Sean “Diddy” Combs finds himself in a familiar spot. The Bad Boy mogul reigns at No. 1 on the Forbes Five, a short list of hip-hop’s top-earning artists, edging out his peers including Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and Birdman.
Diddy has a net worth of $550 million, according to Forbes. The bulk of his wealth flows from his share of profits in Ciroc vodka. He also owns clothing lines Sean John and Enyce, marketing firm Blue Flame, record label Bad Boy, and various tech startups. In 2013, he looks to increase his bank roll with the launch of his first cable network Revolt.
In second place is Jay-Z, who earned $460 million. His pockets were fattened by the “Watch the Throne” tour with Kanye West and $150 million deal with Live Nation in 2008. Other lucrative ventures include his stake in the New Jersey Nets, 40/40 Club, ad firm Translation, and cosmetics company Carol’s Daughter.
Although he hasn’t released an album in over a decade, Dr. Dre ranks third with $270 million, doubling his earnings from a year ago thanks to a deal with HTC. In August, the handset maker paid $300 million to buy a 51% stake in Beats Electronics, the company Dre founded with Jimmy Iovine.
Birdman flies in at No. 4 with $125 million. The Cash Money Records founder inked a $30 million distribution deal with Universal in 1998 and continues to profit with a star-studded roster including Lil Wayne, Drake, and Nicki Minaj.
“One of my motivations in life is to be a billionaire,” Birdman told Forbes. “We’re going to keep working hard until we get our brand to be as big as possible. That’s the goal in life, that’s what I live for.”
Rounding out the Forbes Five is 50 Cent with $110 million. The G-Unit mogul earned $100 million after selling his stake in vitaminwater in 2007. Despite his absence from music, he continues to collect checks with his movie roles, books, and new headphone line SMS. He also gives back through his Street King energy drink, which aims to provide a million meals to impoverished nations.
The Forbes Five for 2012
1. Diddy – $550 million
2. Jay-Z – $460 million
3. Dr. Dre – $270 millon
4. Birdman – $125 million
5. 50 Cent – $110 million