In commercial hip-hop, your money game is even more important than your ability to rhyme. If you've got money, you've got rhymes, and if you don't have money, you fake it till you make it.
For these top earners, the faking days are over. Making Forbes' list of biggest rap bank accounts is proof you walk the way you're talking, and if you're real about numbers, your fans can believe you're real about other things, right?
Maybe that's faulty logic. But either way, these are the richest rappers of 2013.
See also: 13 Richest DJs of 2013
20. Questlove: $6 Million, tie
We're going to go ahead and call Questlove, director of the Legendary Roots Crew, the best drummer in the whole game. He's brought his intelligent gang up from the bottom to prime time. Perpetual underground heroes, they're now in households across America every night as the backing band for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Plus, he's been DJ'ing a lot lately for extra cash.
20. Young Jeezy: $6 Million, tie
Jeezy (he actually dropped the "Young" recently because he's 35) hasn't released an album since 2011, but Forbes said a successful clothing line (8732 Apparel) and touring money has pushed him into the illustrious top 20.
20. Mac Miller: $6 Million, tie
The 21-year-old maintains his position in the Forbes list, which isn't too shabby for a guy who's come under personal attack from Donald Trump. His latest LP, Watching Movies With the Sound Off, was one of the best hip-hop albums of the year, and money from tours and record sales keep him a high-earning contender.
20. Rick Ross: $6 Million, tie
Miami Bawse, represent! It takes a lot of money to eat all this food, and Ross probably still has stacks left over. He keeps his bitches tip-toeing over marble floors by selling massive amounts of albums, this year with the release of God Forgives, I Don't. And lest we forget, he's the Maybach Music mastermind, and that's a money crew if there ever was one.
20. Lil Jon: $6 Million, tie
Oh yeah, Lil Jon is still hanging in there as one of the biggest bank accounts in the game. He's still one of the greatest hype men of all time, and now, he hypes the crowd for himself as a party-startin' DJ. Forbes said he played more than 100 shows in the past year alone, and no doubt he demands top dollar for his spins.
19. 50 Cent: $7 Million
Fiddy took a page out of his mentor's book and spent the past year making a mint off of headphones. Not only that, the man behind VitaminWater has a new drink, SK Energy, and that's not performing poorly either.
18. Tech N9ne: $7.9 Million
Continuing to find himself in the company of more commercial rappers, Tech N9ne holds it down for the skillful with a sick bit of rainy-day money. His label Strange Music earns him plenty of green faces, and his commitment to the road, as well as his fans' commitment to gobbling merch, keeps his pockets lined nicely.
17. Swizz Beatz: $8.5 Million
This dude is a sick beat producer, mad rich and married to Alicia Keys. Has he got you feeling inadequate yet? You hear his signature "Swizzy" call on the hottest tracks of every year, so don't be surprised to see him hanging out. Deals with Reebok, Monster, and Lotus offer even more goodies.
14. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: $9 Million, tie
Last year, no one would have recognized these white boys on the street, but now, they shop at thrift stores only because they want to. Their surprise smash The Heist has sold more than a milli copies thanks in part to some of the most creative music videos hip-hop has seen in a minute.
14. Pharrell Williams: $9 Million, tie
He had a number-one single singing on Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," but he probably would have made this list even without help from the robots. He's got his own clothing line, his awesome YouTube channel I Am Other, and more high-priced beats than anyone else in his generation. Flyer at 40 than ever before.
14. Kendrick Lamar: $9 Million, tie
Another newcomer to the list but not really a newcomer to the game. He broke through the underground into the highest heights of the charts with his instant classic Good Kid, m.A.A.d City, and he earned his spot as one of the greatest rhymer/storytellers of all time. He's now kicking off as an opener for none other than Kanye West.
12. Eminem: $10 Million, tie
Thankfully, drug addiction didn't kill Eminem before he had a chance to come back. With a new album on the way, Forbes lets the world know Em has already sold more albums in a decade than any artist in any genre at all. Fuck you, Elvis; there's a new white-boy king.
12. Snoop Lion: $10 Million, tie
Only Snoop can go from gangster rapping pioneer to peace-loving Rastafarian and keep his audience hanging on every word. Have you seen Reincarnated yet? It'll soothe any worries you still have about the crossover. He just played Ultra, one of 85 shows he did last year, and the fact that you can't stop buying his old albums helps too.
11. Drake: $10.5 Million
Drake is all, "I don't know how much I really made, I forgot, it's a lot," but Forbes is keeping track for the rest of the world. Bro has enough money to wear nothing but Versace if he wants to, and he might just want to.
10. Pitbull: $11 Million
Oye, he might be a sellout, but he's our fucking sellout. Dude can party from Alaska and back and still have more money in the bank than most. Besides moving lots of album weight, Kodak and Dr. Pepper are always throwing cash at him.
9. Ludacris: $12 Million
His forthcoming record, Ludaversal, has been pushed back, but he keeps doing live shows, so he keeps raking in piles of presidents. Did you know he has his own cognac, Conjur? And he was in Fast and Furious 6, because why not?
8. Wiz Khalifa: $14 Million
If ever a wonderful Wiz there was, Khalifa is one for real. He just had a baby, and that baby is fuckin' stacked for life. He's on tracks with effin' Miley Cyrus; he's making that Disney princess money. U.O.E.N.O, bro.
7. Lil Wayne: $16 Million
His money is taller than he is, and everybody knows it. The Trukfit clothing line keeps him looking fresh out the studio, and I Am Not a Human Being II keeps his fans happy between their headphones. As head honcho of Young Money, he runs careers into the clouds and makes a pretty good penny for himself.
6. Kanye West: $20 Million
He is a god, and he's stinking rich. Yeezus was one of the most anticipated albums of the year, and its sales did not disappoint. As the mastermind of G.O.O.D. Music, he puts out tons of great albums. He's also about to put out his own clothing line, so the story goes.
5. Birdman: $21 Million
We can't even imagine having as much money as Lil Wayne's daddy. He runs Cash Money and therefore handles careers like Nicki Minaj, Drake, and the Lil Jr. Add to that an empire in clothing, vodka, and publishing and that's dollar signs.
4. Nicki Minaj: $29 Million
She may swear she hasn't gone pop (LAWLZ), but does it really matter what music you make when you have so many millions? And in case you're not paying attention -- yes, Minaj is the only woman on the highest-earners list.
3. Dr. Dre: $40 Million
Leaving the others behind by about $10 mill, Dre continues to be one of the heaviest hitters in the hip-hop game. He's been at work in the lab for decades, and now with his successful Beats by Dre line of headphones, he hardly has to try.
2. Jay Z: $43 Million
Does he save money by dropping the hyphen? He certainly earned a good bit with his sick Samsung deal. Magna Carta... Holy Grail was another exciting record, on top of everything else he owns and runs. Now, he's going to make even more selling his stakes in the Barclay Center. His money knows no bounds.
1. Diddy: $50 Million
Diddy is back on top, kicking Dr. Dre down from the top spot last year. He's been putting himself back on the tracks, and his Bad Boy label continues to churn out hits. Everyone drinks his damned Ciroc, and he recently started a kick-ass YouTube/cable channel dedicated to great rhymers called Revolt. And you're still rockin' Sean John, aren't you.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.
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