Who are the richest rappers in the world?
On this list, you’ll find all manner of personalities – including rappers you knew would be on the list, as well as rappers you didn’t even expect. And you might even notice the absence of certain rappers you think should be on the list.
All we can say is whoever said “riches and fame are fickle mistresses” was right, because nowhere on this list are 50 Cent or MC Hammer, who once controlled more assets, but lost all their money (and in some cases are in the process of regaining it).
This list only features 27 rappers, so we’re not even looking at anyone whose net worth is less than $50 million!
Either way, let’s get on with the list!
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27. Chamillionaire – Net Worth $50 Million 
Chamillionaire, like many modern rappers, started off independent in 2002. He signed to Universal Records in 2005 and released The Sound of Revenge, which surprisingly featured zero profanity. “Turn It Up” became a hit, and “Ridin” became a Grammy-winning monster of a single.
Chamillionaire is also the CEO of Chamillitary Entertainment, an independent record label distributed by Universal. Not too shabby.
26. J. Cole – Net Worth $60 Million 
J. Cole found some success with the release of his debut mixtape, The Come Up. He would go on to release two more mixtapes after signing to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation imprint. His debut studio album, Cole World: The Sideline Story dropped in 2011 and debuted at the top of the U.S. Billboard 200. I guess you could say the rest is history.
Cole has produced for the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Janet Jackson as well. Not a bad side hustle.
26. Ice-T – Net Worth $60 Million 
Ice-T was an underground rapper in the 1980s. He kept paying his dues until he finally signed with Sire Records in 1987 and released his debut album Rhyme Pays, which went on to be certified gold.
Ice-T founded the record label Rhyme $yndicate the following year and released his next album, Power, which went platinum.
Ice-T has made his presence known on the small screen as well.
26. Wiz Khalifa – Net Worth $60 Million 
Wiz Khalifa released his debut album, Show and Prove, in 2006. His single, “Say Yeah”, charted on the Rhythmic Top 40 and Hot Rap Tracks charts in 2008, making it his first minor hit. Mainstream success would continue to elude him until many years later when he released “Black and Yellow”, which made it to number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
Reportedly, Khalifa also gets a healthy cash injection from his YouTube channel, endorsement deals, and merchandise.
23. Nas – Net Worth $70 Million 
Nas got his start in 1991 as a featured artist on Main Source’s “Live at the Barbeque.” He dropped his debut album Illmatic in 1994, which is often ranked as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. Not much more needs to be said as to Nas’ rise to prominence.
Nas also started a record label, owns a FILA sneaker store, and is an associate publisher of Mass Appeal magazine.
22. will.i.am – Net Worth $75 Million 
will.i.am probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. In addition to being a rapper, producer, entrepreneur, TV personality, and actor, he was the founding member of Black Eyed Peas whose greatest hits include “I Gotta Feeling”, “Boom Boom Pow” and “Imma Be.” Will has four studio albums to his name as a solo artist.
22. Kendrick Lamar – Net Worth $75 Million 
Kendrick Lamar once went under the stage moniker K-Dot. He dropped a mixtape that helped him grow a local following and signed with indie label Top Dawg Entertainment. After releasing Overly Dedicated, he launched his first studio album, Section 80, along with his debut single “HillPoWeR.”
His major label debut, however, happened in 2012. His album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City was certified platinum.
20. Timbaland – Net Worth $85 Million 
Timbaland built his career on production work, and before you knew it, he was working with the likes of Lil’ Kim, Justin Timberlake, LL Cool J, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, and many other known and popular artists. He would then go onto form a label, Mosley Music Group, to which Nelly Furtado was signed.
In addition to his solo albums and production credits, Timbaland has had some bit roles on the small screen.
19. Pitbull – Net Worth $90 Million 
In his early years, Pitbull built industry connections and gradually rose through the ranks. With the release of his debut album M.I.A.M.I., however, he cemented his music business presence. The lead single, “Culo”, featuring Lil Jon, reached 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 and on the Hot Rap Tracks chart.
In terms of income sources, Pitbull is well-diversified, gleaning his revenue from music sales, concerts, YouTube, a Vodka line, food chain, and radio channel.
19. Adam Horovitz – Net Worth $90 Million 
Adam Horovitz, better known as Ad-Rock, rose to prominence with the Beastie Boys, with Adam Yauch aka MCA (R.I.P.) leading the way.
The trio was notorious for long breaks between releases, but they built a strong and loyal fan base over time by continually reinventing themselves and creating irresistible merchandise like hoodies, DVDs, and even a book.
19. Michael Diamond – Net Worth $90 Million 
Beastie Boy Mike D is worth a cool $90 million (tied with fellow member Adam Horovitz), and there’s a good chance no one in high school voted him “most likely to succeed.” But knowing the history of the Boys, all we can say is his success is well-deserved.
Why did Mike D and the Beastie Boys ultimately become successful? Because they never gave up. They just kept going, even when the going got rough. Clearly, it was the right move.
16. Nicki Minaj Net Worth – $100 Million 
We want to be honest when we say we’re not sure whether the occupation of rapper offers equal opportunity employment. But Nicki Minaj just goes to show a woman can dominate the field as much as any man.
Minaj is best known for her hits, “Super Bass”, “Starship,” and “Bang Bang.” She initially found success with “Your Love” off her debut album, Pink Friday, which rose to number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. What you may not know, is her first single, “Massive Attack” went off like a lead balloon. If she wasn’t given a second chance, that might have been it for multi-millionaire Minaj.
16. Birdman – Net Worth $100 Million 
Birdman formed Cash Money Records with businessman Ronald “Slim” Williams in the 90s. The label built a bit of a name for itself in the south, with most of their fan base situated out of New Orleans.
Things didn’t always go so well with the label, but it was instrumental in bringing together the Hot Boys (of which Lil Wayne was a part), ultimately resulting in a $30 million deal with Universal Records in 1998.
Birdman would later form the Big Tymers with Mannie Fresh, and from 1998 to 2003, it would have a successful run. His eponymous solo album was released in 2002 and would be certified gold.
14. LL Cool J – Net Worth $120 Million 
While other people were out partying, LL Cool J was working on his craft. There are no words to describe this man except for “driven.”
LL Cool J found mainstream success with his second album, Bigger and Defter. It sold two million copies in the United States alone and spent 11 weeks at the top of the Billboard R&B albums chart.
LL Cool J built most of his fortune on rapping and acting.
13. Snoop Dogg – Net Worth $135 Million 
The ubiquitous Snoop Dogg barely needs an introduction. His debut album, Doggystyle, was a critical and commercial success, in no small part thanks to Dr. Dre.
But Snoop certainly earned his stripes in the years that followed, and he has 17 studio albums to date, never mind his many, many features (apparently totaling nearly 600).
Snoop has made good money as a rapper, but his wealth also comes from endorsement deals and business investments.
12. Lil Wayne – Net Worth $150 Million 
Lil Wayne found his start in Hot Boys with rappers Juvenile, B.G., and Turk. The Boys ultimately had two charting singles. His solo album, Tha Block Is Hot, dropped when he was just 17 and featured some contributions from the Hot Boys. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum.
Lil Wayne has credits as a producer, composer, and director, which has also contributed to his net worth.
12. Swizz Beatz – Net Worth $150 Million 
Swizz Beatz tied with Lil Wayne? You’ve got to be joking…
Well, this is kind of an honorary mention, as $150 million is his combined net worth with wife Alicia Keys. Beatz’ personal net worth is closer to $65 million, but that’s still impressive all on its own, and that means he would have made this list either way.
Beatz began his career as a DJ and has produced many hit singles you would recognize (“Party Up (Up in Here)” by DMX, “Girl’s Best Friend” by Jay-Z, “Ultralight Beam” by Kayne West, and others).
10. Drake – Net Worth $150 Million 
Canadian rapper Drake’s debut album would be delayed for a couple of years. When his debut single “Over” was finally released, it made it to number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. His second single “Find Your Love” made it to number five and was certified Platinum. Good thing his release eventually saw the light of day!
Drake’s income isn’t limited to music, however, and he co-runs October’s Very Own, which is an umbrella company for his clothing line, record label, and radio station. He’s also an ambassador for the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and has a bit of a real estate portfolio to boot.
9. Ice Cube – Net Worth $160 Million 
By now it’s a foregone conclusion, but Ice Cube’s involvement with N.W.A certainly didn’t hurt his chances at success. Things didn’t exactly end well for that group, but Cube would go onto release a series of solo albums between 1990 and 1993 that would solidify him as a presence to reckon with.
His music career certainly paid off, but Cube’s wealth also comes from his acting career, his work as a producer (movies and music) and songwriter.
8. Pharrell Williams – Net Worth $200 Million 
Pharrell Williams was originally part of a hip-hop group called Surrounded by Idiots with Hugo, Timbaland, and Magoo. Sounds like he was in good company!
In the years that followed, Pharrell did a lot of work as a writer and producer and has been doing high-profile work since the early 2000s. But his fame was basically undeniable with his participation in Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”
8. Master P – Net Worth $200 Million 
Master P found mainstream success with his sixth album, Ghetto D, which was certified triple platinum. The breakthrough hit was “Make Em Say Uhh!” His fifth album, Ice Cream Man certainly helped pave the way for the success of Ghetto D. Master P has also worked extensively as an actor.
Interesting bit of trivia – in the late 90s, Master P played in the NBA for the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors.
6. Eminem – Net Worth $230 Million 
White rappers weren’t always accepted. But Eminem is widely credited with breaking down those barriers and he was also successful in popularizing hip hop in Middle America.
In the late 90s, Eminem began to develop his violent alter ego in the form of Slim Shady. He was “discovered” at a nationwide battle rap competition where he placed second. Long story short, his demo got forwarded to Dr. Dre who wanted to begin working with him posthaste.
Amazingly, Eminem made most of his wealth from rapping, though he also makes money from endorsement deals and his work as a producer, director, and writer.
5. Will Smith – Net Worth $350 Million 
As you are surely aware, Will Smith didn’t amass his fortune from rapping and music alone. He rose to prominence with the TV sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the 90s. Subsequently, in his heyday, he would earn as much as $20 to $30 million per movie. He is best known for his appearances in the likes of Men in Black and I Am Legend.
What people often forget, though, is DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince were nominated for multiple American Music and Grammy Awards, and even won a few. Even as a solo artist, Smith’s first album, Big Willie Style, nearly went diamond.
Smith is perfectly respectable as a rapper, even if he sometimes gets flak for “keeping it clean.”
4. Dr. Dre – Net Worth $800 Million 
As with Will Smith, we know that Dr. Dre did not amass his fortune rapping and producing alone.
In 1986, Dr. Dre met Ice Cube, who would collaborate with him on songs for Ruthless Records. The label was owned by Eazy-E. Ruthless Records was responsible for pioneering gangsta rap.
Dre would leave N.W.A at the height of its popularity in 1991 (as noted earlier, the group had its issues). Dre’s debut solo album, The Chronic, however, became a cultural phenomenon and was certified triple platinum.
Although he did okay for himself as a rapper and producer, his big pay day came in the form of Beats Electronics, which was sold to Apple in 2014. As you can imagine, it was a multi-billion dollar transaction.
3. P. Diddy – Net Worth $855 Million 
Sean Combs (aka P. Diddy) is best known for establishing Bad Boy Entertainment and working with the likes of Christopher Wallace (The Notorious B.I.G.). He always had an eye for talent, and that certainly played a part in his success.
In 1997, he would release his first legendary single, “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down”, the hit that took him straight to the top for 28 weeks.
P. Diddy’s wealth also comes from acting, a clothing line, and a lucrative vodka brand.
2. Jay-Z – Net Worth $1 Billion 
Jay-Z is best known for his collaborations and guest appearances with the likes of Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, and many others.
His sources of wealth include his rapping efforts (spanning three decades), his streaming platform TIDAL, as well as entertainment labels, a clothing line, alcohol brands, and an upscale sports club. Basically, he’s diversified like a boss.
1. Kanye West – Net Worth $1.3 Billion 
When you started scanning this list, you probably weren't expecting to see this name at the top. And as with several other rappers mentioned here, Kanye West’s fortune was not built on music alone. But you could say he did alright for someone who had no “street cred.”
West rose to fame in 2000 as he started producing artists on Roc-A-Fella Records. He was also responsible for reinvigorating Jay-Z’s career with The Blueprint.
West ultimately wanted to get a record deal of his own but failed repeatedly until he finally got signed to Capitol Records.
West’s footwear brand, Yeezy, is what pushed him over the edge into becoming a billionaire. His larger than life persona doesn't hurt, either.
Richest Rappers In The World, Final Thoughts
The world of hip-hop is obviously an interconnected one. As you can gather from the story of many a rapper, you begin to see that some would never had achieved success if not for the influential people they met along the way.
Amassing a fortune is a matter of dedicating yourself to your craft and never giving up. You can’t wait for someone to give you permission to pursue your dreams. You must be self-determined.
And a little bit of business sense and diversification never hurt anybody either, as the wealthiest rappers in the world all have secondary (and sometimes more) ventures that added to their net worth.
We hope you enjoyed this list and keep spitting those rhymes!
-  Celebrity Net Worth – Chamillionaire, J. Cole, Ice T, Wiz Khalifa, Nas, Kendrick Lamar, Timbaland, Adam Horovitz, Michael Diamond, Birdman, LL Cool J, Lil Wayne, Swizz Beatz, Ice Cube, Pharrell Williams, Will Smith
-  Wealthy Gorilla – Will.i.am
-  Showbiz Cheat Sheet – Pitbull
-  Film Daily – Snoop Dogg
-  Fresherslive – Drake
-  Wikipedia – Dr. Dre
-  Wealthy Gorilla – Nicki Minaj, Master P, Eminem, P. Diddy
-  Forbes – Jay-Z
-  Billboard – Kanye West