1. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter – $63 Million
Says he’s not a businessman; he’s a business, man–and it’s not idle boasting. Rapper-turned-mogul retains his crown as hip-hop’s cash king thanks to a new album and investments in 40/40 nightclub chain, Broadway show “Fela!” and New Jersey Nets basketball team. Biggest boost comes from Blueprint 3 Tour, which grossed over $1 million per concert this year. Still makes less than wife Beyoncé.
2. Sean “Diddy” Combs – $30M
Ageless hip-hop impresario has changed name from Puff Daddy to P. Diddy to Diddy. Now, he occasionally goes by “Ciroc Obama,” after his lucrative vodka joint venture with Diageo. Still shills Sean John clothing, Bad Boy Records, and more; released Last Train to Paris, his first album since 2006. Acting career on the rise after appearance in 2010 flick Get Him to the Greek, where he plays a record executive.
3. Aliuane “Akon” Thiam – $21M
Senegalese-American hip-hop singer/songwriter/producer has been profiting from a range of business ventures this year. There’s his Konvict Clothing, his Pepsi soccer ad campaign and Kon Live, his Interscope-backed imprint that’s home to Lady Gaga and others. Still has time for traditional musical ventures, including an international tour and a new album, Stadium Music.
4. Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter – $20M
Not even jail could stop Lil Wayne from cracking the top five on our list. Sentenced in March to a year in the pen for weapons possession, the rapper managed to earn his hefty total from new album Rebirth, proceeds from guest appearances and a healthy dose of touring, where he grossed over $500,000 per show. Already making plans for a new album, Tha Carter IV, upon his release.
5. Andre “Dr. Dre” Young – $17M
Legendary rapper-producer is also one of hip-hop’s savviest–unlike many who sell away the rights to their songs, Dr. Dre hangs on to most of his. Still collects royalties on multiplatinum albums like 1992 classic The Chronic, which sold nearly 10 million copies worldwide. Also rakes in cash from his headphone line Beats by Dre, a partnership with Interscope Records. Served as executive producer for Eminem’s “Recovery,” which sold over 1 million U.S. copies in its first two weeks; solo album Detox is slated for release this fall.
6. Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges – $16M
Self-proclaimed “Mouth of the South” is becoming one the most diversified artists in the business. Has sold over 20 million albums, won three Grammy awards and appeared in two Oscar-winning films. Over the past year, inked endorsement deals with Tag body spray and Trojan Magnum condoms in addition to touring and releasing new album, Battle of the Sexes. Also partnered with spirits producer Birkedal Hartmann to create a cognac called Conjure.
7. Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus – $15M
Lanky rapper parlayed pimpish image into mainstream fame; once the embodiment of West Coast gangster rap, he revealed a softer side in his reality-TV show Father Hood and variety show Dogg After Dark. Added to acting résumé by playing himself in Sacha Baron Cohen flick Bruno and soap opera One Life to Live. Though sales of new album Malice N Wonderland have been disappointing–less than 300,000 copies to date–a lucrative tour earned him $10 million, by our estimates.
8. Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley – $14M
Sales of solo album Shock Value II disappointed last December, but corpulent super-producer continues to churn out tracks at a frenetic pace, including songs for Jay-Z, Drake and Shakira in the past year. Also appeared on ABC show FlashForward and will be featured in upcoming videogame “DJ Hero 2.” Continues to crank out hits from his 5,000-square-foot studio in Virginia Beach.
9. Pharrell Williams – $13M
Versatile star made his name penning hits for rappers and pop artists alike as part of popular production duo The Neptunes. Now fronts funk-rock band N*E*R*D, which is in the midst of an ambitious international tour in advance of upcoming album, Nothing. Once named the world’s best-dressed man by Esquire, Williams designs sunglasses for Louis Vuitton and owns apparel lines Ice Cream and Billionaire Boys Club. Worked with famed German composer Hans Zimmer to create soundtrack for animated flick Despicable Me.
10. Kanye West – $12M
Hip-hop star whose first album was called The College Dropout basically dropped out in the wake of his well-publicized outburst during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 Video Music Awards. He continues to produce hits, though, including a handful of songs for Jay-Z’s “Blueprint 3,” and will likely approach last year’s $25 million with a new album and world tour in the offing.
(See the original article here: http://www.forbes.com/2010/08/16/jay-z-diddy-akon-business-entertainment-hip-hop-cash-kings_land.html)