From Crack to King- Jay Z is Forbes' Cash King

August 10, 2011 By:

From crack to King - Jay Z is Forbes Cash King

Not only is Jay-Z watching "The Throne" he's sitting atop it. In the midst of all the hype surrounding Jay-Z and Kanye West's much anticipated joint-album, "Watch The Throne," Forbes has named Jay Z #1 on their Hip Hop's top earners list.

Calling the list "Cash Kings 2011: Hip Hop's Top Earners" describes the hip hop millionaires as "all living artists whose work is primarily classified as hip-hop or rap," and "the estimates include income from record sales, touring, digital downloads, films, merchandise sales, endorsements, books and other entertainment ventures."

Jay-Z tops the list making $37 million in 2011. Had they extended this list to include pop stars, no doubt Jay Z's wife would topple his worth. Forbes estimated that in 2010 Beyonce earned $87 million. I guess we all know who wears the pants in this relationship....Actually, I have no idea who wears the pants, since 2009 I've only ever see Beyonce in a leotard. Regardless, this is Jay-Z's fourth time taking the Cash Kings crown in the past 5 years.

Hollyscoop talked to Forbes magazine writer Zack O’Malley Greenburg and author of "Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office" who gave his thoughts on Jay-Z's business savvy behavior. "He just has a natural business acumen whether it's selling illegal drugs or selling CD's or selling clothes, it's the same kind of agile business mind."

Though Jay-Z's ride to the top hasn't always been easy. If you listen to his earlier songs, it's no secret that he started his empire as a crack dealer. O’Malley tells us, "I think that people need to get past Jay Z's past and look at the present and see what he's doing in terms of building brands and working as an entrepreneur."

It's the entrepreneurial spirit that drove Jay-Z to the top, he created the fashion brand RocaWear and launched Roc Nation in addition to his own music which he continues to release, year after year.

Sean P. Diddy Combs came in at #2, making $35 million in the last 12 months. About half of that total came from his partnership with Ciroc vodka, which is enough booze to sedate several frat house for a year.

The Sid to Jay-Z's Nancy is Kanye West who came in at #3, raking in $16 million. How does that feel to only make half as much as your partner in crime? I guess Jay Z should stick to rapping about Bugatti's and Kanye could rap Ferrari's?

The rest of the list is comprised of hip hop's regulars, including LIl Wayne even though he spent most of 2010 in jail. Nicki Minaj is the only female to make the top 20 list, probably because she's the only female hip hop artist right now.

Here's the list:


1. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, $37 million

2. Sean “Diddy” Combs, $35 million

3. Kanye West, $16 million

4 – 5. Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter /Bryan “Birdman” Williams, $15 million (tie)

6 – 8. Marshall “Eminem” Mathers / Andre “Dr. Dre” Young / Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus, $14 million (tie)

9. Aliuane “Akon” Thiam, $13 million

10. Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges, $12 million

11 – 12. Cameron “Wiz Khalifa” Thomaz / Aubrey “Drake” Graham, $11 million (tie)

13. Pharrell Williams, $10 million

14. Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley, $7 million

15 – 16. Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean / Onika “Nicki Minaj” Maraj $6.5 million (tie)

17 – 19. William “Rick Ross” Roberts / Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson / Armando “Pitbull” Perez, $6 million (tie)

20. Faheem “T-Pain” Najm / Bobby “B.o.B” Simmons, Jr. $5 million (tie)