After creating some of the most classic albums hip-hop fans have ever heard, Dr. Dre shifted tactics and tackled exactly how those fans heard them, and his efforts have landed him on top of Forbes' list of top hip-hop cash kings.
With $110 million in earnings in 2011, Dre blew away the competition, more than doubling second place earner Diddy's $45 million due to the income generated from royalties from The Chronic and 2001, as well as other past projects, production credits, and his wildly popular Beats By Dre headphone and speaker line created alongside Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine. Diddy's revenue also benefited from non-music-making income, with his Ciroc vodka profits augmenting his Bad Boy Records imprint and landing him behind his west coast counterpart.
Following close behind is Jay-Z, whose Budweiser-sponsored Made In America festival made waves last weekend in Philadelphia, raking in $38 million on the strengths of his sponsorship deals with the brewing company as well as Duracell and his mammoth Watch The Throne Tour with Kanye West, who himself landed at number four on the list at $35 million. West, of course, is tied heavily into the fashion scene, with his line of women's clothing and a shoe deal with Nike adding to the WTT cash cow and production royalties.
There is a distinctly Young Money/Cash Money flavor to the rest of the top ten as Lil Wayne comes in at number five ($27 million), with his Tha Carter IV selling 964,000 copies in its first week this time last year in addition to revenues from his big sponsorship deal with Mountain Dew and his Trukfit clothing line, Drake at number 6 ($20.5 million), then YMCMB mogul Bryan "Birdman" Williams ($20 million), artist Nicki Minaj ($15.5 million), Eminem coming in at No. 9 on the strength of his re-invigorated Shady Records 2.0 ($15 million) and Ludacris -- with his acting and headphone ventures -- at No. 10 ($12 million).
The full list is below:
1. Dr. Dre -- $110 million
2. Diddy -- $45 million
3. Jay-Z -- $38 million
4. Kanye West -- $35 million
5. Lil Wayne -- $27 million
6. Drake -- $20.5 million
7. Bryan "Birdman" Williams -- $20 million
8. Nicki Minaj -- $15.5 million
9. Eminem -- $15 million
10. Ludacris -- $12 million
11. Pitbull -- $9.5 million
12. Rick Ross -- $9 million (tie)
12. Wiz Khalifa -- $9 million (tie)
14. Snoop Lion -- $8.5 million
15. 50 Cent -- $7.5 million
16. Swizz Beatz -- $7 million (tie)
16. Pharrell Williams -- $7 million (tie)
16. Young Jeezy -- $7 million (tie)
19. Mac Miller -- $6.5 million
20. Akon -- $6 million (tie)
20. Timbaland -- $6 million (tie)
20. Tech N9ne -- $6 million (tie)