Jay-Z has lost out on being the world’s highest paid hip-hop artist to his friend and former mentee, Kanye West.
Earning an impressive $81 million in the past year, Jay-Z earned $4.5 million more than he did last year, when he took the top spot comfortably by some way.
However, that wasn’t enough to reward him once more with the title, with Kanye swooping in to take the crown with total earnings of $150 million and leaving Jay-Z in (a still very impressive) second place.
In the 2019 edition of Forbes‘ highest-paid acts in hip-hop, the reasons for Kanye’s rise to the top are laid bare – primarily that his signature footwear collaboration with Adidas, Yeezy, is expected to top $1.5 billion in sales this year.
Such impressive sales has boosted the rapper’s pretax income significantly, making him the highest paid hip-hop artist for the first time ever. Another first for Kanye was his overtaking of Jay-Z, whose earnings were helped by his On The Run II tour with wife Beyoncé.
Last year, Kanye sat at number 10 on the list with $27.5 million – less than five times his total earnings this year – and his income only looks set to rise as his partnership with Adidas grows in success.
Drake – the most-streamed artist of any genre – has taken the number three spot behind Jay-Z, bringing in an impressive $75 million.
The top ten consists entirely of male hip-hop artists, with Diddy coming in at number four with $70 million, Travis Scott coming fifth with $58 million, and Eminem taking sixth place with $50 million.
DJ Khaled ($40 million), Kendrick Lamar ($38.5 million), Migos ($36 million), and Childish Gambino ($35 million) round out the rest of the list.
Only two female artists made the list; Cardi B, one of two newcomers and the youngest to make the list, came in at number 13 with earnings of $28 million, and Nicki Minaj came twelfth with $29 million. As per Forbes, this is just ‘the latest example of a pay gap that has long plagued hip-hop’.
In total, the top 20 acts made a combined $860 million, up 33 per cent from $648 million last year. The lowest entry was $18 million, the highest it’s ever been.
Several artists were absent following their inclusion in the top 20 last year, including Lil Wayne, Dr. Dre, Chance the Rapper, Logic, Russ, and Lil Uzi Vert.
Welp, anyone fancy loaning me a spare million?
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).