12 of the Highest Earning Hip Hop Artists Right Now

Captain Obvious might know a thing or two about what the richest of the hip hop moguls do with their loads of cash.

But have you ever wondered who are the hip hop guys (and a gal – where you ladies at?!?) who are pulling in the most cash?  And when we say richest, how rich is that really?

Well, read on below to find out!

Top 12 Highest Earning Hip Hop Artists Right Now

#12 – Swizz Beatz – $7 Million

Swizz Beatz was born in 1978 as Kasseem Dean. A multi-talented artist, Swizz started out as a DJ, but since has also earned credits as a producer, fashion designer (with his own sneaker line with Reebok), creative director and record executive.

About.com ranked him #27 on its list of the “Top 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Producers, while The Source placed him on its list of the “20 greatest producers” in the magazine’s 20-year history.

With his wife, Alicia Keys, they are a bonafide music industry power couple.  His net worth is estimated at $65 million.

#11 – 50 Cent – $7.5 Million

50 Cent was born in 1975 as Curtis James Jackson. He’s come a long way from selling drugs at the tender age of twelve during the 1980s crack epidemic.

It’s now part of hip hop lore, and no doubt helped his street cred, that he was struck by nine bullets in a 2000 shooting and lived to rap the tale.

During his career, 50 Cent has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and won several awards, including a Grammy Award, thirteen Billboard Music Awards, six World Music Awards, three American Music Awards and four BET Awards.

While 50 has long been known to be one of the richest artists in the game, he recently filed for bankruptcy with reported assets of $16 million.  A far cry from Forbes’ estimation of his net worth of $155 million just last year.

#10 – Birdman – $18 Million

Birdman’s real name is Bryan Williams, born in 1969.  Also known as Baby, Birdman is one of the founders of Cash Money Records (somewhat prophetic, perhaps?).

He appears to believe in diversifying his assets since in early 2010, Birdman formed an oil and gas exploration company, Bronald Oil and Gas, LLC.  These ventures appear to contribute to his overall net worth estimated to be $180 million.

#9 – Nicki Minaj – $21 Million

Nicki Minaj, the only female artist on this list, was born Onika Tanya Maraj in 1982.  Minaj first earned public attention after releasing three mixed tapes between 2007–09, which helped her to get signed to Young Money Entertainment in 2009.

She was the first female artist included on MTV’s Annual Hottest MC List. Minaj has received ten Grammy nominations throughout her career, and has won six American Music Awards, ten BET Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, and was the recipient of Billboard’s Women in Music 2011 Rising Star award.

Minaj’s estimated overall net worth is $70 million.

#8 – Wiz Khalifa – $21.5 Million

Born in 1987, Wiz’s real name is Cameron Jibril Thomaz.

Since contributing to a mixed tape of works by emerging artists when he was 16, he has been steadily building his work and career contributing to an estimated net worth of $36 million.

While Khalifa has been publicly open about his use of cannabis and previously spending upwards of $10,000 a month on his habit, he has since been sponsored by a medical marijuana dispensary who also sells a strain named after him called, “Khalifa Kush”.

#7 – Kanye West – $22 Million

Kanye West, born on June 8, 1977, in among the few hip hop artists who works using his given name.  In addition to recording and producing his own music, Kanye is also songwriter, fashion designer, entrepreneur and was first known for being a master beat maker for other artists such as Jay Z, Ludacris and T.I.

He has sold more then 32 million records, 100 million digital downloads and has won twenty one Grammy Awards. His estimated net worth is $145 million.

#6 – Eminem – $31 Million

Born Marshall Mathers in 1972, Eminem has been active in the music industry since 1992.

After signing with Interscope resulting in successful record sales, he was given the opportunity to start his own record company, Shady Records.  Through which he signed and developed D12, Obie Trice and most famously, 50 Cent.

He has won a total of fifteen Grammy Awards, as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Lose Yourself”, the first rap artist to win the award.  Eminem’s estimated net worth is $210 million.

#5 – Pharell Williams – $32 Million

Another mega-producer who was also able to parlay his talents to solo success, Pharell Williams comes in at #5 on this list of high earning hit makers.

Born on April 5, 1973, he met his Neptunes producing partner, Chad Hugo, in seventh grade during summer band camp.  As a duo, they produced Britney Spear’s hit, “I’m a Slave 4 U” before forming hip hop group N*E*R*D.

He released his first solo single in 2003 and has earned ten Grammy Awards throughout his career. He currently owns a media venture that encompasses entertainment, music, fashion, and art called i am OTHER  His net worth is estimated at $120 million.

#4 – Dr. Dre – $33 Million

Dr. Dre’s real name is Andre Romelle Young, born in 1965.

Growing up in Compton, California, he was one of the original members of the influential hip hop group, N.W.A. along with Easy E, Ice Cube and Arabian Prince.

He went on to be a co-owner of Deathrow Records, and then to found and become the CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and later, Beats Electronics, which was sold to Apple for $3 billion.  In addition to his business success, he has also won six Grammy Awards including Producer of the Year Award.  Dr. Dre’s estimated total net worth is $700 million.

#3 – Drake – $39.5 Million

Hailing from my hometown, Toronto, Canada, Drake was born Aubrey Drake Graham in 1986.

He first claim to fame was for his role on Degrassi: The Next Generation as Jimmy Brooks. He was then discovered for his rapping talents and eventually signed to Young Money Entertainment owned by Lil Wayne. To date, Drake has earned one Grammy Award, three Juno Awards and six BET awards.  He is estimated to have a net worth of $88 million.

#2 – Jay Z – $56 Million

Shawn Corey Carter better known as Jay Z was born on December 4, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York.  Jay grew up in the housing projects called Marcy Houses, which he has often talked about as being economically depressed and dangerous due to the presence of crack cocaine.

He has sold over 100 million records and has won 21 Grammy Awards. In addition to being the former president of Def Jam Records, he is also the co-creator of the clothing line Rocawear.  His entrepreneurial pursuits also include real estate, beverages, and sports teams.  Known to be one of the most successful hip hop artists ever, his estimated net worth is $650 million (with a total combined net worth over $1 billion together with his wife, Beyonce).

#1 – P Diddy -$60 Million

Also known as Puff Daddy, Puff, Diddy… was born Sean Combs in 1969.

From being a unpaid intern, Diddy worked his way up to founding Badboy Records in 1993,

He went on to debut his own album, No Way Out, which has been certified seven times platinum. He has won three Grammy Awards and two MTV Music Awards. In addition to his involvement in music, he also has a clothing line called Sean John, has been a restauranteur, helped develop Ciroc Vodka and has a major stake in a television network which also has a production arm.  P Diddy’s net worth is estimated to be approximately $735 million.

Was anyone on this list surprising for you?  Are you surprised about who wasn’t on this list?  Share your thoughts below!