Tag: Cash Money Records

The Forbes Five: Hip-Hop’s Wealthiest Artists in 2015

Last May, shortly after word began to spread that Dr. Dre had sold his eponymous headphone line to Apple, the superproducer made a proclamation: rap’s first billionaire was about to be crowned, and he hailed from Los Angeles.

“The first billionaire in hip-hop, right here on the [expletive] West Coast,” exclaimed Dre in a video clip that went viral almost instantly. But the deal, whose value was initially reported at $3.2 billion, ended up at an even $3 billion in cash. After taxes, Dre’s 25% stake left him with a $500 million windfall–$100 million more than FORBES estimated his stake to be worth last April–and a net worth of $700 million.

Amazingly enough, Dre is not the richest man in hip-hop; that honor goes to Diddy, who clocks in at $735 million. The news may come as a surprise to many, but while Dre’s wealth derived from a single jackpot idea, Diddy’s is the product of his interests in a slew of companies, a handful of which could one day give him a Beats-esque exit.

Diddy has a deal with Diageo’s Ciroc vodka that guarantees him a split of the proceeds if the brand is ever sold, an event that would surely land him a nine-figure check. He also owns a controlling stake, or close to it, in clothing lines Sean John and Enyce, alkaline water brand Aquahydrate, new tequila DeLeon and multimedia network Revolt. Diddy founded the latter as a sort of next generation MTV with a renewed focus on music.

“Revolt got built out of the frustration Sean was having with music media being able to get his albums out there,” says Revolt chief executive Keith Clinkscales. “Sean has been aggressive in being sure that we put the power of the platform in the hands of musicians to be able to create with fans in their authentic voice.”

2015 Top 5 Hip-Hop Artists By Wealth:

  1. Diddy        $730 Million
  2. Dr. Dre      $700 Million
  3. Jay Z        $550 Million
  4. 50 Cent    $155 Million
  5. Birdman   $150 Million

Diddy isn’t the only hip-hop mogul with that aim. Jay Z, who ranks third with a fortune of $550 million, purchased and relaunched Scandinavian streaming service Tidal this year with promises of creating an artist-owned Spotify competitor set apart by exclusive content.

Though the star-studded rollout struck some as tonedeaf—prompting a flurry of rich-getting-richer criticism, and perhaps a change in strategy for Jay Z—Tidal is still early in its life as a company, and may yet prove to be an increasingly valuable asset to Jay Z and to the whole industry.

“It’s alerting people that streaming is a viable option for them to listen to music,” says Jay Frank, chief of digital marketing outfit DigMark, of Tidal. “The more that we have positive conversations on that, the more opposition we have to grow the business.”

50 Cent and Birdman round out the list of five, with fortunes of $155 million and $150 million, respectively. The latter’s total dipped slightly due to uncertainty surrounding Cash Money Records, by far his biggest asset, which has been dogged by rumors of the departure of big acts including superstar Lil Wayne. Continue reading “The Forbes Five: Hip-Hop’s Wealthiest Artists in 2015”

Diddy Tops Forbes’ List of Richest Hip-Hop Artists

Puff Daddy walking out of Chateau Marmont Saturday night with a bottle of wine.

Sean “Diddy” Combs ranks No. 1 on this year’s Forbes Five, the magazine’s list of hip-hop’s wealthiest artists, with an estimated net worth of $580 million.

The bulk of the Bad Boy Records founder’s wealth comes from non-musical ventures, namely his deal with Diageo’s Ciroc. The agreement entitles him to eight-figure annual payouts and a nine-figure windfall if the brand is ever sold—and Ciroc’s value has never been higher.

“It is one of the fastest-growing brands within vodka,” says Jack Russo, an equity analyst at Edward Jones & Co. “Consumers are feeling a little bit better about their situation, and with that, they’re willing to spend more on premium products.”

The No. 2 spot goes to Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, with a net worth of $475 million. He’s still rolling in cash from megadeals like his $204 million Rocawear sale in 2007 and his $150 million pact with Live Nation the following year. He continues to hold stakes in Roc Nation, Carol’s Daughter, the Brooklyn Nets—and, more significantly, the Barclays Center itself—while adding new partnerships with the likes of Duracell, Budweiser and Bacardi’s D’ussé Cognac.

Andre “Dr. Dre” Young ranks third with $350 million, thanks mostly to his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. A year after selling 51% of the company to handset maker HTC for $300 million in August 2011, Dre and his partners bought back half of the half they sold in 2012—and their investment continues to soar in value due to Beats’ whopping 65% market share of the premium ($99 and up) headphone market.

Continue reading “Diddy Tops Forbes’ List of Richest Hip-Hop Artists”

Lil Wayne Breaks Elvis Presley’s Billboard Record

Lil Wayne, Elvis Presley
Lil Wayne is the new Elvis Presley when it comes to Billboard hits. The inimitable MC from New Orleans has just surpassed the king of rock in total number of songs to land on the Hot 100.  “Celebration,” the latest single from Game, is the 109th song to make the chart with Wayne appearing as either a lead or featured artist. Presley’s record was 108 spanning between 1958 and 2003. Continue reading “Lil Wayne Breaks Elvis Presley’s Billboard Record”