Four years ago Jay-Z issued a lyrical taunt to his fellow rappers: “What you call money, I pay more in taxes.” Turns out his line was more than just a boast.
Jay-Z pulled in $63 million over the past 12 months, earning him his second straight hip-hop cash crown. His income level places him in the 35% tax bracket, which means he’ll pay Uncle Sam about $22 million this year–a sum greater than the total earnings of any other rap star besides second-ranked Diddy.
The top 20 earners on this year’s Cash Kings list racked up about $300 million in earnings, an average of $15 million per artist. Remarkably, the total is roughly the same as last year, despite a troubled economy and a music industry thrown into flux by new technology.
1.Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter: $63 Million
2.Sean “Diddy” Combs: $30 million
3.Aliuane “Akon” Thiam: $21 million
4.Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter: $20 million
5.Andre “Dr. Dre” Young: $17 million
6.Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges: $16 million
7.Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus: $15 million
8.Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley: $14 million
9.Pharrell Williams: $13 million
10.Kanye West: $12 million