Jay-Z Tops Forbes List of Highest-Paid Rappers; Soulja Boy Snubbed Again

Jay-Z performs onstage during the Meadows Music And Arts Festival - Day 1 at Citi Field on September 15, 2017 in New York City
Jay-Z performs onstage during the Meadows Music And Arts Festival - Day 1 at Citi Field on September 15, 2017 in New York City
Photo: Nicholas Hunt (Getty Images)

Despite ignoring The Root’s calls to become our employer, the hip-hop artist responsible for killing the spiders and taking out the trash at the Knowles-Carter compound managed to make enough money last year to purchase the 64 box of Crayons with the sharpener included for Sir and Rumi and also managed to top the list of rap’s highest earners.


Forbes announced its list of the highest-paid hip-hop acts of 2018. Despite Bhad Bhabie and Iggy Azalea’s conspicuous absences, the list is filled with many of the hip-hop artists you’d expect to see and a few surprising names. Instead just mentioning the notable names, here is the list.

20. Swizz Beatz, $15 million (tie): Even though Swizz Beatz’s beats always sound like a car alarm going off to a drum machine, he comes in at No. 20. Forbes says his money comes from a new multimillion-dollar deal with Bacardi.

20. Russ, $15 million (tie): I don’t even know who this is, but Forbes claims his 2017 debut, There’s Really a Wolf, went platinum. Hold on while I Google him and check out his music.

Nah, I’m good.

20. Meek Mill, $15 million (tie): Meek spent a lot of time in prison, which probably prevented him from spending some of his money. Plus, he has a deal with Puma, Forbes reports. Maybe that’s where his money comes from.

Or maybe he made a mint selling cigarettes in jail.

19. Logic, $17 million: This rapper has been around since I was in college. I even took a course on him called “Introduction to Logic,” which was basically a class on breaking down arguments using the same concepts of proofs in geometry. The book was very expensive but they told me it would help if I decided to go to law school and...


Wait ... It’s not that Logic?

Never mind.

18. Lil Wayne, $19 million: Weezy F. Baby reached a multimillion dollar buyout deal with Cash Money Records but I’m still waiting on The Carter V to drop.


17. Lil Uzi Vert, $19.5 million: I don’t believe in conspiracy theories but if you want to know who helped him reach the top of the charts, say “Lil Uzi Vert” really fast.

16. Birdman, $20 million: I didn’t know Birdman even rapped. Plus, I hated the movie about him starring Michael Keaton. But you have to give it to him for managing to marry the world’s only mumble singer, Toni Braxton.


I guess we have to put some Respek on his name.

15. Travis Scott, $21 million: I have heard his music, but I think most people buy his records because we all went to high school with a guy named Travis Scott.


14. Chance the Rapper, $21.5 million: I love Chance the Rapper’s music and community work even though his songs remind me of holy ghost shouting music for a COGIC choir composed of Muppets and Smurfs. He isn’t even signed to a label but his records pulled in a lot more money last year than Chance the Triangle Player and Chance the Guy At The Convenience Store Who Swears His Mixtape is Fire.

13. Eminem, $23 million: Eminem makes music for white guys who hate their moms’ boyfriends. He makes music for people who wear wallet chains to the prom. He makes music for people who write manifestos. He writes music for people who buy vape pens with skulls on them.


12. Migos, $24.5 million: I bet Cardi B is tired of these dudes sitting around the house playing Madden all the time. And what is the singular form of Migos? Is Offset a Migot? A Mig? Megro?

These Miggas are rich, though

11. DJ Khaled, $27 million: I’m sure most of his money comes from his collaborations but I think he should try to pen an endorsement deal with Sucrets because I know his throat gets sore a lot. Why is he always hollering? Khaled also made the news this year because he said he doesn’t perform oral sex.


Good luck with that.

10. Kanye West, $27.5 million: Most of Kanye’s money came from his endorsement deals with Donald Trump’s campaign store and Adidas. I guess people are really out there buying Yeezy prison flip flops.


I wonder if Ye’s going to donate a pair to Donald Trump when he goes to prison?

9. Future, $30 million: Ninth-ranked Future has a deal with Reebok and StubHub, according to Forbes. According to child-support enforcement, he also inked a deal with Ciara.


8. Pitbull, $32 million: Although I have never heard anyone ask: “Did you hear the new Pitbull song?” I am told he is big overseas. I hear him a lot in clothing stores that sell skinny jeans but I think the most reason people play Pitbull’s mixture of EDM and Soca music on meth is because everyone assumes someone must like Pitbull.

Basically, he’s the LaCroix of hip-hop.

6. Nas, $35 million (tie): God’s Son has quietly built a venture capitalist empire, including an investment in Ring, which was purchased for $1.1 billion by Amazon. He also has an endorsement deal with Hennessy but I’m sure he’s losing money on that because everyone is always asking him for a free bottle of Hennessy.


Oh, yeah, he’s pretty good at that rapping thing, too.

6. Dr. Dre, $35 million (tie): Dre doesn’t just make his millions from Beats by Dre or composing beats, by Dre. He is also a film producer and made a deal with Apple Music for his music catalog.


I must admit that I have never paid more than $40 for a pair of headphones because I think people are being conned about the sound quality and I refuse to be beat, by Dre.

5. J. Cole, $35.5 million: J. Cole released an album that had 2 billion spins over the past 12 months. I have no idea whether or not that is impressive, but it sounds like a lot. His recent tour also made seven figures per stop, according to Forbes.


He also saved a lot by not buying combs.

4. Drake, $47 million: Drake’s music is like drinking room-temperature water out of a public bathroom faucet. Technically it’s as good as the other stuff, but it’s not my preference.


Notice Pusha T didn’t make the list.

3. Kendrick Lamar, $58 million: Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer this year and came in at No. 3. He also has deals with Nike, American Express and Braidz 4 U Beauty Salon in West Compton


2. Diddy, $64 million: Ciroc vodka, DeLeon tequila and Aquahydrate alkaline water are just some of the companies partially owned by Diddy. I don’t think Diddy even qualifies to be on this list because he isn’t even selling music anymore. He’s just making shit for people to drink. I think he’s going to be the first rapper with his own flavor of Kool-Aid.

The only question is, will it be called: “Bad Boysenberry,” “Plum Diddy Plum” or “Cantaloupe Stop Won’t Stop?”


1. Jay-Z, $76.5 million: Bruh, stop playing around and buy The Root! Don’t act like you and Beyoncé ain’t got it! I’m very serious about this. For the price of two or three front row seats at OTRII you could own a whole website! Or tell Blue Ivy to save a couple weeks of her allowance and holla at us.

And if you see Nas, tell him Mike said: “What’s up with that bottle of Henny?”

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.



But you have to give it to him for managing to marry the world’s only mumble singer, Toni Braxton.