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Full List: The World’s 20 Top-Earning Hip-Hop Stars

Highest-Paid Hip-Hop Stars 2019: Kanye Tops Jay-Z To Claim Crown according to Forbes list. Back in 2007, Kanye West released a song called “Big Brother”—an ode to Jay-Z. Indeed, catching on with the mogul’s Roc-A-Fella Records two decades ago was West’s first big break. Jay-Z even had a hand in coining West’s nickname, Yeezy, which now graces his eponymous shoe line with Adidas.

Full List: The World’s 20 Top-Earning Hip-Hop Stars

Here is the full list of the World’s 20 Top-Earning Hip-Hop Stars in 2019:


20. Pitbull ($18 million)

Pitbull ($18 million)

Armando Christian Pérez, known professionally as Pitbull, (Born: 15 January 1981) is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Pérez initially began his career in the early 2000s, recording reggaeton, latin hip hop and crunk music under a multitude of labels. In 2004, Pitbull released his debut album M.I.A.M.I

19. Wiz Khalifa ($18.5 million)

Wiz Khalifa ($18.5 million)

Cameron Jibril Thomaz (born September 8, 1987), known professionally as Wiz Khalifa, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter and actor. He released his debut album, Show and Prove, in 2006, and signed to Warner Bros. Records in 2007. His Eurodance-influenced single, "Say Yeah", received urban radio airplay, charting on the Rhythmic Top 40 and Hot Rap Tracks charts in 2008, becoming his first minor hit.

18. Nas ($19 million)

Nas ($19 million)

Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones (born September 14, 1973), known professionally as Nas (/nɑːz/), is an American rapper, songwriter, entrepreneur and investor.[1] The son of jazz musician Olu Dara, Nas has released eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums and has sold over 30 million records worldwide. He is also an entrepreneur through his own record label; he serves as associate publisher of Mass Appeal magazine and the co-founder of Mass Appeal Records.

17. Future ($19.5 million)

Future ($19.5 million)

Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn (born November 20, 1983), known professionally as Future, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Wilburn first became involved in music as part of the Dungeon Family collective, where he was nicknamed "the Future".

After amassing a series of mixtapes between 2010 and 2011, Future signed a major record label deal with Epic Records and Rocko's A1 Recordings, which helped launch Future's own label imprint, Freebandz. He subsequently released his debut album, Pluto, in April 2012 to positive reviews. Future's second album, Honest, was released in April 2014, surpassing his debut on the album charts.

16. Birdman ($20 million)

Birdman ($20 million)

Bryan Christopher Williams (born Bryan Christopher Brooks; February 15, 1969), known by his stage name Birdman (also known as Baby), is an American rapper, record executive and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and public face of Cash Money Records which he founded with his older brother Ronald "Slim" Williams in 1992. Birdman released his eponymous debut album in 2002, and has gone on to release four solo studio albums in total. Aside from his solo career, he is also a member of the hip-hop duo Big Tymers, along with producer Mannie Fresh.

Along with his solo work and numerous releases with the Big Tymers, Birdman has released a collaboration album and numerous tracks with fellow rapper and ward Lil Wayne, whom he discovered and took under his wing at age nine. Birdman has also made his name by contributing to the making of YMCMB (Young Money Cash Money Billionaires), a combination of the former's "Cash Money" and Lil Wayne's Young Money Entertainment imprint under the label. Birdman has also founded the project and hip hop supergroup Rich Gang, bringing attention to artists such as Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan.

15. Meek Mill ($21 million)

Meek Mill ($21 million)

Robert Rihmeek Williams (born May 6, 1987), known professionally as Meek Mill, is an American rapper, songwriter, and activist. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he embarked on his music career as a battle rapper, and later formed a short-lived rap group, The Bloodhoundz.

In 2008, Atlanta-based rapper T.I. signed Meek Mill to his first record deal. In February 2011, after leaving Grand Hustle Records, Mill signed with Miami-based rapper Rick Ross's Maybach Music Group (MMG). Mill's debut album, Dreams and Nightmares, was released in 2012 under MMG and Warner Bros. Records. The album, preceded by the lead single "Amen" (featuring Drake), debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200.

14. Swizz Beatz ($23 million)

Swizz Beatz ($23 million)

Kasseem Dean (born September 13, 1978), known professionally as Swizz Beatz, is an American hip hop recording artist, DJ, record producer, art collector, and entrepreneur from New York City. Born and raised in The Bronx, Dean began his musical career as a disc jockey (DJ). At the age of 16, he gained recognition in the hip hop industry through his friendship and work with East Coast rapper DMX and his family's Ruff Ryders Entertainment record label.

Dean later found a protégé in Philadelphia-based rapper Cassidy, whose success helped the launch of his own label imprint, Full Surface Records in 1999. He went on to sign multiple artists to the label, including Eve, Mashonda, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Dean also released two albums under the label; the first was a compilation, titled Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories, released in 2002, and later his debut studio album, One Man Band Man in 2007. In November 2018, Dean released his second studio album, Poison, featuring collaborations with multiple hip hop artists.

13. Cardi B ($28 million)

There are two newcomers on this year’s list. The highest-paid among them is Donald Glover (No. 10, $35 million), who padded his coffers with his work on Atlanta and his This Is America Tour (as Childish Gambino). Cardi B (No. 13, $28 million) follows close behind—at age 26, she’s the youngest artist in this year’s rankings—and joins Nicki Minaj (No. 12, $29 million) as one of only two women on the list, the latest example of a pay gap that has long plagued hip-hop.

Cardi B ($28 million)

Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar (born October 11, 1992), known professionally as Cardi B, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and television personality. Born in Manhattan and raised in The Bronx, New York City, she became an internet celebrity after several of her posts and videos became viral on Vine and Instagram. From 2015 to 2017, she appeared as a regular cast member on the VH1 reality television series Love & Hip Hop: New York to follow her music aspirations, and released two mixtapes—Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.

Cardi B has since earned three number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100; "Bodak Yellow" made her the second female rapper to top the chart with a solo output—following Lauryn Hill in 1998, "I Like It" made her the only female rapper to attain multiple number-one songs on the chart, and her Maroon 5 collaboration "Girls Like You" made her the sixth female artist to achieve three number-one singles on the chart during the 2010s. Her debut studio album, Invasion of Privacy (2018), on which the former two songs are included, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, broke several streaming records, and was certified triple platinum by the RIAA. Critically acclaimed, the album won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, making Cardi B the only woman to win the award as a solo artist.

Among her numerous accolades, Cardi B has won a Grammy Award, seven Billboard Music Awards, two Guinness World Records, nine BET Hip Hop Awards, three American Music Awards and four MTV Video Music Awards. She is the ninth highest-certified female artist and the highest-certified female rapper on the RIAA's Top Artists (Digital Singles) ranking, with 31.5 million certified units. In 2018, Time included her on their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

12. Nicki Minaj ($29 million)

Nicki Minaj ($29 million)

Onika Tanya Maraj (born December 8, 1982), known professionally as Nicki Minaj, is a Trinidad and Tobago-born rapper and pop singer.[6] Born in Saint James, Port of Spain, and raised in Queens, New York City, she gained public recognition after releasing the mixtapes Playtime Is Over (2007), Sucka Free (2008), and Beam Me Up Scotty (2009).

After signing with Young Money Entertainment in 2009, Minaj released her first studio album, Pink Friday (2010), which peaked at number one on the US Billboard 200 and was ultimately certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Her second album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, was released in 2012 and debuted at number one in several countries. Minaj made her film debut in the 2012 animated film Ice Age: Continental Drift. In 2013, she was a judge on the twelfth season of American Idol. Minaj's third studio album, The Pinkprint, was released in 2014. She subsequently played supporting roles in the films The Other Woman (2014) and Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016). Her fourth studio album, Queen, was released in 2018.

11. J. Cole ($31 million)

J. Cole ($31 million)

Jermaine Lamarr Cole (born January 28, 1985) is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born on a military base in Germany but raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Cole initially gained recognition as a rapper following the release of his debut mixtape, The Come Up, in early 2007. Intent on further pursuing a solo career as a rapper, he went on to release two additional mixtapes, The Warm Up and Friday Night Lights after signing to Jay-Z's Roc Nation imprint in 2009.

Cole released his debut studio album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, in 2011. It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, and was soon certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His next two releases, 2013's Born Sinner and 2014's 2014 Forest Hills Drive, received mostly positive reviews from critics, and both were certified platinum in the United States.

10. Childish Gambino ($35 million)

Childish Gambino ($35 million)

Donald McKinley Glover Jr. (born September 25, 1983) is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, director, musician, and DJ. He performs music under the stage name Childish Gambino and as a DJ under the name mcDJ.

After coming to public attention for his work with Derrick Comedy, while a student at New York University, he was hired at age 23 by Tina Fey as a writer for the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. He later portrayed community college student Troy Barnes on the NBC sitcom Community. He stars in the FX series Atlanta, which he created and occasionally directs.

For his work on Atlanta, Glover won various accolades, including Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, and Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy.

In film, Glover has appeared in Mystery Team (2009), The Lazarus Effect, Magic Mike XXL, The Martian (2015), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and as the young Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). Glover starred in and produced his own short film, Guava Island (2019). He also provided the voice of adult Simba in the remake of the Disney film The Lion King (2019).

See Also:
9. Migos ($36 million)

Migos ($36 million)

Migos is an American hip hop group from Lawrenceville, Georgia, founded in 2008. They are composed of three rappers known by their stage names Takeoff, Offset and Quavo. They are managed by Coach K, the former manager of Atlanta-based rappers Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy, and frequently collaborate with producers such as Zaytoven, DJ Durel, Murda Beatz, and Metro Boomin.

Migos released their commercial debut single "Versace" in 2013, taken from their mixtape Y.R.N. (Young Rich Niggas). They have gone on to release several more singles, including "Fight Night" (2014), "Look at My Dab" (2015), and their four Billboard Hot 100 top 10 entries "Bad and Boujee" (featuring Lil Uzi Vert) (2016), peaking at number one, "MotorSport" (with Nicki Minaj and Cardi B) (2017), peaking at six, "Stir Fry" (2017), peaking at eight, and "Walk It Talk It" (featuring Drake) (2018), peaking at ten.

8. Kendrick Lamar ($38.5 million)

Kendrick Lamar ($38.5 million)

Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) is an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer. He is regarded as one of the most skillful and successful hip hop artists of his generation.

Raised in Compton, California, Lamar embarked on his musical career as a teenager under the stage name K-Dot, releasing a mixtape that garnered local attention and led to his signing with indie record label Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE).

He began to gain recognition in 2010, after his first retail release, Overly Dedicated. The following year, he independently released his first studio album, Section.80, which included his debut single, "HiiiPoWeR". By that time, he had amassed a large online following and collaborated with several prominent hip hop artists, including The Game, Busta Rhymes, and Snoop Dogg.

7. DJ Khaled ($40 million)

DJ Khaled ($40 million)

Khaled Mohamed Khaled (born November 26, 1975), better known as DJ Khaled, is an American DJ, record executive, songwriter, record producer and media personality. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Khaled first gained prominence as a radio host in the 1990s on Miami hip hop station 99 Jamz.

His popularity later prompted hip hop group Terror Squad to hire Khaled as the DJ for their live performances. After gaining some production credits on the group's material, Khaled then transitioned into curating albums, releasing his debut studio album Listennn... the Album in 2006, which earned gold certification.

He followed that up with the album We the Best (2007), which contained the top 20 single "I'm So Hood". His subsequent two releases — We Global (2008) and Victory (2010) — were released after the founding of Khaled's record label We the Best Music Group. Both albums charted within the top ten on the US Billboard 200, with the latter containing the single "All I Do Is Win", which was eventually certified triple platinum.

6. Eminem ($50 million)

Eminem ($50 million)

Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born October 17, 1972), known professionally as Eminem is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, record executive, film producer, and actor. He is consistently cited as one of the greatest and most influential rappers of all time and was labeled the "King of Hip Hop" by Rolling Stone magazine. In addition to his solo career, Eminem was a member of the hip hop group D12. He is also known for his collaborations with fellow Detroit-based rapper Royce da 5'9"; the two are collectively known as Bad Meets Evil.

5. Travis Scott ($58 million)

Travis Scott ($58 million)

Jacques Berman Webster II (born April 30, 1991), known professionally as Travis Scott (formerly stylized as Travi$ Scott), is an American rapper, singer, songwriter and record producer. In 2012, Scott signed his first major-label deal with Epic Records. In November of the same year, Scott signed a deal with Kanye West's GOOD Music, as part of its production wing Very GOOD Beats, after appearing on the label's 2012 compilation album Cruel Summer. In April 2013, Scott signed a record deal with T.I.'s Grand Hustle imprint.

Scott's first full-length project, a mixtape titled Owl Pharaoh, was self-released in May 2013. This was followed with a second mixtape, titled Days Before Rodeo, in August 2014. His debut studio album, Rodeo, was released in September 2015 and was led by the hit single "Antidote", which reached the top 20 of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

His second album, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, was released in September 2016, to generally positive reviews. The following year, Travis Scott released a collaborative album with Quavo titled Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho under the group name Huncho Jack. He released his third album, Astroworld, on August 3, 2018; it produced his first Hot 100 number one single, "Sicko Mode".

4. Diddy ($70 million)

Diddy ($70 million)

Sean John Combs (born November 4, 1969), also known by the stage names Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Puffy, or Diddy, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, record executive, actor, and entrepreneur. Combs was born in New York City but was raised in Mount Vernon, New York. He worked as a talent director at Uptown Records before founding his own record label, Bad Boy Entertainment, in 1993.

Combs' debut album, No Way Out (1997), has been certified seven times platinum. No Way Out was followed by successful albums such as Forever (1999), The Saga Continues... (2001), and Press Play (2006). In 2009, Combs formed the musical group (Dirty Money) and released the critically well-reviewed and commercially successful album Last Train to Paris (2010).

Combs has won three Grammy Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards, and is the producer of MTV's Making the Band. In 2018, Forbes estimated his net worth at $825 million, making him the second-richest hip-hop recording artist, after Jay-Z.

3. Drake ($75 million)

Drake ($75 million)

Aubrey Drake Graham (born October 24, 1986) is a Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, and businessman. Drake gained recognition as an actor on the teen drama television series Degrassi: The Next Generation in the early 2000s.

Intent on pursuing a career in music, he left the series in 2007 after releasing his debut mixtape, Room for Improvement. He released two further independent projects, Comeback Season and So Far Gone, before signing to Lil Wayne's Young Money Entertainment in June 2009.

Drake released his debut studio album Thank Me Later in 2010, which debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and was soon certified platinum. His next two releases, 2011's Take Care and 2013's Nothing Was the Same, were critically and commercially successful; the former earned him his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.

2. Jay-Z ($81 million)

Jay-Z ($81 million)

Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), known professionally as Jay-Z (stylized as JAY-Z), is an American rapper, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, and record executive. Considered among the best American rappers of all time, he is regarded as one of the world's most significant cultural icons and has been a global figure in popular culture for over two decades.

Born and raised in New York City, Jay-Z first began his musical career after founding the record label Roc-A-Fella Records in 1995, and subsequently released his debut studio album Reasonable Doubt in 1996. The album was released to widespread critical success, and solidified his standing in the music industry.

He has gone onto release twelve additional albums, which have all attained generally positive critical reception and universal commercial success, with The Blueprint (2001) and The Black Album (2003) albums later being heralded as modern musical classics. He has also released the full-length collaborative albums Watch the Throne (2011) and Everything Is Love (2018) with Kanye West and wife Beyoncé, respectively.

1. Kanye West ($150 million)

Kanye West ($150 million)

Kanye Omari West (born June 8, 1977) is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, and fashion designer. His music has spanned a broad range of styles, incorporating an eclectic range of influences including soul, baroque pop, electro, indie rock, synth-pop, industrial, and gospel.

Born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago, West first became known as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000s, producing singles for recording artists such as Jay-Z, Ludacris and Alicia Keys. Intent on pursuing a solo career as a rapper, West released his debut album The College Dropout in 2004 to critical and commercial success, and founded the record label GOOD Music.

He went on to experiment with a variety of musical genres on subsequent acclaimed studio albums, including Late Registration (2005), Graduation (2007), and the polarizing but influential 808s & Heartbreak (2008).

He released his fifth album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010 to further rave reviews, and has since succeeded it with Yeezus (2013), The Life of Pablo (2016) and Ye (2018), as well as full-length collaborations Watch the Throne (2011) and Kids See Ghosts (2018) with Jay-Z and Kid Cudi respectively.

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