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Jay-Z, whose empire spans music, fashion, and other businesses, took the top spot on Forbes' "Hip-Hop Cash Kings" list.
Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, earned $34 million in 2006, the year he released "Kingdom Come." But it wasn't music alone that earned him that cash; much of his income came from being CEO of Def Jam Recordings, owning a sports bar franchise, and holding endorsement deals with Budweiser and General Motors, among others.
He also sold Rocawear, his fashion label, for $204 million, securing his place among the top moneymakers in the rap industry for next year.
Number two was 50 Cent, who earned $32 million from his music, record label, video games, and line of books. Diddy came in third, followed by producer Timbaland and Dr. Dre.
Rap music has been a particularly strong genre in the music industry, which has largely suffered losses in recent years. Forbes associate editor Lea Goldman pointed out the reason for this success, saying, "They get that it's not just about selling albums, but about selling a lifestyle,... So they've plowed their earnings into media empires that include their own record labels, clothing lines, restaurants and bars."