215PARTYLIFE has complied a list of the twenty top earners in Hip Hop and, expectedly, 50 Cent, Jay Z, and Diddy top the list but some may surprise you, such as Chamillionaire and Lil Jon who both seemed to have quiet years. Below is a listing of the Top 20 and excerpts from Forbes.com.
1. Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson
50 Cent has come a long way from his early days dealing drugs in Queens, N.Y., and getting shot nine times. The reigning king of hip-hop wealth banked $100 million after taxes last summer when his stake in VitaminWater's parent, Glacéau, was bought by Coca-Cola as part of a $4.1 billion deal. His portfolio also includes the popular G-Unit clothing line and record label, plus films, videogames and a slew of platinum albums, including last year's Curtis.
2. Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter
Brooklyn, N.Y.-born Jay-Z had a monster year, releasing a second platinum comeback album, American Gangster, inspired by the movie of the same title. In April he signed a $150 million, 10-year recording, touring and merchandising deal with concert promoter Live Nation and days later married his longtime girlfriend Beyoncé Knowles on the roof of his New York City penthouse. Jay-Z also owns a stake in the New Jersey Nets and has advertising deals with Dell and Budweiser.
3. Sean "Diddy" Combs
The "Dapper Don" of hip-hop continues his decade-long run of good fortune. He brings in cash from his clothing line Sean John, record label Bad Boy, premium vodka Ciroc and two reality-TV shows. His catalog of hits, both as a producer and a rapper, includes collaborations with the likes of Jay-Z and the Notorious B.I.G., as well as rap anthems such as "Mo Money Mo Problems" and "Been Around the World."
4. Kanye West
The pink-polo-sporting rapper and producer released his third solo album, Graduation, last September. After handily outselling 50 Cent's Curtis in a head-to-head opening-week matchup, West's album went multiplatinum and won four Grammys. West has penned hits for Jay-Z, Alicia Keys and Diddy, among others. Earlier this month, he headlined the music festival Lollapalooza in his native Chicago.
5. Timothy "Timbaland" Mosley
The portly producer has churned out hundreds of tracks for hip-hop's brightest stars, including all four above him on this list. His most popular hits include Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin' " and Ludacris' "Roll Out." More recently, Timbaland has produced pop songs for Björk and Madonna. His second solo album, Shock Value, went platinum after its release in 2007.
6. Pharrell Williams
This multifaceted star made his name penning hits for rappers and pop artists alike as part of the production team, the Neptunes. He also fronts the funk-rock band N*E*R*D and is said to be an avid Star Trek fan. A geek with exquisite taste, Williams designs sunglasses for Louis Vuitton and owns apparel lines Ice Cream and Billionaire Boys Club. Esquire named him "the world's best-dressed man" in 2005.
7. Kasseem "Swizz Beatz" Dean
The Bronx, N.Y.-born prodigy got his start as a producer at age 16, penning the catchy "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" for DMX. Since then, he's piled up a massive production catalog working with other artists. Last year he released his debut solo album, One Man Band Man. He has appeared in ads for the Gap, owns a stake in trendy toy company Kidrobot and is in talks with Telmex to produce cellphone content.
8. Calvin "Snoop Dogg" Broadus
Snoop has parlayed a pimpish image into mainstream fame. Once the embodiment of West Coast gangster rap, he revealed a softer side this year in his reality-TV show, Snoop Dogg's Father Hood, where he's been filmed doing yoga and managing family crises. His ninth album, Ego Trippin', came out in March.
9. André "Dr. Dre" Young
Dr. Dre hasn't had a hit in years, but he still gets rich on royalties. A founder of seminal rap group N.W.A, he released his multiplatinum solo opus The Chronic in 1992. Dre spent the rest of the 1990s cutting tracks for the likes of Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg; this decade he's produced songs for 50 Cent and Eminem. Dre also moonlights as an actor, appearing in Set It Off (1996) and Training Day (2001), to name a few.
10. Christopher "Ludacris" Bridges
"The Mouth of the South" is known as much for his raunchy lyrics as for his public spats with Bill O'Reilly and Oprah Winfrey. He's also among rap's most consistent performers--all five of his solo albums have gone platinum. Ludacris has parlayed his musical success into a number of substantial acting roles, including an appearance in Crash, which won the 2005 Oscar for Best Picture.