Rappers are notorious for flexing their wealth in all sorts of wild ways: Travis Scott bought himself a multi-million dollar Bugatti for his birthday; JAY-Z prefers collecting rare art. Take a look at the 30 richest artists in hip-hop ranked by net worth.
T.I. – $50 Million
The self-proclaimed "King of the South," T.I. is a pioneer of the rap subgenre trap music, birthed in the early 2000s in his native Atlanta. Having sold millions of copies of his ten studio albums, fans seemingly can't get enough of Tip.
Celebrity Net Worth pins his value around $50 million, fueled by other passions including starring roles in the movies 'ATL' and 'American Gangster,' as well as his own VH1 TV show, 'T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle.'
Travis Scott – $50 Million
It's safe to say that no artist has used their cultural influence to create brand deals over the past couple of years more than Houston's own Travis Scott. Whether collaborating with Nike on various sneakers that resell for as much as $13,000 on StockX, to his latest partnership with McDonald's, Travis has been stacking dough.
When 2020 comes to a close, Travis' net worth will likely exceed the current estimated amount of $50 million via Celebrity Net Worth. The fee for his virtual 'Fortnite' performance was reportedly in the multi-million range. His finances also received a boost in 2019 when his Astroworld tour grossed $53.5 million. It's lit!
Wiz Khalifa – $60 Million
Wiz Khalifa is one of the most laidback and relaxed rappers in the game, so you may not realize the level of success he's attained since coming into the spotlight roughly a decade ago thanks to hits like "Black and Yellow." He's ridden that wave all the way to a cool valuation of $60 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
The Pittsburgh native's career hit a commercial peak with "See You Again," his tribute track to the late 'Fast & Furious' actor Paul Walker. It's sold over 11 million copies in the U.S. alone and the music video is the fourth most-viewed upload on YouTube ever with 4.7 billion plays. Numbers!
J. Cole – $60 Million
"I got a dollar and a dream, real dudes on my team," Jermaine Cole once rapped on his 2009 breakout mixtape 'The Warm Up.' Well, he's achieved his wildest dreams of fame and flipped that lonely dollar into an estimated fortune of $60 million as well, per Celebrity Net Worth. Here's how he did it.
Beyond going triple-platinum with no features via his third official album '2014 Forest Hills Drive,' one of the most important decisions Cole made in his career was starting his own record label called Dreamville. Signing rising acts like JID, Bas and Earthgang, Cole has established himself as a savvy industry executive.
Nas – $70 Million
Responsible for one of the most cherished hip-hop albums of all-time in his debut release 'Illmatic,' Nasty Nas is a certified legend. He's come a long way from the rough New York neighborhood of Queensbridge and after more than 25 years of dropping gems, Nas' worth hovers around $70 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
While Nas could've relied on just music to make a living, it's what he's done with that foundation that's taken his money to the next level. Through his own venture capital firm named after his hometown, Nas has invested in successful tech firms like Dropbox, Lyft and Ring, the latter of which earned him $40 million. Not a bad day at the office.
Rev Run – $70 Million
As one of the three founding members of the legendary Queens rap trio Run-DMC, Joseph Simmons aka Rev Run – he's an ordained minister – is viewed as a titan among industry heads. His net worth of $70 million, as reported by Celebrity Net Worth, certainly reflects this status and influence. But just how trailblazing was Run-DMC?
Well, they were the first hip-hop artists to earn a gold album certification with 1984's 'Run-DMC,' the first to go platinum with 'King of Rock' the following year, and they launched the first major rap-brand deal with Adidas. However, some younger cats may know Simmons best from his MTV reality show, 'Run's House.'
Queen Latifah – $70 Million
Not long after Run-DMC splashed onto the scene in the 1980s, Queen Latifah's beatboxing skills caught the attention of Fab 5 Freddy, the host of 'Yo! MTV Raps,' which led her to sign a record deal and release her first single. No one could have predicted how much success she would eventually accrue, though.
The Queen, whose real name is Dana Owens, is worth roughly $70 million, per Celebrity Net Worth. Of course, Latifah would leverage her initial music popularity to dominate TV and film, starring in the sitcom 'Living Single' and later being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in "Chicago." What can't she do?
DJ Khaled – $75 Million
DJ Khaled often preaches the importance of "securing the bag" to his millions of social media followers. Not only does he talk the talk; his assets totaling around $75 million, via Celebrity Net Worth, proves that he walks the walk. He's come a long way from being a DJ for local Miami radio station 99 Jamz!
While Khaled's "We The Best!" ad-lib has fueled multi-platinum records like "All I Do Is Win," his fame skyrocketed in 2016 thanks to the daily motivational tips he would share on Snapchat, summarized by catchphrases like "major key" and "another one." He's even written a New York Times Best Seller, 'The Keys.'
Kendrick Lamar – $75 Million
One special quality every person on this list has in common, save for Birdman, is they've been able to preserve their integrity while racking up millions of dollars. There's no better example than Kendrick Lamar, who's stayed committed to civil rights issues as his net worth has reportedly blossomed to $75 million.
It's a theme that stretches the length of his discography, from speaking on the effects of economic inequality in his hometown of Compton on "Keisha's Song" to soundtracking protests with his anthem "Alright." Kung-Fu Kenny was even presented with a Pulitzer Prize in 2018, the first non-jazz or classical act to win the award.
Akon – $80 Million
You know someone is rich when they can afford to build their own city. That's exactly how singer Akon, whose finances apparently amount to nearly $80 million, is spending his huge fortune, as he's in the process of constructing Akon City in the African country of Senegal. It's going to be quite the destination, too.
Sitting on 2,000 acres of land and requiring $6 billion of capital, the "real-life Wakanda" will feature all the ideal resources of a metropolis, like a hospital and a stadium for sports and concerts. Yet it will also be powered by solar energy and trade on its own cryptocurrency called Akoin. Anyone trying to book a trip?
Timbaland – $85 Million
Virginia producer Timbaland's work is timeless. Throughout a nearly 30-year stay in the music business, he's collaborated with the likes of JAY-Z, Kanye West, Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, Pharrell, Justin Timberlake and many others. Consistency and a knack for knowing what's hot have helped him amass an alleged net worth of $85 million.
Recently, as the nationwide coronavirus lockdown brought live concerts to a halt, Timbaland reaffirmed his reputation as a visionary, forming the Verzuz platform with fellow producer Swizz Beatz. Verzuz hosts live stream hit-for-hit battles involving celebrated artists, like Rick Ross vs. 2 Chainz. You gotta tune in!
Mike D – $90 Million
Run-DMC wasn't the only three-person group to bring mainstream attention to hip-hop back in the 1980s. The Beastie Boys, also hailing from New York, energized audiences with their own rambunctious records, including "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)" and "Shake Your Rump." Boatloads of cash weren't far behind.
The crew's frontman Michael "Mike D" Diamonds is now worth about $90 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Six platinum-selling albums and one diamond project in 'Licensed to Ill' from 1986 to 2004 have helped amplify Mike D's winnings. Fun fact: The Beastie Boys joined Run-DMC for the Together Forever Tour in 1987.
Ad-Rock – $90 Million
It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the assets of Mike D's bandmate Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz are similarly valued at $90 million. Unfortunately, the group's third original member Adam "MCA" Yauch passed away in 2012, so his wealth has likely been distributed among family members.
The Beastie Boys were welcomed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier that same year. Not only did Horovitz provide vocals, but he played guitar and produced. (Not to mention he was arrested during a 1987 tour stop in England for allegedly hyping the crowd so much that he incited a riot!)
Nicki Minaj – $100 Million
Besides Queen Latifah, the other queen of this group is Nicki Minaj, the first female rapper to reach a $100 million valuation, according to V Magazine. She's been a star from the moment she signed with Lil Wayne's Young Money label over a decade ago – her first album 'Pink Friday' has sold more than 3 million copies to date.
The biggest driver of Minaj's commercial greatness is her committed fanbase known as The Barbz. For example, when she linked with controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine earlier this year for "TROLLZ," the Barbz did everything they could to help the song premiere atop the Hot 100. The next week, it fell all the way to No. 34.
Birdman – $100 Million
Lil Wayne once rapped, "Cash Money Records, where dreams come true." In this line, he was indirectly crediting Birdman aka Baby – co-founder of Cash Money, a fatherlike figure to Wayne and his part-time collaborator – with giving him the support he needed to become one of the most recognizable figures in rap history.
It was a smart investment for Birdman: Celebrity Net Worth claims he's recouped $100 million during his career not only from Weezy but from well-timed stakes in the careers of Drake, Nicki Minaj and others. However, Baby and Wayne had an intense falling out when the former was sued for $51 million. They've since made amends.
Swizz Beatz – $100 Million
Like DJ Khaled, some of Swizz Beatz's most well-known tracks like "Bring 'Em Out" and "My Drink N' My 2 Step" feature him yelling catchy ad-libs and choruses. This unabashed brand identity has played a huge role in helping the 42-year-old rack up a reported net worth close to $100 million.
While he's still laying down loops and drums for some of today's hottest acts, including Jay Electronica and Joey Bada$$, as well as growing the Verzuz series with his partner Timbaland, Swizz recently shared that he and his wife Alicia Keys are opening a three-building performing arts studio in upstate New York.
LL Cool J – $120 Million
Because his career has evolved so much over the years, people sometimes forget about LL Cool J's early influence in hip-hop via classic hits like "Rock The Bells" and "Mama Said Knock You Out." In fact, he was one of the first rappers to win the discontinued Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance in both 1992 and 1997.
But music isn't the only way Ladies Love Cool James has stacked his finances to $120 million, per Celebrity Net Worth. Acting is his main focus these days, starring as Special Agent Sam Hanna in the long-running CBS series 'NCIS: Los Angeles.' He's also the host of the game show 'Lip Sync Battle.' Seems like Hollywood loves LL Cool J, too!
Snoop Dogg – $150 Million
When it's all said and done, Snoop Dogg will undoubtedly have had one of the most proficient entertainment careers in the history of pop culture. It all began in California in the 1990s when the former Death Row Records signee made a name for himself with Dr. Dre-produced anthems like "Gin & Juice" and "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang."
Though his alleged involvement in a gang shooting at 24 years old could've derailed his fame, Snoop beat the case and went on to lend his smooth demeanor to a range of ventures, from movies ('Soul Plane,' 'The Beach Bum') to spirits (19 Crimes Snoop Cali Red Wine, INDOGGO Gin). "I wanna thank me," he once said. Legend!
Pharrell Williams – $150 Million
Few people are as cool as Pharrell. Though storied celebs can often fall victim to tradition, meaning they struggle to innovate, the self-proclaimed Skateboard P never seems to lose his magic touch, whether he's designing Adidas sneakers made of recycled plastic or inspiring countless people across the world to feel "Happy."
Sitting comfortably on about $150 million worth of assets, according to Celebrity Net Worth, the co-founder of The Neptunes continues to elevate. Alongside JAY-Z, he captured the stories of Black business owners in the video for "Entrepreneur" and is preparing for his second annual Something in the Water Festival.
Lil Wayne – $150 Million
Only one other person – revealed later in this list – has more Hot 100 hits than Lil Wayne's 169 total entries. Yup, he's one of the most accomplished artists ever, highlighted by his over 30 albums and mixtapes – 'Tha Carter III' and 'No Ceilings,' anyone? – and 24 Grammy nominations and 5 wins.
Hailing from New Orleans, Weezy has made such an everlasting impact that listeners don't even need to hear his voice to know he's about to drop a fire verse – all they need is the sound of a lighter flicking. If you've ever heard the booming "A Milli," repeat the hook 150 times to get a sense of his rumored net worth.
Ice Cube – $160 Million
If only one word could be used to describe Ice Cube, it'd be fearless. As the leader of the Compton group NWA circa the late 1980s, he popularized gangsta rap with rebellious, unapologetic lyrics addressing issues affecting his community, i.e., systemic racism and police brutality.
He continued to offer the rest of America an inside look at what it was like living in Southern California's disadvantaged areas, balancing the good and the bad with two iconic films: 'Boyz n the Hood' and 'Friday.' Lately, he's been focused on his Big3 basketball league featuring retired NBA players competing in 3-on-3 games.
Usher – $180 Million
You can't talk about hip-hop and R&B without mentioning the multi-talented Usher. He's one of the best-selling acts ever, pushing more than 100 million total copies of his eight studio albums worldwide while earning an astounding nine No. 1 hits on the Hot 100 during his nearly 30-year career. Talk about making moves.
Among other accolades, he has eight Grammy awards to his name and Billboard ranked 'Confessions' as the top solo album of the 2000s decade. But his legacy extends beyond his own catalog, as the 40-something is credited with discovering and mentoring none other than Justin Bieber.
Drake – $180 Million
Spoiler alert: Drake is the only person under 40 years old making the cut of the top 10 richest rappers. What's even more mind-blowing is that he's only been recognized on a global scale since 2009 when he released his breakout mixtape 'So Far Gone.' 62 million monthly listeners on Spotify – prior to his new album – isn't an accident.
The proud Torontonian has been focused on gaining fans for a long time, originally dropping out of high school to act on the teen drama series 'Degrassi: The Next Generation.' Now that he has a diehard following, one of the ways the Six God is keeping the cash flowing is via a $2 million per show residency gig in Las Vegas. "Life Is Good."
Master P – $200 Million
Master P is one of the first real hip-hop moguls, so his estimated net worth of $200 million is well-deserved. Back in the early 1990s, Percy Miller founded the legendary No Limit Records, former home of Snoop Dogg, allowing P to understand the music industry before blowing up later that decade with "Make 'Em Say Uhh!"
Not only was the New Orleans native on the charts but he was also on the hardwood pursuing pro basketball and appearing in pre-season games for the Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Hornets. More recently, he launched his own food brand called Uncle P's producing rice, beans, grits, pancake mix, syrup and oatmeal. Mmm.
Eminem – $230 Million
Did you know the popular term "stan," used to describe a person who is an extremely loyal, sometimes over-the-top fan of a celebrity, was coined by Eminem 20 years ago? Just like Nicki Minaj has benefitted from the support of The Barbz, Marshall Mathers' Stans continue to embrace his each and every move.
It's made Em possibly the best-selling artist ever, as he's reportedly sold over 220 million records worldwide since dropping his major-label debut 'The Slim Shady LP' in 1999. Yet one of his Stans took things too far earlier this year, breaking into Eminem's Michigan home and confessing that he wanted to kill him. Yikes!
Will Smith – $350 Million
People sometimes forget that Will Smith earned his first taste of fame as a rapper, not an actor. The Fresh Prince, as he was known in the 1990s, along with his hometown friend and collaborator DJ Jazzy Jeff, was awarded the inaugural Grammy for Best Rap Performance for his hit "Parents Just Don't Understand" in 1999.
The duo would win another Grammy a couple of years later. Off the strength of their early success, both Will and Jazzy Jeff were cast on the beloved sitcom 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.' The rest, as they say, is history. Smith remains proud of his rap roots, most recently connecting with Joyner Lucas for a remix of "Will."
Dr. Dre – $800 Million
When Apple's acquisition of Dr. Dre and music executive Jimmy Iovine's Beats headphone company was completed in 2014 for a whopping $3.2 billion, Dre was crowned as hip-hop's first billionaire. Six years earlier at the founding of Beats, legend has it that Iovine declared, "F**k sneakers, let’s make speakers!" He was right.
Though taxes technically prevented Dre from reaching billionaire status (his payout was $500 million), it was undoubtedly the largest payday for a rap producer ever. Unfortunately, a messy divorce from his wife Nicole Young has put Dre's finances in flux – she's requested a $2 million per month support package, per TMZ.
Diddy – $825 Million
An entire book could be written about Diddy's legacy in hip-hop, from founding Bad Boy Entertainment to guiding The Notorious B.I.G. to the limelight to the way his Sean John clothing brand brought streetwear styles to retailers. He's made a lot of money in the process and the latest estimate from Forbes puts his wealth at $825 million.
Fans likely know all about Diddy's entertainment ventures like the infamous MTV reality series 'Making the Band' but his moves behind the scenes are what have helped his net worth balloon. Investments in Ciroc and athletic drink AQUAhydrate in partnership with Mark Wahlberg are two of the most notable. Straight beverage boss!
JAY-Z – $1 Billion
You can't have a conversation about the best rappers of all-time without mentioning JAY-Z. Raised in Marcy Houses, a Brooklyn housing project, Jay, real name Shawn Carter, was a born hustler prior to blowing up as an artist in his mid-20s. He dealt drugs to make money around the time he dropped out of high school.
Now, at 50 years old with 13 platinum-selling albums and a booming talent management agency called Roc Nation, among other accomplishments, Hov is building schools. He's partnered with Brooklyn's Long Island University to launch a branch focused on music, sports and entertainment. Enrollment begins soon for fall 2021. Sign me up!
Kanye West – $1.3 Billion
During a surprise panel appearance, Kanye West suggested he was going to change his name to "Christian Genius Billionaire Kanye West" if Forbes allegedly continued to refuse to recognize him as a billionaire. Well, the 43-year-old finally got his wish in 2020. In fact, Forbes believes his net worth is an estimated $1.3 billion.
This is the same amount his Adidas YEEZY brand generated in 2019, putting nearly $400 million into Ye's pockets thanks to his 11% royalty rate. He doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon either. Gap, which employed a young Mr. West back in the day, announced a 10-year deal introducing a Yeezy Gap line. Welcome to the "Good Life!"