Jay-Z Reigns as Hip-Hop's Cash King

By Michael Preston
|  Thursday, Aug 19, 2010  |  Updated 4:25 AM PDT
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NEW YORK - AUGUST 12: Jay-Z performs onstage at the the 2010 World Basketball Festival Tip Off at Radio City Music Hall on August 12, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Roger Kisby/FilmMagic)

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Jay-Z has once again proved that he's not a businessman, he's a business, man.

Jigga earned over $63 million last year, making him the highest earning rapper for the second year running, according to "Forbes". 

His income is taxed at 35 percent, meaning he's sending the U.S. government $22 million this year. However, that sum is more than any other rapper made outside of fellow mogul Diddy, who pulled down $30 million.

"Jay-Z is in a league of his own right now," Ryan Schinman of Platinum Rye, the country largest buyer of music and talent for corporations, told the magazine.

"There are very few artists of any genre, not just hip-hop, who've created such brands for themselves," he said.

The top 20 earners on the "Forbes" Cash Kings list combined for about $300 million in total earnings, which is almost the same amount as they made collectively last year.

Jay and Diddy are trailblazers in the sense that they've diversified their interests in a way that many artists have not. Besides touring, Jigga owns a nightclub and is part owner of the New Jersey Nets. Diddy promotes Ciroc vodka, runs the Sean John clothing line, and had a star turn in this summer's big-screen comedy, "Get Him to the Greek."

Singer Akon, Lil'Wayne and Dr. Dre rounded out the top five, earning $21, $20 and $17 million respectively. Uber producer Kanye West rounded out the top 10, bringing in $12 million, down from $25 million last year. West's total fell in part due to his relative absence following his disruption of Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 Video Music Awards.

Selected Reading: Forbes, Billboard, BET

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