Hip-Hop’s Top 10 Artists Made $338M in 2012!


Hip-Hop’s Top 10 artists pulled in $338M in 2012, not just from selling music but from selling their brand.

Who said there’s no money in the game?  You just gotta know how to “get it”.  There is more to being an artist than just making music.  In fact, making to much music can also hurt you at times.  Artists are walking talking billboards, they are the brand.  The faster you understand that, the faster you’ll get on the right path.  To see what we’re talking about, check out the top 10 highest paid Hip Hop artists of 2012!

1. Andre “Dr. Dre” Young ($110 million)
BOSTON - APRIL 04:  Producer and musician Dr. Dre is on the field before the Boston Red Sox take on the the New York Yankees on April 4, 2010 during Opening Night at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Dre is promoting the Boston Red Sox version of his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)Although his long-awaited album, Detox, is still on the shelf, Dre raked in cash from old albums, production and the occasional concert. And then there’s that headphone line, Beats By Dre. Who new that when Iovine advised Dre to start a line of Speakers rather than Sneakers, that Beats By Dre would end up selling more than half of the country’s premium headphones and that HTC would pay $300 million for a 51% stake in the company?!


2. Sean “Diddy” Combs ($45 million) 

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 11:  Producer Sean 'Diddy' Combs onstage at Clive Davis and the Recording Academy's 2012 Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute to Industry Icons Honoring Richard Branson held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 11, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)It’s been 15 years since his creative opus, No Way Out, but Diddy still continues to earn from a variety of non-musical deals—namely a share of profits from Diageo’s Ciroc vodka.



3. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter ($38 million)
Shawn Carter, Jay-ZBeyoncé’s husband continues to pull in proceeds from music (touring in support of his album with Kanye West) and business (deals with Duracell, Budweiser and others).



4. Kanye West ($35 million)
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - JULY 06:  (Exclusive Coverage) Kanye West performs at Ovation Hall at Revel Resort & Casino on July 6, 2012 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)The rapper-producer had a big hit with his Jay-Z collaboration Watch the Throne and the ensuing tour; he also designs shoes for Nike and a line of women’s clothing.



5. Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter ($27 million)
ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Hip-hop artists Lil' Wayne, wearing diamond studded beats headphones by Dr. Dre sits courtside during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center on February 26, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)The diminutive rhymester’s latest album, Tha Carter IV, sold a million copies in its first week; he also launched clothing line Trukfit and a partnership with Pepsi’s Mountain Dew.



6. Aubrey Drake Graham ($20.5 million)
Drake performs at the "Made In America" music festival on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012, in Philadelphia. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)The former Degrassi star’s sophomore album moved 631,000 copies in its opening week, fueling his lucrative Club Paradise Tour. He also shills for Sprite and Kodak.



7. Bryan “Birdman” Williams ($20 million)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 22:  BirdMan attends DJ Khaled's "Kiss The Ring" album release party at Kiss & Fly on August 22, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic)He’s the co-founder and chief of Cash Money Records—home to listmates Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj—and adds to his coffers with other ventures including clothing and vodka



8. Nicki Minaj ($15.5 million)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 06:  Nicki Minaj performs as Times Square was brought to a standstill on April 6, 2012 as Nicki Minaj teamed up with Nokia to perform live for the launch of the Windows Phone-based Nokia Lumia 900 in North America, in New York City. Tens of thousands of people watched Nicki perform a medley of her hits before a prominent Times Square building was turned into a living, breathing entity in time to the unique Nokia Lumia 900 remix of her hit single �Starships�. The building appeared to fill with water before a 60ft waterfall was seen to cascade down the side of the building. The reaction of the crowd was shown on nine massive electronic screens around the famous square making it one of the biggest LED displays ever seen and will be used in the video of Nicki�s new Nokia Lumia 900 remix of �Starships�. The singer said: ⤽When Nokia came to me with the idea to make a building come alive and to perform in Times Square in front of my fans to celebrate the launch of the Nokia Lumia 900 there was only ever one answer. To see the idea on paper was amazing but to see it for real blew me away. It brought Times Square to a standstill. The absolute bonus for me is that my fans, who have been so loyal to me, are now part of the video for the Starships Nokia remix. Performing in my home town of NYC the same week as the release of my new album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded is amazing and it really is a dream come true.⤝  The Nokia Lumia 900 will be available in unique and eye-catching cyan blue and a matte black with a new high-gloss white version on sale later this month. To watch more of the amazing event go to www.facebook.com/nokiaus  (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Nokia)Performances at the Super Bowl and the Grammys helped raise her profile while a new album, extensive touring and endorsements with Pepsi and others lined her pocketbook.



9. Marshall “Eminem” Mathers ($15 million)
INDIO, CA - APRIL 15:  Eminem performs during day 3 of the 2012 Coachella Music Festival at The Empire Polo Club on April 15, 2012 in Indio, California.  (Photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic)Sometimes music is enough. Eminem sold more albums last decade than any artist in the world, and continues to cash in from his extensive back catalog and occasional tour dates.



10. Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges ($12 million)
Ludacris performs during a viewing party outside American Airlines Arena in Miami, Thursday, May 26, 2011, for the broadcast of the Heat taking on the Chicago Bulls in Game 5 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals in Chicago. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)The multihyphenate mogul’s non-musical ventures include Conjure cognac, headphone line Soul, voiceovers for RadioShack and roles in movies such as Fast Five and New Year’s Eve.




We hope to be writing similar articles about Desi Hip-Hop artists some day !