When you're in the rap biz, it's all about the Benjamins.
No matter how many shiny awards are stacked somewhere in that multimillion-dollar mansion, you've only truly made it when you rank among Forbes' wealthiest hip-hop artists.
More than just lyrical worth, the worth of these rap moguls was calculated based on their past earnings, current holdings, and financial documents, as well as face time with analysts, attorneys, managers, and other industry players.
Check out the five richest rappers of 2014.
See also: 13 Richest DJs of 2013
5. 50 Cent, $140 Million
Fiddy's such a "Hustler." So it's no huge surprise that Curtis Jackson comes in as the fifth richest rapper of the year. How has 50 Cent stockpiled so many millions? Mainly from his $100 million check from the sale of Vitaminwater back in 2007. Throw in an endorsement deal with SMS Audio, the launch of Street King energy shots with SK Energy beverages, and the upcoming June release of his fifth studio album, Animal Ambition, on G-Unit Records, and you've got yourself the formula for a hip-hop cash king.
See also: Five Signs You Might Be a Shitty Rapper
4. Birdman, $160 Million
Twenty years ago, Bryan "Birdman" Williams and his brother Ronald "Slim" Williams cofounded Cash Money Records. Today, the company is a rap game powerhouse, with superstars Lil Wayne, Juvenile, Drake, and Nicki Minaj on its artist roster. While Birdman splits the Cash Money fortune with his brother, he claims other earnings from book-publishing company Cash Money Content, GT Vodka, and the YMCMB clothing line. Looks like Birdman's in "tha bizness [of] hundred million dollars."
3. Jay Z, $520 Million
Hova is an artist, an entrepreneur, a business, man. Sure, Jigga pulled in bills with last year's Magna Carta Holy Grail, but the rapper earned most of income from business ventures, mainly the Roc Nation media and entertainment kingdom, including Roc Nation Sports, which "gets a single-digit percentage cut of pacts like Robinson Cano's $240 million monster." Guess big things happen when you've got Shawn Carter's "Empire State of Mind."
See also: Ten Acts That Could Save Hip-Hop
2. Dr. Dre, $550 Million
Dre's all about the beats. No, seriously, his Beats by Dre headphones are what led to his half-billion-plus bank statement this year. Cofounded with Interscope's Jimmy lovine in 2008, Beats reportedly controls two-thirds of the premium headphone market, cashing in on more than $1 billion in sales every year. Although Andre Young hasn't released an album in over a decade, with all that cash, the rapper's "Still D.R.E."
1. Diddy, $700 Million
From being the face of Diageo's Cîroc to launching his own music cable television network, Revolt TV, Diddy runs a frickin' empire. For the third year in a row, Sean Combs has stayed at the top as the richest rapper of all time, earning $120 million more than in 2013, mainly thanks to Revolt. And for the moment, that's all that's on Diddy's mind. "Right now, my focus is Revolt and making it the number one, most trusted, most credible worldwide brand for music," the $300 million short of becoming hip-hop's first billionaire told Forbes last month. Who knows? Maybe Diddy's name will be followed by nine zeros next year.
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