In addition to being artists, the lyricists also have lucrative business and real estate dealings, including clothing lines, liquor brands and numerous other products.

To compile its ranking of the richest rappers, Forbes used the same procedures employed in the calculation of its annual billionaires list: poring over financial documents, valuing major assets, and consulting with analysts, managers, attorneys and other industry insiders.

“To convince artists that you can’t be an artist and make money … was the greatest trick in music that people ever pulled off,” Jay-Z told Forbes in 2010. “I think the people that were making the millions said that.”

“Jay-Z’s entire life is the real blueprint,” says hip-hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy, longtime host of the show Yo! MTV Raps. “He’s one of the best examples in our lifetime of one who’s truly achieved the American dream and billionaire status.”

So get ready to drop the mic as we climb our way to the top of the charts of the richest rappers heading into the new year below:

Kendrick Lamar

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20. Kendrick Lamar (Net worth: $75 million)

An artist of many talents, Kendrick Lamar is a rapper, songwriter and producer who’s risen the ranks of the industry in record time, compared to many of the other artists who make this list.

Related: 20 richest YouTubers by net worth.

Timbaland

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19. Timbaland (Net worth: $85 million)

Timbaland, born Timothy Zachery Mosley, is an American rapper, singer, record producer, songwriter, and record executive best known for his many collaborations with childhood friend and fellow hip-hop icon Missy Elliott.

See also: The 10 richest female rappers in 2021.

Nicki Minaj

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18. Nicki Minaj (Net worth: $85 million)

Trinidadian rapper, singer, and songwriter, Nicki Minaj is the only woman to make this list and it’s no surprise, given that this no-filter artist has never had an issue holding her own with the boys when it comes to dominating the often male-dominated hip-hop industry.

You may also like: The 10 richest female rappers in 2021.

Michael Diamond

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17. Michael Diamond (Mike D) (Net worth: $90 million)

Mike D, born Michael Louis Diamond, is best known as one of the founding members of the iconic hip-hop group Beastie Boys, whose members had musical roots in experimental hardcore punk and came together to create a sound that was all their own, and, if his rank on this list is any indication, is still relevant to this day. As he did with his career in the industry, Mike D has trailblazed his way to the 17th spot on our list.

See also: The richest K-pop stars.

Adam Horovitz

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16. Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) (Net Worth: $90 million)

Continuing on our climb to the top is fellow Beastie Boys alum and founding member Adam Horovitz, also known as Ad-Rock or King Ad-Rock.

Related: 20 celebrities with surprisingly low net worths.

Pitbull

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15. Pitbull (Net Worth: $100 million)

You’d be hard-pressed to find a picture of this artist where he isn’t flashing that (hundred) million dollar smile. Pitbull, born Armando Christian Pérez, was raised by Cuban immigrants in Miami’s “Little Havana” district. Breaking out in the industry in 2004 with his debut release M.I.A.M.I., Pitbull’s sound instantly attracted seasoned artists in the industry like Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera, and his collaboration tracks became a signature as he dominated the charts then — and now.

You may also like: Dolphin skin is the latest skincare and makeup trend celebs have mastered.

Birdman

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14. Birdman (Net Worth: $100 million)

From a smile to a scowl, rapper Birdman, who also goes by Baby, is best known as the co-founder of Cash Money Records, the original “label home” to many hip-hop superstars, including hip hop icon Lil Wayne.

See also: Celeb engagements that never made it to the altar.

LL Cool J

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13. LL Cool J (Net Worth: $120 million)

Not only an example of career longevity, but also of successful career crossovers, LL Cool J is a multitalented artist who, unlike many of the veteran artists on this list, has never hit a lull in relevance over the years. From his breakout start on the hip hop scene to his countless chart-topping hits and albums over the years, to his present day work in television and film, LL Cool J still has our attention. And, based on that signature smirk-and-smoulder, we’re guessing he knows he’s still the G.O.A.T.

Related: The richest supermodels in 2021 by net worth.

Swizz Beatz

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12. Swizz Beatz (Net Worth: $150 million)

Born Kasseem Daoud Dean and hailing from The Bronx, artist Swizz Beatz is a record producer, rapper and all-around entrepreneur who first kicked off his musical career as a DJ. A true power-couple, Swizz Beatz married fellow artist Alicia Keys in 2010 and the pair have two children together.

See also: Lizzo gave an epic history lesson with a twerk talk.

Snoop Dogg

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11. Snoop Dogg (Net Worth: $150 million)

Easily one of the most recognizable names on our list, Snoop is widely considered to be one of the original “hip hop greats” and one of the most diverse artists in the industry. Armed with a unique sound but love of collaboration, Snoop (who’s gone by every variation possible of his stage name at this point), is always down to try something new — whether musically or beyond. Case in point: his successful (and super unexpected) pairing with Martha Stewart on television. With zero concern for overexposure, we’re pretty sure Snoop Dogg is a safe staple on this list for many years to come.

You may also like: 21 celebrities talk about social media and why they quit the internet.

Lil Wayne

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10. Lil Wayne (Net Worth: $150 million)

Flashing that diamond-accented mega-watt smile is the super-flashy and king-of-catchy chart-toppers Lil’ Wayne, who struts in at number 10 on our list.

Related: 20 richest singers of 2021 ranked by net worth.

Ice Cube

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9. Ice Cube (Net Worth: $160 million)

American rapper turned film and television star, Ice Cube cemented his hip-hop icon status as a founding member of the pioneering rap group N.W.A., whose often-controversial lyrics and subject matter broke ground in the music industry and put a no-filter spotlight on the culture often associated with this hip-hop genre. His role in N.W.A. earned him a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

See also: Style cues to steal from ‘90s teen dramas. 

Drake

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8. Drake (Net Worth: $180 million)

Something of a local legend, Canadian rapper and Toronto Raptors ambassador Drake first got his start as “Jimmy” on the reboot of classic coming-of-age television show Degrassi. From there it’s been a straight shot to the top as Drake has taken the hip hop world by storm with his mix of rap and R&B styles, a lot of charisma in front of the camera and the love of his city behind him. We love a homegrown (hip-hop) hero in the Six.

Related: Drake threatened legal action over his Degrassi characters’ wheelchair.

Pharrell Williams

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7. Pharrell Williams (Net Worth: $200 million)

Nothing makes us happy like seeing this mega-talented artist sitting so high up on this list. Pharrell Williams dances in to his own beat to take the seventh spot on our list with a net worth of a whopping $200 million.

You may also like: The richest female athletes, based on net worth.

Master P

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6. Master P (Net Worth: $200 million)

American rapper, record executive, actor, and entrepreneur Master P is the founder of No Limit Records and just misses the top five of our list in the sixth spot, with a (very) respectable $200 million net worth.

You may also like: 20 celebs who are completely obsessed with their dogs. 

Eminem

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5. Eminem (Net Worth: $230 million)

A legend in the industry, a controversial figure from the start, and still one of the fastest rhyme-spitters of all-time, the one, the only, Eminem — who kicks off our top five with a net worth of $230 million.

See also: The 15 best money tips to set you up for success in 2022.

Dr. Dre

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4. Dr. Dre (Net Worth: $780 million)

Not a real doctor, but heavily credited with having resuscitated the hip hop genre in his time — not to mention introducing the world to Eminem — Dr. Dre takes the fourth spot on our list.

Related: 20 highest-paying in-demand jobs in Canada for 2022.

Sean Combs

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3. Sean Combs (Diddy) (Net Worth: $900 million)

Talk about reinvention! Sean Combs AKA Diddy AKA Puff Daddy AKA P.Diddy AKA…. — you get the picture) — is a master at finding talent in the industry. From cementing himself early on as the right-hand artist to hip hop legend The Notorious B.I.G. to mega-success in his own right, it’s not surprise that Diddy slides in at one of the top spots on this list.

See also: 20 most affordable cities in Canada for young people.

Jay Z

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2. Jay Z (Net Worth: $1.3 billion)

Though he’s hip-hop’s first billionaire, Jay-Z’s lead on the rest of the pack is even larger if his entire family fortune is taken into consideration: He and wife Beyoncé are now worth a combined $1.4 billion. So much for the notion that music is a dying business.

“To convince artists that you can’t be an artist and make money … was the greatest trick in music that people ever pulled off,” Jay-Z told Forbes in 2010. “I think the people that were making the millions said that.”

While he’s never dabbled artistically outside of the music industry, Jay Z’s success includes a diverse portfolio of achievements — and investments. The hip-hop superstar not only found a unique sound in the industry, but also used his business savvy to find success in every facet of the industry, from the beats to the business — and is considered to be one of the most influential hip-hop artists of all-time. And, oh yeah, he made smart moves in his personal life as well — ahem — landing Beyoncé.

Related: Ring the alarm — Beyoncé Just Joined TikTok.

Kanye West

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1. Kanye West (Net Worth: $6.6 billion)

A onetime protégé of Jay-Z, the superproducer has been making headlines recently for his Sunday Service, an invitation-only get-together mostly in Southern California that is reportedly frequented by the likes of Courtney Love and Tyler, the Creator. He took the show on the road in April for a Coachella service on Easter Sunday featuring appearances by Chance the Rapper, DMX and a gospel choir—while hawking socks and “holy spirit” sweatshirts. But selling church clothes alone won’t be enough to push West into ten-figure territory.

Despite declaring himself $53 million in debt and beseeching Mark Zuckerberg for $1 billion to fund future creations in 2016, West makes his debut on this list thanks to a another patron: Adidas, which lured West and his Yeezy shoe line from Nike several years ago. Our accounting of West’s wealth is almost entirely predicated on a conservative estimate of that brand’s value. As it continues to scale up, he could one day join his sister-in-law, Kylie Jenner, as a billionaire.

Let’s be honest: what can we say (in praise) of this super-controversial (but also massively successful) artist that he hasn’t already tweeted about himself?

Methodology

In order to compile our ranking of the richest rappers, Forbes uses the same procedures employed in the calculation of their annual billionaires list: poring over financial documents, valuing major assets, and consulting with analysts, managers, attorneys and other industry insiders.