Jay-Z and Sean “Diddy” Combs are the wealthiest current hip-hop acts, according to a list compiled by former longtime Forbes editor Zack O’Malley Greenburg.
These lists have been fairly predictable in recent years, but as Greenburg notes, Kanye West’s recent anti-Semitic remarks led many businesses to pull out of their relationships with him, most notably Adidas, and caused his net worth to drop dramatically from billionaire status. Consequently, his “two-year run in ten-figure territory is over—and hip-hop’s wealth hierarchy has seen its biggest shakeup to date,” Greenburg wrote on his Zogblog substack.
Thus, Jay-Z has retaken the top spot on the list with a personal record $1.5 billion, thanks to his diversified empire, with investments in everything from records to real estate and spirits to startups. Diddy ascends to billionaire status, and newcomer Gilbert “Berner” Milam debuts thanks to his cannabis cookie empire.
While Greenburg has continued his annual “Highest Paid Hip-Hop Artists” lists since leaving Forbes, he hasn’t done this particular one since 2019 — and he notes that “the five richest artists’ combined net worth has jumped 20% from a pre-pandemic total of $3.17 billion.”
1. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter ($1.5 billion)
Hip-hop’s first billionaire is once again its richest, thanks to his Armand de Brignac champagne and Roc Nation entertainment company, stakes in startups like Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty lingerie line and more. Greenburg notes: “Reports of an impending sale of his half of D’Ussé cognac, especially in the wake of Jay-Z’s other recent cash-outs, make me wonder if he’s not gearing up for a major acquisition. NFL team, anyone?”
2. Sean “Diddy” Combs ($1 billion)
Diddy becomes hip-hop’s third billionaire thanks to his Cîroc partnership with Diageo and takes in DeLeón tequila Revolt, along with his music catalog, startup investments and other assets.
3. Kanye “Ye” West ($500 million)
While he might boast of losing $2 billion in a day (another questionable claim), West remains very wealthy, thanks to his 5% stake in ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s $3.2 billion shapewear line, his lucrative music catalog and Yeezy, his battered but still valuable footwear line.
4. Gilbert “Berner” Milam ($410 million)
The Bay Area rapper’s booming Cookies cannabis business sells 2,000 different marijuana-related products across its 48 stores in seven countries and 20 U.S. states, as Greenburg notes — and with legalization coming to more states, he’s likely to get even bigger.
5. Andre “Dr. Dre” Young ($400 million)
While Dre’s statement that he was the “first billionaire in hip-hop” did not quite play out numerically (his net worth peaked at $800 million after taxes took a chunk of the $3 billion Beats by Dre sale). He’s seemed less interested in pursuing the billionaire landmark, however, uniting with Beats cofounder Jimmy Iovine to put $70 million into founding a school at the University of Southern California, spending $40 million on Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen’s Los Angeles mansion and having a costly divorce settlement. Even with all that, he’s still D-R-E.