How the 5 richest musicians earned their stacks

02 August 2022
This billionaire club of artists may have risen to prominence through their performance in music, but their biggest earnings came from elsewhere.
Kanye Rihanna Jay Z

Long before becoming a billionaire powerhouse with an undeniable impact not only on the culture, but also in the world of business, Jay once rapped; "I don't care what you do for stacks, I know the world glued you back to the wall." It's an inspiring take from his 2003 hit 'Change Clothes'. Since then, Jay has amassed the kind of wealth, power and influence that spills over to one's network.

Those closest to him include Rihanna and Kanye West, both affiliated with his Roc Nation, are now the wealthiest musicians in the world. And while all three also happen to be distinguished titans of the music industry, the vast chunk of their earnings came from other revenue streams. Here's a look at how they diversified their portfolios and parlayed their fame into colossal fortunes. 


He is touted as one of the greatest MCs of all time. Dr. Dre's debut album, The Chronic, came out in 1992 and instantly rocketed him to the highest echelons in Hip Hop. The album spawned such hits as 'Nuthin' but a 'G'' Thang and 'Let Me Ride', the latter of which garnered him a Grammy award for Best Rap Solo Performance. Since then, he's built one of the most notable discographies in the business. 

However, it's Dre's entrepreneurial ventures that have earned him the big bucks. He is the co-founder of Beats Electronics, which was acquired for a whopping $3,4 billion by Apple back in 2014. Amongst other ventures, he also co-founded Aftermath Entertainment, where he holds the position of CEO. 


While his vibe remains lowkey and zen, Sean Combs is one of the most established music moguls. Although his catalogue packs many a banger, Diddy has become most known for his influence in the music business. Having moved through several name changes - Puff Daddy, P. Diddy and Diddy, the rapper also boasts high-powered titles such as being a record executive and entrepreneur. It all started when he founded Bad Boy Records in 1993, which produced a slew of best-selling artists like The Notorious B.I.G, Mary J. Blige and Usher. 


In many circles, Jay Z is regarded as the greatest rapper of all time. He is also known for his massive influence in the music business. Amongst his many milestones, he's been the CEO of Def Jam Records, which cultivated the careers of Kanye West, Rihanna and J.Cole. He is also the co-founder of Rock-A-Fella Records

Mr. Carter's journey to the billionaire club picked up steam through his many business ventures. In 1999, the 'Run This Town' hit-maker founded the clothing retailer Rocawear. By 2003, he had dabbled in a luxury car nightclub/bar. In 2008, Roc Nation came to life. In 2015, he acquired the tech company that owned Tidal. The deal helped him become the first black artist to own their own music streaming platform. 


The Bajan icon needs no introduction. At just 34 years of age, Riri has become one of the greatest artists of all time. Her record sales, chart success and overall impact is rivaled only by such legends as Mariah Carey, Madonna, Micheal Jackson, and Prince. 

However, it wasn't until she leveraged her impact in high fashion to launch her mega beauty and cosmetics empire Fenty Beauty, that her bank account blew up. You are talking about the Jack of all trades, and the master of all. 


Here is a multi-hyphenate legend in different spheres of life. Known now as Ye, Mr. West is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, and fashion designer. He reached the highest league in Hip Hop, what with having the most Grammy awards and multi-platinum albums from a catalogue like no other. He is also the founder of Yeezy, a staple in streetwear. He's had a number of success in fashion, music and retail, but it's his impact in each one of them that renders him an objective G.O.A.T. 

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