Jay-Z, Kanye West and Dr. Dre: ‘Forbes’ Ranks Hip-Hop’s Highest-Earners

Beyonce & Jay-Z Together
The happy couple posed together at the 'Made in America' festival.
Kim & Kanye in NYC
The superstar couple goes shopping in the city.
Has Jay-Z been dethroned as Forbes’ cash king?

In the magazine’s annual accounting of hip-hop’s top earners, Dr. Dre has taken the crown for 2012, triumphing over reigning ruler Jay-Z. But rapper-producer Dre didn’t land the No. 1 spot through his revered work in the recording studio.

After not releasing a record in over a decade, Dre was primed for a comeback with Detox. But as the long-awaited album still sits on the shelf, the hip-hop mogul shifted focus to his highly-lucrative Beats By Dr. Dre venture, which produced wildly popular earphones. The company now sells more than half of the country’s premium headphones (costing $100 and up), according to Forbes.

So how much has Dre’s money-making endeavor earned him?

Beats By Dr. Dre boosted his bank account by a whopping $100 million pretax, which accounts for nearly all of his reported $110 earnings.

What other stars pulled in the most money in the past year? P. Diddy took No. 2 on Forbes’ list with $45 million, most of which he earned through his share of profits from Diageo’s Ciroc vodka.

In third place is Jay-Z, who is bringing home the bacon for wife Beyonce and their baby girl Blue Ivy.

The rapper-producer pulled in $38 million over the last year, more than half of which he earned from ventures outside the music industry, such as his ownership stakes in cosmetics company Carol’s Daughter and the Brooklyn Nets.

Jay’s Watch the Throne partner Kanye West followed him in fourth place, pulling in $35 million through the pair’s album and subsequent tour.

Find out what other hip-hop hitmakers rounded out the top 10.

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