News: Diddy Leaves Jay-Z & 50 Cent Looking Up, Bad Boy CEO Dominates Forbes' Top 5 Wealthiest List

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2012 11:25PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Bad Boy Records CEO Diddy is making headlines this week with reports claiming he has earned the right to call himself the wealthiest hip-hop artist in the music industry.

Based on Forbes Top 5 list of 2012, Puffy tops close contender Jay-Z.

Diddy is the closest to becoming a billionaire, leading the pack with a net worth of $550 million. The Bad Boy Records founder has remained a mainstream mainstay for 15 years thanks to his knack for self-promotion. Next up is Jay-Z at $460 million. Unlike his fellow Forbes Five members, Jay-Z still churns out music and goes on tour--most recently with pal Kanye West--adding to his considerable war chest. He sold his Rocawear clothing label for $204 million in 2007 and signed 10-year $150 million deal with Live Nation in 2008, and also holds stakes in the New Jersey Nets, his 40/40 Club chain, ad firm Translation, cosmetics company Carol's Daughter and other businesses. (Forbes)

Other close contenders include Interscope Records' Dr. Dre and 50 Cent.

Dr. Dre ranks third with $270 million, doubling from a year ago thanks to a major sale. In August, handset maker HTC paid $300 million to buy a 51% stake in Beats Electronics, the company founded by Dr. Dre and Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine in 2008. Birdman clocks in at No. 4 with a fortune of $125 million. He cofounded Cash Money Records with brother Ronald "Slim" Williams two decades ago, inking very favorable $30 million distribution deal with Universal in 1998. Rounding out the Forbes Five is Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson at $110 million. The Queens-born rapper earned $100 million on the sale of his Vitaminwater stake in 2007--and tens of millions more from touring, record sales and clothing--but spent freely on cars and renovations to his mansion, formerly owned by Mike Tyson. (Forbes)

After getting named the first hip-hop artist to likely hit a billion bucks last year, Diddy downplayed the hype surrounding his buzz.

"To be honest, on that list, I was on the cover of Forbes back in '98," Diddy explained in an interview. "I been on that list. I don't really get caught up into the list. I think people think that I have that money actually sitting at home in the basement...It's really like if I sold all my companies, and I take pride in [building] something as a black man that's worth that much...To everyone calling me for a loan today, I do not have that money today! ... It helps inspire people and it shows the power of hip-hop." (MTV)

Last spring, Cash Money's Birdman slammed Forbes for projecting his wealth at $100 million.

"I don't know how they tally up," Baby said in an interview with Uptown Angela referring to Forbes' list."To my knowledge I thought it was down. They said I made a $100 million dollars. I don't know where they get that sh*t from. I'm banking in more than a $100 million. That's a low number for a n*gga like me. But it's cool. For anybody to recognize anything is respected. We know what to do. The goal in our life and my life is to be a billionaire. I'm flipping hundreds. I ain't that far. I'm about eight steps." (Urban Radio NO)

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