Friday, April 19, 2013

Making Cash-More Kings of Hip Hop

Hip Hop is big business and its stars are raking in mega bucks. Forbes just announced its list of the 50 richest rappers, which offers a few surprises. I posted the top ten rappers on the list in a post on The Emerald Quill blog, but I know some of your favorite rappers didn't get top billing. I thought we might explore those who fell in spots number 11 through 20 and catch a few well know hip hop favorites. Let's take a look see:

No. 11     $120 million-Ice Cube aka O'Shea Jackson

Ice Cube has transitioned himself from one of the originators of the West Coast gangsta rap to one of the most powerful people in Hollywood today. His 1992 release, The Predator, was recorded during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and became the first album in history to debut at the top of both the pop and R&B charts. It remains his most popular album. Ice Cube made his acting debut in John Singleton's Boyz in the Hood, and has since appeared films such as Three Kings, Higher Learning, and XXX: State of the Union. Beginning in 1995, he has also written, directed, and produced numerous films, including Friday and its two sequels, Barbershop and its sequel, and Are We There Yet and its sequel.

No. 12     $110 million- Usher aka Usher Raymond IV

Recording artist and actor Usher has a net worth of $110 million. Starting when he was only sixteen years of age, Usher has released six studio albums, his last three albums having consecutively debuted at the number one position on the US Billboard 200 chart. Five of his albums have been certified platinum by the RIAA. Among his awards are four American Music Awards, five Grammy Awards, and nineteen Billboard Awards. As an actor Usher has made appearances in many notable titles including Moesha, The Faculty, She's All That and In the Mix. Usher's side projects include US Records, which he established, co-ownership of professional basketball team the Cleveland Cavaliers, and founding New Look, a non-profit organization.

No. 13     $110-Lil Wayne aka Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.

Wayne started his career at only 15-years-old with Cash Money Records rap group Hot Boys and soon debuted his solo album The Block is Hot, which went double platinum and reached #3 on the Billboard charts. In 2005 he became the president of Cash Money Records and founded Young Money Entertainment, an imprint of Cash Money. Wayne has collaborated dozens of musicians. Some call him the best rapper to ever live while others say he's self-destructive. Whatever, money keeps coming his way.

No. 14     $100 million-Ronald "Slim" Williams

Ronald "Slim" Williams is businessman, producer and entrepreneur who co-founded the record label Cash Money Records along with his younger brother Bryan "Birdman" Williams. The label, which launched in 1990, is the home of a number of successful rap artists, including Lil Wayne, Bow Wow, and Young Buck. Williams recently spent $7.15 million to purchase the largest house in South Florida. The most interesting part of the transaction? He paid for the whole thing in cash. No mortgage, no banks involved. Straight cash. Or should we say, cash money.

No. 15     $100 million-Kanye West

Recording artist, record producer, film director and fashion designer from Chicago, Illinois, West
has won more than 40 significant awards, among them fourteen Grammys, seven BET awards, and two American Music Awards. West is also a seasoned businessman with a chain of Fatburger restaurants designated for the Chicago area, a line of athletic shoes for Nike called Air Yeezy, and another shoe line with Louis Vuitton. His production credits include an impressive role call of talent including: Jay-Z, Beyoncé, John Legend, Alicia Keys and Janet Jackson.

No. 16     $85 million-LL Cool J aka James Todd Smith

At the age of sixteen, Cool J released his first record under his new stage name L L Cool J which meant Ladies Love Cool James. The rap industry and America also loved Cool J because his single "I need a beat" sold over 100,000 copies.   Beyond achieving financial success in the recording industry, Cool J was also critical success, making rap friendlier to the average listener.
Recently LL Cool J focuses more of his acting career. He has appeared in the films Halloween: H20, Deep Blue Sea, and The last Holiday just to name a few. He can currently be seen on the hit television program NCIS: Los Angeles opposite Chris O' Donnell.

No. 17     $80 million-Timbaland aka Timothy Zachary Mosley

Timbaland began his life in show business as a teenaged disc jockey at a local station in Atlanta. He remained in that career until he was able to move on to the career he really coveted – record producer. That opportunity came in 1996 when he produced the album Ginuine, The Bachelor. Floodgates opened for Timbaland after that initial success and he has been a prolific record producer since that time. In fact, in his career to date, Timbaland has received 13 Grammy Award nominations and has won twice. He has received and won 4 MTV Music Award and he has also received 7 Teen Choice Award nominations.

No. 18     $80 million- Pharrell Williams

A Grammy Award winning musician/entrepreneur, Pharrell Williams is a creative force, using music, fashion, and design to express his distinctive style. He is a rapper, record producer, and fashion designer. Williams and Chad Hugo make up the record production duo The Neptunes, producing hip hop and R&B music. As part of The Neptunes, Williams has produced numerous hit singles for various musicians. The two have earned three Grammy Awards amongst ten nominations. He is also the co-founder of the clothing brands Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream Clothing. He is a member of the supergroup V.A. Playaz. In July 2010, Williams composed the soundtrack to the movie Despicable Me .
No. 19     $80 million-Akon
Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam, professionally known as simply Akon, is a Senegalese American R&B and hip hop recording artist, songwriter, record producer and businessman. After signing with Universal, Akon released his debut album, Trouble, in 2004. Akon co-founded the record label Konvict Muzik on which he released his second and third albums, Konvicted and Freedom, respectively. He has collaborated with other successful artists such as Lady GaGa, Whitney Houston, and Gwen Stefani, among many others, bringing his contributing efforts as a guest artist to a staggering total of over 300 appearances. Akon has expanded his creativity in the field of film and television, with both a reality show and a movie in the works. He launched his own urban clothing line, Konvict Clothing, in early 2007. Akon has achieved Artist of the Year for the 2007 Billboard Music Awards and has won an American Music Award.

No. 20     $75 million Mike D aka Michael Diamond

Michael Diamond raps, sings, and plays drums, building his net worth as founding member of hip-hop group the Beastie Boys. He was born in New York City, New York, and he first performed in the band The Young Aborigines. Formed in 1979, the Beastie Boys changed their style from punk to hip-hop in 1983. In 1992, Mike D founded the Beastie Boys' now-defunct record label Grand Royal Records. He is also interested in interior decoration, and designed Brooklyn-themed toile wallpaper; it was used in the renovation of the Marquee nightclub in Chelsea, which reopened in January 2013.

Sources: Forbes, CelebrityNetWorth, The Emerald Quill Blog

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