Forbes has released its list of hip-hop’s highest earners for 2018, and it’s safe to say the Mr. Beyoncé Knowles probably pulled in more this year than you.
In US dollars, Jay-Z topped the list by bringing in $76.5 million over the past 12 months, major bank-account boosters including a new album (4:44), a collabo with his wife Beyoncé (Everything Is Love) and the couple's joint stadium tour, titled On the Run II.
After three years as hip-hop’s most successful mogul, Diddy fell to second with $64 million, earnings largely thanks to stakes in Ciroc vodka and Aquahydrate water. Kendrick Lamar earned $58 million for third partly with old-fashioned touring and partly through endorsement deals with heavyweight companies like Nike and American Express.
Hip-hop’s top five biggest earners is rounded out by Toronto’s Drake, whose status as the most-streamed artist on the planet helped him pull in $47 million, and J. Cole, who rode a new album (KOD) and subsequent tour to a $35.5 million payday.
The rest of the top 10 features Dr. Dre and Nas ($35 million each), Pitbull ($32 million), and Future ($30 million).
Kanye West plummeted to 10th spot with a sad $27.5 million, the loudmouthed superstar watching his latest album, Ye, fail to go platinum, and pissing off much of his fan base by forming a bro-mance with US President Donald Trump. A series of cancelled concerts further hurt a bottom line that was bolstered with a lucrative endorsement deal with Adidas.
Forbes arrived at its list by looking at pretax income from June 2017 to June 2018, weighing everything from touring and record sales to endorsements and business deals.
Hip-hop is now the most-consumed musical genre in North America, with every artist in Forbes top 20 making $15 million or more.
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