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Forbes Five of richest in hip-hop shows importance of brand evolution

Yesterday Forbes released their annual Forbes Five of the richest hip-hop artists in the game and there weren’t exactly any surprises.

The names here are pretty much what we’ve come to expect on these kinds of lists, with the biggest moguls in hip-hop making up the top 5.

Diddy comes in at number one on this list, he’s essentially become a mainstay when it comes to the top of the Forbes Five. As Zack O’Malley Greenburg writes, “the only thing more predictable than a Diddy name change? His place atop our annual list of the wealthiest hip-hop artists.”

But Greenburg also points out that Diddy has found himself some real competition at the top echelon of hip-hop opulence. This competition comes in the form of Brooklyn native Jay Z, whose net worth has spiked in the last year,

“Jay Z’s fortune has jumped 30% in the past year after a $200 million investment from Sprint reportedly put the valuation of his music-streaming service, Tidal, at $600 million, more than 10 times what he paid for the company two years ago.”

Slotting in at third is superproducer and Beats founder Dr. Dre. In 2014 Dre sold Beats to Apple for $3 billion, which puts his net worth at an estimated $740 million.

The top three on this list are in a completely different class, falling just short of the billionaire tag. Diddy is worth a reported $820 million, Hov at $810 million is right behind him, and Dre rounds out this top three.

At number four is Birdman, but to illustrate the sharp drop off from those three mega-moguls, Birdman is valued at about $110 million.

That’s not chump change by any means, but Birdman is not touching those three legends, especially with the chaos going on over at Cash Money Records. Having Drake, Lil Wayne, and Nicki Minaj on your label only works until they leave, which all three have reportedly expressed their desire to do.

Rounding out the top 5 is by far the youngest on this list, Drake. While not altogether shocking, Drake’s place on this list shows the moves he’s been making with a streaming deal with Apple music and sponsorship partnerships with Nike and Sprite.

While the music industry has changed pretty radically in the last twenty years, artists have found different ways to make money, beyond album sales. Whether it’s being at the forefront of streaming services, lucrative sponsorship deals, or making the dankest sounding headphones, these hip-hop moguls have used their entrepreneurial drive to make wild bread despite the changing face of the industry.