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Kanye West Is Forbes’ Highest Paid Hip Hop Artist; Jay-Z, Drake and Migos Among Top 10

Jay-Z, Drake, Cardi B, Nicki Minaj and more grace the list of this year’s highest paid hip hop artists.

Forbes has released 2019’s highest paid hip hop artists and Kanye West is leading the race, with Hov coming in 2nd. Jay is among the greatest artists and businessmen in history with his numerous ventures, including his company, RocNation, and label, Roc-A-Fella Records. His many talents make him second on the list, bringing in a whopping $81 million this year.

Like Jay, Yeezy has stepped out of the music industry and perfected his craft in the fashion industry with his clothing line and shoe franchise with Adidas. “There was a beam of light on the idea of me making athletic footwear,” West explained in an interview for the August cover of Forbes. “A paradigm shift. Like the Yeezy is desired as much as a Jordan.” In 2019, Mr. West made $150 million.

According to Forbes, Ye is expected to top $1.5 billion this year in sales or about half of what Nike’s Air Jordan pulls in—boosting West’s pretax income to $150 million over the past year, and making him hip hop’s leading money-maker for the first time. The top 20 acts in hip hop combined made $860 million, up 33% from $648 million last year. In order to be added to the list you have had to have pulled in a minimum of $18 million.

Forbes’ numbers are based on pretax income from June 2018 to June 2019 before deducting fees for agents, managers and lawyers; figures are based on data from Nielsen Music, Pollstar, Bandsintown and interviews with experts, handlers and some of the stars themselves. 

The 20 artists on the list include: 20. Pitbull ($18 million), 19. Wiz Khalifa ($18.5 million), 18. Nas ($19 million), 17. Future ($19.5 million), 16.Birdman ($20 million), 15. Meek Mill ($21 million), 14. Swizz Beatz ($23 million), 13. Cardi B ($28 million), 12. Nicki Minaj ($29 million), 11. J Cole ($31 million), 10. Childish Gambino ($35 million), 9. Migos ($36 million), 8. Kendrick Lamar ($38.5 million), 7. DJKhaled ($40 million), 6. Eminem ($50 million), 5. Travis Scott ($58 million), 4. Diddy ($70 million), 3. Drake ($75 million), 2. Jay-Z ($81 million) and 1. Kanye West ($150 million).

Kanye West Highest Paid
(?Astrid Stawiarz / Getty)

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