…then you need to do what the ultra rich ones do.

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That being practicing diversification. Did you ever, for one moment in your adult life think that you would be taking financial advice from a gold-tooth encrusted, pants fallin down rapper?

Well, it seems that maybe it’s time to listen up. So just what are the world’s richest rappers up to?

Rap star Jay-Z tops a list of the richest rappers in 2010, earning more than double that of runner-up Sean “Diddy” Combs.

Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter took in $63 million in personal income between June 2009 and June 2010, according to Forbes.com.

Diddy took in $30 million, followed by Senegalese-American rapper Aliuane “Akon” Thiam at $21 million.

Despite beginning a jail sentence in March for weapons charges, New Orleans-born rapper Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter came in fourth, earning $20 million, ahead of California rap icon Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, who took in $17 million.

Almost all stars at the top of the list all share a common strategy — diversification.

The top-earning rappers pulled in cash from alcohol sponsorships, clothing lines, nightclub properties and film appearances, in addition to concert tours and record sales.

Jay-Z co-owns the 40/40 nightclub chain. Diddy promotes Ciroc vodka and appeared in the feature film “Get Him to the Greek.”  In fact he just showed up on this week’s episode of the HBO series “Entourage” and he got a chance to pitch…not his new album…you guessed it, Ciroc.

Dr. Dre…well he’s done it all including producing some of these guys and of course pitching Dr. Pepper. He and Lil Wayne also have record labels. Akon appeared in a Pepsi World Cup ad campaign.

The real money isn’t in record sales, said Zack O’Malley Greenburg, a Forbes writer who compiled the list.

“Eminem tied at number 14, even though he’s sold more records than any artist since 2000,” Greenburg said.

Eminem earned $8 million this year, despite the release of his album “Recovery” which sold 741,000 copies in the first week of sales.

“It’s pretty shocking to see him so low down on the list,” said Greenburg. “Compared to his peers, he doesn’t really do much outside of music.”

Rappers have responded to the current era of the digital download, when record sales don’t reach the numbers they used to.

“Artists don’t put out albums anymore, they put out single hits, so they have reasons to tour. Hits and tours make you relevant, and they get you sponsorships, and earn you money from merchandise,” said Greenburg, who is the author of a forthcoming business-focused biography of Jay-Z.

Greenburg looked at male recording artists who primarily produced rap or hip-hop, and estimated their earnings from record sales, song downloads, touring, film and TV appearances, endorsements and other sources.

The full list can be found here.

About Barry Cunningham

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