Money talks

Basing their estimates on the 2006 incomes of hip-hop’s power players, Forbes estimates that Jiggaman brought in an estimated $34 million to land him at the top spot.

The website cites Jay’s much-heralded 2006 comeback album, Kingdom Come, which sold 2 million copies, his 40/40 Sports Bar franchise and the small stake in the NBA’s New Jersey Nets as some of the ways the Brooklyn-bred MC generated income last year. Jay also padded his pockets with money earned from endorsement deals with Budweiser, Hewlett-Packard and General Motors.

Coming in at the second spot is 50 Cent, who earned an estimated $32 million thanks to revenue generated by his G-Unit empire. “I’m creating a foundation that will be around for a long time, because fame can come and go or get lost in the lifestyle and the splurging,” 50 told Forbes last year. “I never got into it for the music. I got into it for the business.”
It is precisely that mindset that sets hip-hop’s movers and shakers apart from acts in other genres of music, Forbes says. While pop, rock and country artists generally earn the bulk of their income via album sales and touring, hip-hop artists tend to build vast entertainment empires that include everything from clothing lines to record labels to video games.

Though Sean “Diddy” Combs is considered by some as one of hip-hop’s original moguls, his estimated earnings for 2006 landed him in No. 3 position. Diddy brought in an estimated $28 million thanks to his Bad Boy Worldwide Franchise, which includes the Sean John Clothing Line, the Bad Boy Record label, his two Justin restaurants and his best-selling cologne, Unforgivable.
The list also includes Eminem ($18 million), Dr. Dre ($20 million), Timbaland ($21 million), Scott Storch ($17 million), Pharrell ($17 million) and Snoop ($17 million). Meanwhile, relative newcomers The Game and Chamillionaire both tied at $11 million, thanks to respective endorsement deals with Skechers and Engergizer.


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