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The music industry has changed through the years. Where people once bought cassettes and CDs, now people get the albums they want to hear via digital downloads. No music genre has been more devastated by the emergence of technology than rap. But, just like every cloud has its silver lining, rappers too have evolved from being writers of profanity-laden lyrics that seem to come from beyond hell’s own cradle, and have transformed to become successful tycoons. Here’s a list of just some of the rappers that have garnered success far beyond the mic.

Kanye West

Net Worth: $145 million

The rapper Kanye West has made a name for himself, both on stage and off it. With 21 Grammys and 21 million albums sold, it’s safe to say that West is an established hip-hop superstar, along with being a tad bit cocky. But hey, he’s got to be doing something right. To give you an idea of West’s success, his Yeezy sneaker collection in collaboration with Adidas sells in a matter of minutes, most of which are pre-orders, with the ones remaining vanishing from the stands by fans who camp outside shoe stores to grab a pair of the sneakers on the release date. While his critics have the right to their own opinion, the Chicago-raised Atlanta native has worked with the best in the business, and does not shy away from making the most of every chance he gets to make his mark in the world.


Net Worth: $600 million

Shawn Carter, also known as Jay-Z, rolls in exclusive circles. While starting off his career in the music industry, Jay-Z has created a business empire that ranges from a clothing line and fragrances to real estate, liquor, and the Jersey Nets. And that’s not counting the 40 million albums sold worldwide. His easygoing and calm demeanor enables him to cross cultural boundaries with ease, which is why the movers and shakers of the world (politicians, actors, athletes) want to get close to him. Jay-Z has stayed true to his mantra, “I’m not a businessman…I’m a business, man.” As he himself put it in one of his raps.

Dr. Dre

Net Worth: $700 million

No list of rappers would be complete without this name, and especially not a list of successful rappers who turned successful businessmen. Dr. Dre aka Andre Young introduced himself to the world as a part of a group called World Class Wreckin’ Cru. He’s worked with the elders of rap music and has the Grammys to show it. But, when news of Dr. Dre selling Beats to Apple for a cool $3 billion made headlines, he became the highest paid musician in the world, oddly enough, Dr-Dre never felt the need to pick up a mic again.


Net Worth: $750 million

The rapper Sean Combs, also known as Diddy, is an undisputed global trendsetter and urban style leader. The man worked his way up from behind the scenes in the music industry and has reinvented himself multiple times. He has had a number of successful appearances in famous movies and TV shows. Apart from investing in music, media, clothing and startups, he’s also made some sweet endorsement deals with big-name brands. This year, Diddy rules the reigns of the Forbes Five, a list of the wealthiest hip-hop artists in the world, and with a net worth of $750 million, that comes as no surprise.