Last week FORBES released its annual Hip-Hop Cash Kings package, and the results were mind-boggling. The top 20 earners pulled in $415 million–the most since 2008′s $515 million–led by Beats-backed Dr. Dre ($110 million), Ciroc-infused Diddy ($45 million) and Duracell-powered Jay-Z ($38 million).
A handful of artists on the list reacted to the news, including No. 10 Ludacris, who tweeted about my profile of him, “I want everybody to be inspired by the Forbes article!!! Hard work & believing in your dreams pays off.” Another tweet came in from No. 7 Birdman: “S/o @zogblog @ forbes Hardworks Pays YMCMBillionaire Mind$.” At a celebration for the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson‘s Bad, No. 16 Swizz Beatz suggested he’d be higher in 2013, saying, “Give me like another year and I’m good.”
But just like last year, the top performance came from FORBES’ readers. A week before the list came out, I challenged all of you to correctly guess the top ten earners, promising a signed copy of my book Empire State of Mind, a business-focused biography of Jay-Z, to the closest guess.
Nobody got all ten last year, and the same held true this time around, with two people guessing nine of ten. But the competition is getting tougher and tougher–in 2011, every contestant guessed at least six of the top ten; this year, everyone guessed at least seven of ten. Seven of the 15 contestants got the first five in correct order.
So congratulations to Mohamad H. Fawaz and Blunt Talking–both of whom put Rick Ross on the list instead of Ludacris–and to Dusan Koen, who got eight of ten but was the only person to get the top seven in order. If you are one of those people, I’ll be emailing you shortly to ask for a mailing address to send you a copy of my book.