THREE RICHEST MEN IN HIP-HOP FOR 2007:

JAY-Z (HALF A BILLIONAIRE)

*Annually, our staff does research to compile information for the "Richest People In Hip-Hop List."  This year, there wasn't a significant change in income from last year's list with the exception of the top three. Therefore, we present to you, "The Three Richest Men In Hip-Hop for 2007."

With a power move that would make Bill Gates blush, rap mogul Jay-Z has returned to the number one spot for 2007 after losing the number one spot to P. Diddy in 2006. 

Jay-Z reclaimed his spot with the sale of Roc-A-Wear to the "Iconix Brand Group," in March of 2007 which netted him $204 million, before taxes. Jay-Z will retain his stake in the company and will continue to oversee the marketing, licensing and product development.  Jigga will also receive an additional $35 million dollars in "Iconix" stock if the Roc-A-Wear brand meets certain performance requirements over the next 3-5 years.

Jay-Z also co-owns The 40/40 Club, an upscale sports bar that started in New York City and has since expanded to Atlantic City, NJ. Future plans will see 40/40 Clubs in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Singapore.  Roc-A-Fella also distributes Armadale, a Scottish vodka, in the U.S.  He is also the president of Def Jam Records in New York.

On October 16, 2006, Jay-Z's commercial spot with Anheuser-Busch aired, featuring his single "Show Me What You Got." Jay-Z will serve as co-brand director for Budweiser Select while collaborating with the company on strategic marketing programs and creative ad development. He will be providing direction on brand programs and ads that appear on TV, radio, print, and high-profile events.

Jay-Z is a part-owner of the New Jersey Nets NBA team paying a reported $4.5 Million.  Jay-Z is also interested in relocating the team to Brooklyn.

In October 2005, he was reported in English media as considering buying a stake of Arsenal F.C., an English football team. However, at this point, this is still speculation.

FINANCIAL BREAKDOWN:

Jay-Z's wealth for 2007 is based on the following: The Rocawear sale (after corporate lawyer fees and taxes applied) is in the $150-$160 million range, his Def Jam salary ($3 million) his endorsement deals ($9 million) his publishing rights ($10 million annually) his annual income from his 40/40 clubs is ($5 million), his income from Armadelle Vodka nets him $13 million yearly, his royalties from "Kingdom Come,' netted him $2 million due to a high royalty rate (despite sluggish sales due to downloading ) and his consultant salary with Anheuser-Busch along with his NBA investment nets him a combined total of $5 million-and his $340 million carried over from 2006 brings the grand total to staggering: $547 million dollars. Highest dollar amount (Rocawear) calculated for overall total.

Sean "Diddy" Combs presides over a media empire that includes the record label Bad Boy Records, the clothing lines Sean John and Sean by Sean Combs, a movie production company, and two restaurants. He has taken the roles of recording executive, performer, producer of MTV's "Making the Band," writer, arranger, clothing designer, and Broadway actor and he has made a fortune in the process.

Last year (2006), Combs estimated wealth was $346 million dollars.  Since then, he's earned $1 million per month through his various business ventures for the last 12 months.  Putting his wealth for 2007 at: $358 million dollars.

Russell Simmons (born October 4, 1957 in Queens, New York), is an American entrepreneur, the co-founder, with Rick Rubin, of the pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam, founder of another label, Russell Simmons Music Group, and creator of the clothing fashion line Phat Farm.

Since May 2005 he's been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post.

Russell Simmons is the third richest Hip-Hop entertainer, having a net-worth estimate of $340 Million for 2007.

HONORABLE MENTION:

*Since it was recently revealed that 50 Cent actually made $100 million and "NOT" $400 million dollars off his widely reported vitamin water deal, he moves to our honorable mention category and Russell Simmons moves into third place.

Just last week it was reported, 50 Cent, who has 10% ownership "glaceau," is expected to make $100 million (before taxes) after Coca Cola purchased glacéau for $4.1 billion.

In November 2003, before releasing "Beg for Mercy," with G-Unit, 50 Cent signed a deal with Reebok to release his G-Unit Sneakers brand. He also started The G-Unit Clothing Company. A video game, in which he provides the voice-over as the protagonist, 50 Cent: Bulletproof was released for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and the PlayStation Portable. 50 Cent has worked with glacéau to create and market low-calorie, natural drinks called Formula 50. He also launched a condom line and plans to donate a part of the proceeds to HIV awareness. 50 also receives $3-5 million per film.

50 created a empire within seven years and reached the $100 million dollar mark within five years of success. He is one savvy businessman, no wonder Mary J. Blige and her husband Kendu asked him for tips regarding financial investments. 50 may not win all of the awards but he has the second biggest bank account in the rap game.

As we stated once before, 50 is the only rapper to perform for overseas royalty at a rate of $500,000 per show.

What a difference a year makes, last year, 50 was worth $100 million. The Coca-Cola deal more than tripled his income for 2007.

With his Coca Cola deal, numerous merchandise deals, ring tone deals, along with his film salary (3 films) and investments. 50 is now worth $200 million, after taxes.

50 will pocket additional income when his 52-room mansion in Connecticut (on the market) for an undisclosed price is purchased, it's rumored that the asking price is $10 million.

Pharrell Williams: Hip-Hop producer and rapper has sound investments in his merchandise imprint, "Billionaire Boys Club."  Williams has also launched a street skate boarding team called, "Ice Cream Skate Team."  Williams also drives a $1 million dollar Enzo Ferrari (only 39 exist in the world) as well as a convertible Rolls Royce and within the next 2-3 years, if his production success continues, he should reach the $200 million dollar milestone in personal wealth.

Nelly has a stake in the Charlotte Bobcats basketball team, he also has an investment in a NASCAR race team, his "Apple Bottoms," brand is a success as well as his "Pimp Juice," beverage. Within the next 18-24 months, Nelly will be the next rapper to hit the $100 million dollar milestone if his success continues at the current pace.

Jermaine Dupri is a successful hip hop producer and a executive for Island Def Jam.  Meanwhile, Dupri also expanded his business ventures, buying into Chicago-based distillery "3 Vodka," and opening his own boutique restaurant, "Cafe Dupri."  Dupri will eventually hit the $100 million dollar mark if his success continues.

Ludacris has his own label as well as a clothing line called CP Time and he is a successful actor with numerous roles lined up.  All of his albums have gone platinum or multi-platinum and he currently resides in a beautiful mansion.  If his success continues, he will eventually make our top ten list.

In 2005, T.I. launched his own film production company called "Grand Hustle Films," signed a multi-artist joint venture deal for his label with Atlantic Records, and established a music publishing deal for "Grand Hustle Music," with "Warner Chappell."  T.I. also owns a popular detail shop in Atlanta and he has an investment in a nightclub.  Like Ludacris, if his success continues, he will eventually make our top ten list.

Our homeboy E-40 is also a shrewd businessman: In addition to record sales E-40 has ventured into other business opportunities. Along with former NFL player Chester McGlockton, E-40 has opened a Fatburger franchise in Pleasant Hill, California. E-40 recently authored the book, E-40's Book of Slang to be published by Warner Books. He also has his own line of liquor called "Cloud 9," and he opened the now-defunct Ambassador's Lounge, a nightclub in Downtown San Jose.  E-40 also owns a home in the super exclusive "Blackhawk" community in Northern, California.  The cheapest home in this community is priced at $5 million dollars.

BONUS FEATURE (FAVORITE PLAYGROUNDS OF THE HIP-HOP ELITE)

What do Jay and Bey, and Diddy and Kim have in common.  One of their favorite vacation spots is Dubai and both couples reside at the 7-star hotel "Burj-Al-Arab," in Dubai, above (outdoor and indoor).  This hotel is the only 7-star hotel in the world and cost $28,000 per night to stay in.  As we reported before, this hotel is also home to the world's only underwater restaurant, "Al Mahara," which is accessed by a submarine voyage.

FIRST EVER UNDERWATER RESORT:

Location: Fiji, The Poseidon Mystery Island
Status: Under construction, will be completed by September 2008
Estimated project cost: $105 million
Cost per person: $15,000 per week

The world’s first underwater resort will be ready by the end of next year with breathtaking coral reefs where you can literally immerse yourself.  “The first 1,000 guests will have their names permanently inscribed on two monuments on the island, and one on the floor of the lagoon.”  Expect to see Jay and Bey in attendance along with Diddy and Kim.

Richest In Hip-Hop 2005    Richest In Hip-Hop 2006

*Added Bonus:

"BLACK BILLIONAIRE LIFESTYLE" (RICHEST BLACK ACTORS IN HOLLYWOOD)

$100 Million+ Club:

1. Will Smith is an actor, film producer and rapper with a net worth estimated of $188 million.

He and his wife Jada just launched a production company with Jay-Z and Beyonce.

The majority of Will's films gross $100 million dollars and he's the king of the summer box office. Even the "Karate Kid," produced through his production company (starring his son-Jaden) grossed $100+ million internationally.

Will and Jada currently reside on a sprawling estate outside of Los Angeles.

2. Denzel Washington is considered one of the greatest actors of this generation and he's well respected in the industry. His current net worth: $120 million dollars.

Denzel earns $20 million per film (which can include backend points). He also makes a fortune in real estate and business investments.

He owns a mansion, yacht, Ferrari and Rolls Royce.

3. At one time, Eddie Murphy was the most powerful actor (black or white) in Hollywood. He earns between $12-$20 million per film and he has a slew of hit movies to his credit. Reportedly, Eddie has an impressive stock portfolio. His worth is estimated at: $100 million dollars.

$50-$90 Million Club:

1. Many people consider Morgan Freeman the greatest actor of all-time. Not only is he a perfectionist but he's also dignified. On two occasions, two co-stars (initially) declined roles written for them, when Freeman became attached to the project, they signed on the dotted line.

Matt Damon idolizes Morgan Freeman. He said, his greatest birthday gift was-when Ben Affleck arranged a surprise lunch date with Morgan Freeman.

Morgan's Freeman's current wealth is estimated at $90 million dollars.

2. Samuel L. Jackson has appeared in more films than any other actor over the past decade. He is the definition of a working actor and he's versatile. Jackson should have won an Oscar for his debut role in "Jungle Fever."

Samuel L. Jackson's current net worth is $80 million dollars.

3. Laurence Fishburne has succeeded on Broadway, film and television. Initially, the "Matrix," producers wanted to hire Will Smith, he turned them down and Fishburne stepped in.

His representative negotiated a blockbuster deal where Fishburne received a percentage of the box office receipts (along with his acting fee) from the second Matrix film.

Fishburne currently earns (nearly) $300,000 per episode on the CSI series.

Laurence Fishburne's current net worth is $50 million dollars.

$15 Million-$35 Million Club:

1. Terrence Howard is a good actor and many women consider him a pretty boy. He's known as an mercurial type throughout the industry and he's very intense about his work. Taraji Henson is a close friend, they have a sister and brother relationship.

Terrence currently appears on "Law & Order: LA," and he's scheduled to appear in several films in 2011.

Terrence Howard is currently worth $35 million dollars.

2. Don Cheadle is one of the best (underrated) actors in the industry. He is superb in every film, whether he's a leading man or character actor. He's serious about his craft.

Don Cheadle's net worth is $30 million dollars.

3. Idris Elba is not only tall, dark and handsome, he's extremely sexy and he's a good actor to boot.

He's constantly working and he's signed up for five movies this year.

Idris Elba is worth $15 million dollars.

 

 

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