The richest rappers in the world made their money from record sales. However, there are so many other contributing factors to their wealth. Look beyond the fancy cars, big houses, and extravagant jewelry. And you will find savvy businessmen who leveraged their power and influence.
In this article, we will list the richest rappers in the world, and explain the source of their wealth. You will also discover the 3 things all these Hip-Hop pioneers have in common. Keep on reading to find out more.
How Do Rappers Make Money?
For many years, the recording industry relied on record sales, concerts, music licensing and merchandise for income. In recent years the growth of streaming platforms like SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music and more have made it easier to discover new music. Rappers have capitalized on the growth of streaming to become a mainstream genre, enjoyed by the masses.
Drake, for example, is one of the most listened to artists on Spotify, with over 50 million streams per month. Insert that figure into a royalty streaming calculator and you will discover from Spotify alone, Drake and his label collect around $200,000 dollars per month. Add together all the royalties from streaming platforms and record sales, that’s over $10 million dollars a year.
But even at that amount, how is Drake’s net worth over $150 million? The answer: Smart Investments outside of music!
Most entrepreneurs have at least 3 – 7 sources of income, ranging from investments, business, and real estate. Rappers are not an exception. Underneath the Jewelry and grills, you will find smart businessmen. Here are the 5 richest rappers in the world and how they made that money:
Who Are The Richest Rappers In The World?
Net Worth: $170 Million
Drake is well-known as one of the most prolific and talented musicians of our time. He started his entertainment career as an actor on the Canadian TV show, Degrassi: The Next Generation. He later signed a record deal with Young Money Entertainment, with Lil Wayne, Birdman and Slim.
Drake has sold over 170 million records. However, his riches go beyond music. He is a savvy investor. He has collaborated with Nike and Jordan on his own footwear collection, released a line of whiskey called Virginia Black and acquired real estate properties. As an angel investor, he has also invested in multiple technology companies.
5. Master P
Net Worth: $200 Million
Master P is a rapper, entrepreneur, philanthropist, former basketball player and founder of the popular record label No Limit Records. Apart from the money he made from No Limit Records, he has investments in real estate, production companies, and even a travel agency. Master P is credited as being one of the first real rap businessmen and is well-known for his vision and business acumen.
4. Kanye West
Net Worth: $240 Million
No rap list is complete without Yeezy. From his days as Jay-Z’s top producer, making soulful rap beats to becoming the golden boy of Roca-Fella, and later the prolific designer, and Sunday service pioneer, Kanye West is truly one of Hip-Hop’s finest musician entrepreneurs.
He is a supremely talented musician who also has a good understanding of consumer behavior. Kanye is the 4th richest rapper in the world because of his music sales, and business interests.
3. Dr. Dre
Net Worth: $800 Million
Andre Young, also known as Dr. DRE is the Hip-Hop pioneer from the West Coast whose days as part of the band N.W.A saw him gain notoriety early on in his career. His impeccable ear for talent has seen him actively involved with the careers of Eminem, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, and more recently, Kendrick Lamar – all hip-hop artists estimated to be worth over $100 million dollars.
Dre is famously known as the co-founder of Beats By Dr. Dre, which was acquired by Apple Inc in 2014. His 25% stake in the company did not quite give him a billionaire status, however, the lifestyle remains the same. Dr. Dre is the 3rd richest rapper because of his business investments and heavy investments in property.
2. Sean Combs (Diddy)
Net Worth: $850 Million
Sean Combs, the rap pioneer who was responsible for the careers of Biggie Smalls, and Ma$e is a music mogul who has had major success in fashion and the drinks market. He is well-known as an investor and brand ambassador for Ciroc which is the main source of his fortune. He is the 2nd richest rapper slightly behind Jay-Z, however with the growth of his drinks brand, Diddy could be joining Jay in the Billionaire Boys Clubs soon.
Net Worth: $1 Billion
The rapper and entrepreneur from New York is number one on our list. Jay-Z who grew up on the Marcy projects defied all odds, made it out of the hood to become the richest rapper in the world. His fortune comes as a result of smart investments in fashion, technology (Tidal), record and entertainment companies, clubs and drink brands.
What Do They Have In Common?
If you haven’t already noticed the trend, these rappers all have the same thing in common. Earlier on we explained how important it is to have multiple sources of income and this is the case for all the artists on this list. Here are 4 things they all have in common:
- Invested in Consumer Brands
- Collaborated With Artists Outside Rap To Increase Their Reach
- Possess an understanding of consumer behavior
From Jay-Z to Drizzy, all the rappers on the rich list have invested in some sort of consumer brand, mainly in the alcoholic drinks category. Kanye West, however, has stuck with fashion. They have also collaborated with artists outside of Hip-Hop. Jay famously did an entire album with Linkin Park, and a song with Coldplay’s Chris Martin after he heard Kanye had done a song with him.
Drake is known for his constantly changing sound and collaboration with upcoming artists. Through this experimentation, they can reach new audiences who are looking for new music. This is one of the reasons why BeatsLibrary exists. To provide a wide range of instrumental beats to artists, which fosters creativity.
Understanding of Consumer Behaviour
One of the key attributes of successful people is their understanding of consumer behavior and being able to adapt to it. Kanye West, for example, created arguably one of the most popular sneakers of all time, The Yeezys, which he exclaimed: “jumped over the jump man”. Explaining how his shoes became more popular than the extremely popular Nike Jordan brand. Diddy foresaw the rise in demand for premium alcoholic drinks in the clubs which led to his partnership witch Ciroc. The key here is to predict demand and act accordingly.
Key Lessons From The World’s Richest Rappers
In summary, the richest rappers in the world all have one thing in common. Their wealth is built from multiple sources. However, they are also not scared to try new things. They experiment and pay attention to trends. As an aspiring musician or entrepreneur, the main lesson here is, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.