News: Forbes Explains Top 5 Wealthiest List, "Diddy Gets A Huge Cut Of Profits" [Video]

Thursday, Apr 19, 2012 3:00PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

In an attempt to put this year's Top 5 Wealthiest Hip-Hop Artists list into perspective, Forbes magazine editor, Zack O'Malley Greenburg, has broken down each music mogul's placement.

According to Greenburg, Puff's business relationship with Ciroc easily sits him atop rap star Jay-Z.

"Number one is Diddy at $550 million. He's number one, far and away from everybody else because mainly of Ciroc," editor Zack O'Malley Greenburg said in an interview. "He's got this incredible deal backed by beverage giant Diageo. He gets a huge cut of profits and he's entitled to a split in profits of any sale of the brand. Second up we have Jay-Z. Jay-Z's one of the only artists whose making a lot of music actively. He released Watch the Throne last year -- so Jay-Z's right up there." (Forbes)

The Top 5 list officially became public knowledge earlier this week.

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)

Check out Zack O'Malley Greenburg's explanation below:

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