Jay-Z  reigns supreme on Forbes magazine's latest edition of its "Hip-Hop Cash Kings" list, which ranks the estimated earnings of hip-hop's biggest stars over the past year. The rapper dwarfed his competition with $63 million earned over the last 12 months, according to the list released today  (Aug. 17).
Sean "Diddy" Combs  came in second with a gross of $30 million, while Akon  racked up $21 million this year to earn third place. The top 20 artists on the "Cash Kings" list accumulated about $300 million in earnings, which is an average of $15 million per person and a comparable figure to last year's list.
Because of declining album sales, most of the list's top earners have mixed microphone skills with business smarts. Forbes attributes Jay-Z's fortune to the September release of "The Blueprint 3" and his subsequent world tour, as well as non-musical endeavors like his 40/40 nightclub chain and stake in the NBA's New Jersey Nets. Meanwhile, Diddy's Diageo vodka Ciroc, his Diddybeats earbud headphones and TV/film roles helped him land at No. 2 despite not releasing a new album or prominently touring last year.
Akon's Konvict Clothing label and Kon Live imprint (which houses Lady Gaga , among other artists) helped him thrive this year, while Drake  ranked as the list's biggest newcomer with $9 million earned, good enough for a No. 11 rank.
Kanye West , on the other hand, took a relative tumble from $25 million last year to $12 million this year while taking a break from touring. 50 Cent , who topped the 2008 list with $150 million thanks to his VitaminWater windfall, clocked in at $8 million this year due to a heavier concentration on film projects.
According to Forbes, Jay-Z earned more than frequent collaborators Lil' Wayne , Drake and Kanye West combined this year. However, the rapper's $63 million gross does not make him the main bread-winner in his household -- his wife, Beyoncé , earned $87 million  this year, according to the magazine's Top-Earning Musicians list.
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