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Diddy tops Forbes richest in hip-hop list

St Louis American | 4/6/2013, 9:05 a.m.
(NNPA) Sean “Diddy” Combs ranks No. 1 on this year’s Forbes Five, the magazine’s list of hip-hop’s wealthiest artists, with ...
Sean "Diddy" Combs on left. Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter on right. Dan Steinberg of Invision and Henny Ray Abrams of AP

(NNPA) 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.

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 percent 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 percent market share of the premium ($99 and up) headphone market.

Bryan “Birdman” Williams owns the No. 4 spot, riding his Cash Money/Young Money empire to a fortune of $150 million. His roster includes Drake, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne ‒ the latter crossed the $100 million threshold for the first time this year, by our estimates, but remains just outside the top five. Birdman also recently launched a YMCMB clothing line and a spirit called GT Vodka.

Rounding out the list is Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson at $125 million. He’s another master of brand building: The bulk of his fortune came from heavy sales of his music, merchandise, video games and books in the wake of his smash debut Get Rich or Die Tryin’ ‒ and particularly from his payout for the sale of his stake in Vitamin Water parent Glacéau to Coca-Cola in 2007.

Information from http://www.eurweb.com and http://www.forbes.com contributed to this report.