Jay-Z is richest hip-hop artist


LOS ANGELES • Jay-Z can pop the champagne to celebrate.

On Thursday, the bubbly pay-off from investments in cognac and champagne helped him rise above Sean "Diddy" Combs to rank as the world's wealthiest hip-hop artist, according to data released by Forbes magazine.

The 48-year-old Hard Knock Life rapper and music mogul increased his estimated net worth last year by US$90 million (S$120 million), from the year before, to US$900 million.

Combs, 48, who had been hip-hop's wealthiest artist since Forbes first released the list in 2011, grew his estimated US$825-million fortune by a tepid US$5 million.

The primary driver of Jay-Z's wealth came from investments in luxury champagne brand Armand de Brignac and D'Usse cognac, while lukewarm trends in the vodka and cable television sectors weighed on Combs' investments in Diageo's Ciroc vodka and the television network Revolt, Forbes said.

Jay-Z's tenure at the top spot may be short-lived. Hip-hop's third-wealthiest figure, Dr Dre, is expected to add a nine-figure windfall of Apple stock to his estimated US$770-million wealth this summer, Forbes noted. Apple acquired his headphone and audio speaker company Beats in 2014.

Forbes compiled the list by valuing major assets, examining financial documents and consulting analysts, attorneys, managers and other industry players.

Drake and Eminem rounded out the top five, tied with an estimated US$100-million fortune each.

This amount is still less than what Jay-Z's wife Beyonce earned last year - when she was rated the highest-paid woman in music with a US$105-million salary.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2018, with the headline 'Jay-Z is richest hip-hop artist'. Subscribe