Hip-hop music often talks of the difficult life on the street and desire to move to a better way of life. Many of today’s top rappers have actually emerged from challenging circumstances; often simultaneously working as singers, producers, song-writers and choreographers, they have struggled hard to make a name for themselves in the world of music. The following are ten top rappers whose efforts have been crowned with fame and success.
- Sean “Diddy” Combs
Formerly known as Puff Daddy, Sean “Diddy” Combs is today considered to be the highest earning rapper with a personal fortune worth $475 million, according to the 2011 Forbes list of 5 Richest Rappers. When Diddy shot to fame with the 1997 single “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down”, he had already established his credentials as an event organizer and record label producer. Eventually Diddy went on to garner three Grammy Awards and two MTV Music Video Awards. Today Diddy owes his fortune not only to his rapping skills but also to his business ventures which include his clothing line Sean Jean, his record label Bad Boys as well as Ciroc Vodka. Apart from these, acting gigs, media appearances and television shows also add to his coffers.
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- Shawn Jay Z Carter
Born as Shawn Corey Carter, Jay Z is considered one of the most successful rappers of all times, having a net worth of over $450 million according to the Forbes 2011 list. He has sold approximately 50 million albums worldwide, while receiving thirteen Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations. Jay Z is as much known for his equally successful singer-dancer wife Beyonce as for his numerous profit-making business ventures which include shares in the club 40/40, New Jersey Nets as well as inputs in fashion, music and restaurant business. Jay Z owes his fortune in large part to the 2007 deal according to which he sold his Rocawear clothing label for $204 million as well as the ten year contract he entered with Live Nation which was estimated to be worth $150 million.
- Andre “Dr. Dre” Young
As of August 2011, Dr. Dre was estimated to have a net fortune of $300 million by Forbes magazine, primarily on account of his sale of 50% stake in Beats Electronics, the headphone company to Taiwanese Smartphone maker HTC for approximately $310 million. This means that even though Dr. Dre has not had a release for the last roughly ten years, he is still reaping the fiscal benefits of lucrative business investments which besides Beats headphones also includes Aftermath record label as well as HP Laptop line. Apart from his own business ventures, Dr. Dre has also been responsible for launching the careers of successful rappers like Eminem, Snoop Dog and 50 Cent.
- Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson
better known by his stage name50 Cent, Curtis James Jackson III rose to fame with the release of his albums Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2003) and The Massacre (2005), both of which were certified multiple platinum by the RIAA or Recording Industry Association of America. however 50 Cent today owes his $100 million fortune to a series of successful business deals which most recently includes the neat nine-figure payout from the sales of Vitamin Water to beverage giant Coca Cola. The rest covers earnings from 50 Cent-themed video games, acting gigs, books, clothes and headphones. among the indulgences that 50 Cent spends on are fast cars and stately mansions and he has been in the news for buying up and renovating boxing legend Mike Tyson’s former home in Farmington, Connecticut.
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- Bryan “Birdman” Williams
Tied in the fifth place with 50 Cent is Birdman also worth $100 million according to the Forbes list of 2011 Richest Rappers. even though Birdman made his debut as part of the duo Big Tymers with the 1998 album How Ya Luv That?, he struck big time with the release I Got That Work in 2000 and Hood Rich in 2002. Eventually he went on to make his fortunes with the label Cash Money Records which he co-founded with his brother Ronald and then sealed a $#0 million distribution deal with Universal in 1998. Today his lineup Young Money is famous for promoting such rap-stars as Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj.
- Kanye West
Born as Kanye Omari West, this American rapper, singer, and record producer has earned at least $16 million in the last one year alone. this is primarily due to his successful fifth album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy which released in 2010 as well as the collaborative album, Watch the Throne, with Jay-Z which came out on August 8, 2011 and marked the duo's first collaborative album. West first rose to fame as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, where he eventually achieved recognition for his work on Jay-Z's album The Blueprint, as well as hit singles for musical artists including Alicia Keys, Ludacris and Janet Jackson. Eventually he went on to garner 15 Grammys and launch a series of successful business ventures which include own record label GOOD Music, his food company KW Foods LLC as well as his own line in fashion and accessories.
- Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter
Despite being in prison for eight months in the last year, Carter’s earnings for the period of 2010-2011 was $15 million. In fact his latest release “I am not a human being” made him the first artist since Tupac Shakur to reach number one in album sales while in incarceration. Carter reportedly wrote his first lyrics when merely eight years old and by nine, he had already signed a record deal with Cash Money label.
Born as Marshall Bruce Mathers III, Eminem has been hailed as one of the most successful artists of all times and especially as the King of hip Hop by the Rolling Stone Magazine. He is best known for albums like The Slum Shady LP, the Marshall Mathers LP, The Eminem Show, Encore and most recently Recovery. The last sold 5.7 million copies worldwide and earned Eminem ten Grammy nominations. Even though he does not tour as much as other rappers and his business ventures are limited, Eminem continues to be among the ten richest rappers on account of his album sales as well as selective endorsements like for Chrysler and Lipton.
- Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus
Best known as the pre-eminent rapper of the West Coast hip hop scene, Snoop Dog owes his fame to multiple platinum albums like Doggystyle, The Dogfather and most recently Doggumentary which released in March this year. The rap star is believed to have earned as much as $14 million mainly from album sales but also from television shows as well as lucrative endorsement deals with companies like Metro PCS and Pepsi Max.
- Aliuane Akon Thiam
This American rapper, song-writer and producer of Senegalese origin has grossed around $13 million this year and $20 million in 2010 according to Forbes magazine. Akon owes his earnings to hectic touring across the world from Australia to Zimbabwe as well as to revenues from the two record labels owned by him, Konvict Muzik and Kon Live Distribution. Akon first shot to fame in 2004 with the release of "Locked Up", the first single from his debut album Trouble. His second album, Konvicted, earned him a Grammy Award nomination of the single "Smack That". and since then he has been credited with more than 300 guest appearances. Recently he signed a lucrative World Cup contract with Pepsi which further cemented his position among the richest rappers in the world.