The fifth highest-paid figure in hip-hop hasn’t sold a single record.
Chance the Rapper has ranked in the top echelons of Forbes‘ annual highest-paid hip-hop artists list, placing 5th after taking in US$33 million in the past year.
The 3x Grammy winner is famously yet to ink a record label deal and has made all of his music available for free.
While he did give exclusive streaming rights to his globally revered record Colouring Book to Apple Music for two weeks – and took a cool $500,000 from the tech giant in the process – the album was made available for free on SoundCloud after the two-week exclusivity window. In any case, this cash injection falls outside the twelve-month period detailed in Forbes’ list.
Speaking with Vanity Fair in February, Chance (real name Chancellor Johnathan Bennett) said:
“I make money from touring and selling merchandise, and I honestly believe if you put effort into something and you execute properly, you don’t necessarily have to go through the traditional ways.”
Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs topped the list with US$130 million, Drake placed 2nd with US$94 million, followed by Jay Z (US$42m), and Dr. Dre (US$34.5m).
It should be noted that all the top earners used hip hop as a stepping stone toward their respective successful business ventures. In fact, Diddy hasn’t released any new music in the past year. He did however, sell a portion of his Sean Jean clothing company for US$70 million.
And while Drake is currently on his Boy Meets World Tour supporting his two releases Views and More Life, his partnerships with tech giants Apple and Sprint, plus an endorsement deal with Nike have kept the cash flowing in during his off season.
Elsewhere, Jay Z of course owns streaming competitor TIDAL; Jay sold a 33% stake of the company to Sprint in January for a reported $200 million (Billboard), not to mention his stake in Roc Nation and the related branches, including a clothing line and a sports agency. And, aside from his various label interests, Dr. Dre is a senior executive at Apple Music after selling his Beats Music streaming platform to the company in 2012 for US$3.2 billion.
Forbes calculated June 2016 to June 2017 earnings for the rappers based on data from Nielsen SoundScan, Pollstar, Songkick, Bandsintown and the RIAA, as well as interviews with inside sources and a handful of the artists themselves.
The top 20 highest-paid hip-hop artists:
1. Diddy – $130 million
2. Drake – $94 million
3. JAY Z – $42 million
4. Dr. Dre – $34.5 million
5. Chance the Rapper – $33 million
6. Kendrick Lamar – $30 million
7. Wiz Khalifa – $28 million
8. Pitbull – $27 million
9. DJ Khaled – $24 million
10. Future – $23 million
11. Kanye West – $22 million
12. Birdman – $20 million
13. J. Cole – $19 million
14. Swizz Beatz – $17 million
15. Snoop Dogg – $16.5 million
16. Nicki Minaj – $16 million
17. Lil Wayne – $15.5 million
18. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – $11.5 million (tie)
19. Rick Ross – $11.5 million (tie)
20. Lil Yachty – $11 million
View the full list here.