Forbes magazine has named the wealthiest of the wealthy in the hip-hop world for 2014, with Sean “Diddy” Combs taking out top spot with an estimated fortune of USD$700 million, a yearly increase of $120 million after taking out the number one spot last year.
According to Forbes, Diddy’s monetary increase comes largely from the addition of Revolt TV – the new music-focused media channel of which he is majority owner.
“We’re in a time where the people that really work hard — and really believe in themselves, and really don’t give up on their dreams, no matter how many times they fall down—are the ones that are going to be successful,” Diddy told Forbes.
Diddy is followed close behind by Dr. Dre, who ranks second with USD$550 million thanks to the success of Beats by Dr. Dre, which he cofounded with Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine in 2008. According to Forbes, Beats by Dr. Dre now controls two-thirds of the premium headphone market, with annual sales reportedly in excess of $1 billion and growing.
Taking out third place is Jay Z, with an estimated USD$520 million. Over the past few years, Jay Z has made multiple nine-figure deals, including his USD$204 million Rocawear sale in 2007 and his USD$150 million pact with Live Nation in 2008. Most of his recent financial growth has come from Roc Nation, his record label and management firm which has now added its own sports agency.
Fourth place goes to Bryan “Birdman” Williams, whose net worth would be over USD$300 million if he doesn’t share his fortune with brother Ronald “Slim” Williams. The two brothers co-founded Cash Money Records two decades ago, which continues to grow its roster with artists like Drake, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. Birdman also diversified his investments with Cash Money Content, GT Vodka and the YMCMB clothing line.
Rounding out the list at number five is 50 Cent. Most of his fortune has come from the USD$100 million sale of Vitaminwater in 2007, and now he’s trying to repeat that success with companies like SMS Audio and SK Energy beverages. His G-Unit Records will soon be taken independent, and he’s set to release new album Animal Ambition in June.