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Jay-Z Replaces Ye on Hip-Hip Billionaires' Throne, Diddy Joins Exclusive Three-Comma Club

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Sean Combs
With Kanye West's self-immolation nearly complete, as he continues to burn down his music and fashion empires with his heated and hate-filled rhetoric, another has risen to replace him on the throne of hip-hop's billionaires.

Jay-Z, an idol, mentor, and sometimes partner-in-rhyme with West—who legally changed his name to Ye in 2021—now holds the number one spot thanks to his $1.5 billion fortune.

The news comes courtesy of reporting from former Forbes entertainment editor Zack O’Malley Greenburg. Currently covering the business of music at Substack, Greenburg dove deep into the numbers to find Ye's wealth-heir apparent after the rapper lost a reported $2 billion in net worth.

"All in all, the genre’s top five acts are now worth a combined $3.8 billion," Greenburg, who published his last hip-hop wealth list for Forbes in 2019, wrote. "Since then, the world has changed quite a bit, but the five richest artists’ combined net worth has jumped 20% from a pre-pandemic total of $3.17 billion."

Hailed as the first hip-hop billionaire in 2019, Jay-Z overtook his former protégé with a diverse and growing portfolio that includes investments in everything from real estate to art and spirits.

Fellow mononymous artist, Diddy, another former collaborator surged into second place on the list with a $1 billion net worth, courtesy of lucrative deals with Cîroc, DeLeón Tequila and the Revolt media network, among others.

Following antisemitic comments and other erratic behavior that led to the end of lucrative deals with a slew of companies, including his massive partnership with Adidas — distributor of his Yeezy shoes — Ye fell to third on the list with $500 million.

Gilbert “Berner” Milam ($410 million), and Dr. Dre ($400 million) rounded out the top-five earners in hip-hop. Milam, a Bay Area rapper, secured his spot on the strength of his cannabis empire, Cookies. The company sells 70 strains of weed and 2,000 different marijuana-related products around the globe.

Dre, who once proclaimed himself the first billionaire in hip-hop following the sale of his Beats headphone empire to Apple, was No. 5 on the list. The producer, whose fortune peaked at $800 million, has taken hits to his wealth in recent years thanks to a divorce and some expensive investments, including the purchase of Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen’s Los Angeles mansion for $40 million.

For more information on Greenburg’s methodology, click here.

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