Sean “Diddy” Combs
Sean “Diddy” Combs ranks No. 1 on this year’s Forbes Five, the magazine’s list of hip-hop’s wealthiest artists, with an estimated net worth of $580 million.
The bulk of the Bad Boy Records founder’s wealth comes from non-musical ventures, namely his deal with Diageo’s Ciroc. The agreement entitles him to eight-figure annual payouts and a nine-figure windfall if the brand is ever sold—and Ciroc’s value has never been higher.
“It is one of the fastest-growing brands within vodka,” says Jack Russo, an equity analyst at Edward Jones & Co. “Consumers are feeling a little bit better about their situation, and with that, they’re willing to spend more on premium products.”
The No. 2 spot goes to Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, with a net worth of $475 million. He’s still rolling in cash from megadeals like his $204 million Rocawear sale in 2007 and his $150 million pact with Live Nation the following year. He continues to hold stakes in Roc Nation, Carol’s Daughter, the Brooklyn Nets—and, more significantly, the Barclays Center itself—while adding new partnerships with the likes of Duracell, Budweiser and Bacardi’s D’ussé Cognac.
Andre “Dr. Dre” Young ranks third with $350 million, thanks mostly to his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. A year after selling 51% of the company to handset maker HTC for $300 million in August 2011, Dre and his partners bought back half of the half they sold in 2012—and their investment continues to soar in value due to Beats’ whopping 65% market share of the premium ($99 and up) headphone market.
Bryan “Birdman” Williams owns the No. 4 spot, riding his Cash Money/Young Money empire to a fortune of $150 million. His roster includes Drake, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne (the latter crossed the $100 million threshold for the first time this year, by our estimates, but remains just outside the top five). Birdman also recently launched a YMCMB clothing line and a spirit called GT Vodka.
Rounding out the list is Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson at $125 million. He’s another master of brand building: The bulk of his fortune came from heavy sales of his music, merchandise, video games and books in the wake of his smash debut Get Rich or Die Tryin’—and particularly from his payout for the sale of his stake in VitaminWater parent Glacéau to Coca-Cola in 2007.
Now he’s trying to replicate that feat with companies like SMS Audio, his answer to Dr. Dre’s Beats, and SK Energy, which has its sights set on category leader 5-Hour Energy.
According to a lawsuit filed by a producer who claims he was deprived of credit for his work on Frank Ocean‘s hit single, “Lost,” Frank Ocean is a thief.
Micah Otano writes in court docs obtained by E! News that he co-created the song upon which Lost is based(a track called “DayLight” with producers Malay and Paul Shelton) and also “solely performed the lead synthesizer parts on ‘Daylight’ as well as piano and other parts.” He says Ocean gave him no credit for this.
The single is one of the hits featured on Ocean’s Grammy-winning album channel ORANGE.
Women’s rights activists are calling on Reebok to drop Rick Ross as a spokesman after he appeared to boast about using a date rape drug with a woman in “U.O.E.N.O. (You Ain’t Even Know It).”
Featuring in the single from Rocko, Ross is under fire for the controversial line: “Put molly (slang for pure ecstasy) all in her champagne/ She ain’t even know it/ I took her home and I enjoyed that/ She ain’t even know it.”
The rhyme has already prompted protesters to sign a petition on Change.org in a bid to force Ross to issue a public apology for seemingly glorifying violence against women, but he spoke out against the criticism on Thursday, insisting the uproar was all over “a misunderstanding” because he would never condone rape.
However, Ross failed to apologize, and members of anti-sexism group UltraViolet are now urging Reebok to take a stand and cancel his contract as a celebrity representative.
Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet, says, “We are appalled that Reebok would pay a spokesperson who brags about enjoying drugging and raping a woman.
“Reebok devotes a lot of time, energy and money to marketing to women – and now they are paying a man who is literally bragging about raping us while absurdly insisting it can’t possibly be rape if he doesn’t use the word ‘rape’. Reebok is apparently okay promoting rape culture, but when one out of five women are the victim of an attempted or completed rape, that has consequences.”
The petition has already garnered more than 51,000 signatures within hours of launching online and UltraViolet demonstrators are planning to stage a protest outside Reebok’s headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts next week if the company doesn’t respond to their campaign.