Jay-Z is cash king of hip-hop

Jay-Z. Bang ShowBiz

JAY-Z is the highest-earning man in hip-hop.

The '99 Problems' rapper - who is married to singer-and-actress Beyonce Knowles - has topped Forbes list of hip-hop 'Cash Kings' for the third year out of four after he raked in $63 million in the last 12 months, thanks to his 'Blueprint 3' world tour and other ventures including his record label, fashion line, and stakes in the New York Nets basketball team, Broadway music 'Fela!' and a chain of sports bars.

Ryan Schinman, chief of Platinum Rye, America's largest buyer of music and talent for big corporations, said: "Jay-Z is in a league of his own right now. There are very few artists of any genre, not just hip-hop, who've created such brands for themselves."

Music mogul P. Diddy came in second in the list, although grossed less than half of the money earned by Jay-Z at $30 million.

Senegalese artist Akon - who has recently worked with Whitney Houston and David Guetta - was third in the list, earning $21 million, partly from revenue generated by his Konvict clothing range.

Lil Wayne, who is currently serving jail time for weapons charges, made $20 million, while rapper-turned-actor Ludacris took $16 million, just behind Dr. Dre on $17 million.

Troy Marshall, vice president of promotions at Interscope Records, added: "There's a lot of cross-branding and cross-marketing that's going on these days. Those are very important components for artists as far as spreading the message of their music and spreading the message of their brand."

Other artists making the top 10 include Snoop Dogg, Pharrell Williams and Kanye West.

50 Cent - the only other person to have topped the list in the last four years, making £150 million in 2008 - saw his position slump to 14, after making a relatively-low £8 million in the last 12 months.

Top 10 Forbes list of highest earning hip-hop stars

1. Jay-Z: $63 million

2. P. Diddy: $30 million

3. Akon, $21 million

4. Lil Wayne, $20 million

5. Dr. Dre, $17 million

6. Ludacris, $16 million

7. Snoop Dogg, $15 million

8. Timbaland, $14 million

9. Pharrell Williams, $13 million

10. Kanye West, $12 million

11. Drake, $10 million

=12. T.I., $9 million

=12. Swizz Beatz, $9 million

=14. Eminem, $8 million

=14. 50 Cent, $8 million

=14 Young Jeezy, $8 million

17. Common, $7 million

=18. Soulja Boy, $6 million

=18. T-Pain, $6 million

20. Lil Jon, $5 million

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