Who Will Be the First Hip-Hop Billionaire?

Diddy receives an annual cut of profits and a big chunk of cash if Ciroc is ever sold. With the spirit’s value soaring toward $1 billion—on top of stakes in clothing lines Sean John and Enyce, marketing firm Blue Flame and record label Bad Boy—Diddy may be beat buddy Jay-Z, featured on last year’s cover with Warren Buffett, to the Forbes 400.

(Forbes) Who Will Be Hip-Hop’s First Billionaire?

Zack O’Malley Greenburg, Forbes Staff + Follow

INVESTING | 9/22/2011 @ 1:19PM |20,952 views

Yesterday marked the launch of the Forbes 400, our annual list of America’s richest citizens. Headed by Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison, the group doesn’t include any hip-hop artists–yet.

Click for full photo gallery: Hip-Hop’s Future Billionaires

There are five artists on our watch list: Sean “Diddy” Combs (featured in this year’s issue), Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter (who appeared on the cover of last year’s, alongside Warren Buffett), Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, Bryan “Birdman” Williams, and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. All five already boast nine-figure fortunes, and in honor of the Forbes 400, we’ve updated our estimates. The big question: who will be the first to a billion?

“I think Young Money Cash Money would be the first billion-dollar brand in hip-hop,” said Birdman in an email message, referring to his record label. “We strong and growing every day as a brand and fast. Within the next few years we will be billionaires.”

To be sure, there are differing opinions on the matter. By FORBES latest count, Diddy is currently the closest, with an estimated net worth of $500 million. He’s taken to calling himself “Ciroc Obama,” and with good reason: his vodka deal with beverage giant Diageo could soon land him in some very exclusive company.

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Also see Who Are the Richest Rappers?Is the Dalai Lama Retiring?, Where do Dictators Get Their Wardrobes From? and The Sunday Times Rich List 2011

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