Kanye West, Jay-Z, Diddy Top Forbes' List of Richest Hip-Hop Stars

Jay-Z and Kanye West's newly released rap collaboration Watch the Throne, which debuted exclusively on iTunes on Tuesday, is appropriately named, according to Forbes' 2011 list of Hip-Hop's Top Earners.

The two multi-hyphenate rappers/producers/spokesmen/apparel moguls are the genre's biggest moneymakers, with Jay-Z reigning supreme as Cash King for the fifth year running by pulling in $37 million since the magazine's 2010 list. West, who cleared the top-three for the first time since 2009, earned $16 million to claim the No. 3 spot. The duo premieres their video for the song "Otis" on MTV tonight.

"Jay-Z and Kanye are hip-hop ambassadors," Steve Stoute, chief of branding firm Translation, tells Forbes." They bring the art form around the world, and they’ve taken production and everything to the next level. Now they’ve got a chance to grow with their global audience."

Sandwiched between Jay-Z and Kanye is Sean "Diddy" Combs, whose clothing line Sean Jean and lucrative deal with a Diageo's Ciroc vodka helped him top $35 million in the past 12 months. Diddy is followed by Lil Wayne and Birdman (tied for No. 4 with $15 million), Eminem, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg (tied for No. 6 with $14 million).

For the entire list, check out Forbes' complete package.


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