Ever wondered who is the richest rapper? See our list of the wealthiest rappers
We’re all aware of rap music being a lucrative business to get into. Hip-hop artists are notorious for splashing the cash on luxury homes and cars and adorning themselves with expensive, designer gear. But this really is a different world to the one that most of these rappers came from. Many of them were raised in poverty, hostile communities and difficult homes – and it was this that inspired some of the rap artists in their music. It’s fair to say that fame, money and fortune didn’t come easy for the majority of these wealthiest rappers. It took a lot of hard work and dedication to their careers to make it on our list of richest rappers.
20. Will.i.am $75 million
Will.i.am, born William Adams was raised in California. Now 43, he’s known for being a songwriter, hip-hop rapper and a former member of The Black Eyed Peas. He’s produced music with likes of Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and several other successful artists. Will.i.am has sold over 70 million albums worldwide giving him a net worth of $75 million, making him one of the richest rappers in world.
19. Akon $80 million
Next up on our rappers richest list is Akon, real name Aliaune Damala Badara. He’s a rapper and record producer who released his first album in 2004 (Trouble) and it was this very album that skyrocketed his career. His well known songs include Locked Up and Lonely, leading to the release of two successful albums Konvicted (2006) and Freedom (2008). Akon started his own record company which he can credit to his healthy bank balance – an estimated $80 million dollars. Akon is indeed a very wealthy rapper.
18. Timbaland $85 million
Another wealthy rapper on the list is Timothy Zachery Mosley a.k.a Timbaland, now 46. Timbaland started his music career in 1994 and became a well-known R&B and hip-hop producer. He released three albums himself, Tim’s Bio: Life From Da Bassment, Shock Value and Shock Value ll – and countless other albums over his music career. His earnings are currently in excess of $85 million.
17. Drake $100 million
At 17th place on our list is Drake – another of the wealthiest rappers in world. Born Aubrey Drake Graham and now 32, Drake’s career began on screen when he starred in teen drama series Degrassi. He later decided to pursue his passion for R&B music and went on to produce five albums, including record-breaker Scorpion (the most streamed album on release). Drake’s earnings for rapping are in excess massive $100 million dollars. What with him being such a young age, it’s quite possible he’ll hit the $200 million mark.
18. LL Cool J $120 million
Born James Todd Smith, LL Cool J (51) has produced 14 albums. His most successful albums include Mama Said Knock You Out (1990), Radio (1985) and Bigger and Deffer (1987). Since starting rapping in the 1980s, LL Cool J has sold several million albums, earning him over $120 million dollars.
15. Snoop Dogg $124 million
Well-known rapper, Snoop Dogg, has earned himself a place on the world’s richest rappers list. Aged 47 (real name Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr), Dogg started out on the music scene with Dr Dre in 1991. He’s made 16 albums in total, with his most successful being Doggystyle (1993) Tha Doggfather (1996) and Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not to Be Told. His 37 million album sales bagged him a tidy $124 million.
14. Lil Wayne $150 million
Ranked 14th on our list of richest rappers is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr who also goes by the name of Lil Wayne. Now 36, Lil Wayne started out early in 1996 with rap group The Hot Boys. Since, he’s made 12 albums with his top sellers being Tha Carter, Tha Carter lll and I Am Not A Human Being. His 15 million album sales has earned him $150 million dollars.
13. Pharrell Williams $150 million
Pharrell Williams, now 45, is not only known for his vast collection of hats – he’s also amongst the wealthiest rappers in the world. He’s produced two albums since he started his music career and has been featured in over 40 other musician’s tracks. These include Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. Pharrell now has a net worth of over $150 million dollars.
12. 50 Cent $155 million
50 Cent, now 43, was born Curtis James Jackson III. His exceptional skill for rapping was quickly recognized and it didn’t take long before Eminem had him signed to his label, Shady Records (2002). His most financially successful soundtracks are, In Da Club, Candy Shop and P.I.M.P. He’s sold almost 17 million albums sold worldwide, earning him a net worth of $155 million dollars, making him one of the top earning rappers of all time.
11. Kanye West $160 million
Kanye West is now 41 and is obviously well-known for his rap music. But some may not be aware that he’s also a successful music producer and well established fashion designer. There’s a lot of speculation as to how much money Kanye West has made, especially as he filed for bankruptcy with debts of up to $57 million dollars. However, according to The Rich List, he has a net worth of $160 million dollars, which ranks him at 11th on our list.
10. Ice Cube $160 million
Ice Cube, aged 49 (real name O’Shea Jackson) is well-known for being around in the early years of rap. He had his music banned when he was a member of NWA, alongside fellow members Dr Dre and Eazy E. He went on to produce ten albums as well as becoming a music producer himself. Ice Cube can also be found on the big screen acting – which contributed to his earnings of over $160 million dollars.
9. Ronald Slim Williams $170 million
Maybe this is a name you’re less familiar with than some of the other richest rappers on our list. But make no mistake, Ronald Slim Williams has had a hugely successful career in the music business. Brother to Bryan Williams (a.k.a Birdman), both joined forces to create record label Cash Money Records which has sold 1 billion albums worldwide. This had Williams laughing all the way to the bank with earnings of up to $170 million dollars. Williams takes 9th spot on our rappers rich list.
8. Birdman $180 million
Birdman (real name Bryan Christopher Williams) is now 50. As above, Birdman is the co-founder and owner of record label Cash Money Records and has also released 5 albums himself. But his ambition isn’t waning, even with a bank balance of $180 million. He also has other investments and ventures including within the oil and fashion industries.
7. Usher $180 million
Next up on the richest rappers list is Usher Raymond IV now 40. He started his music career at the early age of 10 in a small local R&B group called NuBeginnings. He didn’t get his big break until 1994 when P. Diddy took him under his wing and made him a super star. Since, he’s made 9 albums, selling over 24 million of them worldwide. His most his financially successful albums are Confessions (2004), 8701 (2001) and My Way (1997) which contributed to his very healthy bank balance of $180 million dollars.
6. Eminem $220 million
It’ll likely come as no surprise to see this name on the list, what with Eminem being one the most successful and wealthiest hip-hop artists going. Marshall Bruce Mathers III, started out as underground rapper who’s first album was somewhat of a flop. However, once he was signed by Dr Dre, his career took a turn for the better. He’s now released 10 albums, selling just over 100 million of them worldwide. He also has his own record label Shady Records and is now thought to be worth an estimated $220 million dollars.
4. Master P $350 million
Entrepreneur, Percy Robert Miller is now 51. He’s produced 14 rap albums and has sold over 75 million albums world wide. Not only is he a successful rap artist – he’s also proved himself as a businessman. Starting out with a small inheritance of only $10,000, he invested in a small record shop that soon transformed into a $250 million dollar empire. With his own record company booming and other investments, Master P’s earnings are around $350 million dollars.
5. Russell Simmons $340 million
American Hip Hop producer Russell Simmons, now 61, co-founded record label Def Jam Recordings, working with some hugely successful artists such The Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Rihanna and many more. Later, he started his own clothing label, Phat Farm, and invested in other ventures, earning him net worth of $340 million.
3. Dr. Dre $850 million
World famous rapper and music producer Dr. Dre is ranked 3rd amongst our richest rappers. Known for his record labels (Death Row Records and Aftermath Entertainment), he’s made three albums himself, selling over 7 million of them worldwide. Dre is super rich. But his biggest financial gains came from his business venture with Apple, selling Beats to them for a whopping $3 billion dollars. This seriously boosted Dre’s earnings – currently estimated at $850 million dollars.
2. P.Diddy $855 million
Powering his way into 2nd place is no other than Mr Diddy himself. Now 49, he’s sold over 10 million of his own albums worldwide. Diddy also founded record label Bad Boy Entertainment in 1993 (and that went on to sell over 75 million albums). P Diddy’s business interests don’t just lie in the music industry. He’s also invested in a clothing line for men and firmed up a marketing deal with a premium vodka company, Ciroc. P.Diddy’s successful entrepreneurship has managed to bag him over $855 million dollars.
1. Jay-Z $900 million
Ranked first place on our list of richest rappers in the world is Jay-Z with incredible earnings of $900 million. According to Forbes, his earnings in 2018 saw a rise by $76.5 million over a year period. Jay-Z sold more than 55 million albums worldwide. His investment portfolio is also impressive and includes apps, fashion labels and start-ups. Not only is Jay-Z the wealthiest rapper on our richest rappers list but he also takes 3rd place on our list of the richest musicians of all time.