What Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From Richest Hip Hop Moguls
Sean “Diddy” Combs Networth: $580 Million
The rapper-actor-producer-designer-entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs, seems to make a few million every time he changes his name. He’s gone under the names Puffy, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy Dirty Money, and finally, Diddy.
But Diddy (as I’ll refer to him from now on) has come a long way from his days as a party promoter at Howard University. After signing the late Notorious B.I.G. to his newly formed Bad Boy Records, his career skyrocketed, first as a producer/rapper and then as an entrepreneur.
Diddy’s empire, Bad Boy Entertainment Worldwide, owns and operates Bad Boy Records, restaurants in NYC and Atlanta, numerous clothing and fragrance lines, and helped turn Ciroc vodka into the second ultra-premium vodka in the world.
50 Cent’s Networth: $260 Million
After growing up in poverty, being shot nine times, and having his debut album shelved, it seemed the 50 Cent just couldn’t catch a break. After hearing about his violent past, no record company would have him in their offices. In fact, it’s rumored that 50 Cent wrote a few songs for Diddy until the mogul saw 50 carried a gun with him to the studio.
Finally, 50 Cent caught a break when Dr. Dre and Eminem gave him a shot.
50 quickly released hit after hit and topped the charts. But it seemed that just being a rap superstar wasn’t enough. Instead of endorsing brands, 50 Cent looked to break new ground. While just putting one’s name on a product for a flat fee was a standard practice, almost all of his deals included equity in the product on top of an endorsement fee.
Some of these deals included his own clothing line, a shoe line with Reebok, books, movies, and video games—who needs to rap? But his biggest paycheck came from an unsuspecting source when Coca-Cola acquired Vitamin Water. 50 Cent, who owned a 5% stake in the company, walked away with $200 million—10 times as much as he had made selling records.
50 Cent now owns SK Energy Drink that is taking over the Energy Shot market.
Jay Z’s Networth: $500 Million
Jay said it best himself—he’s not a businessman, he’s a business, man! While he may not be the richest hip-hop mogul, he has definitely become the face of the industry. Before blowing up as a face of a genre, Jay created Roc-A-Fella Records and clothing line. Not long after, he began to dive into other industries. His business ventures range from hospitality
Dr. Dre’s Networth: $360 Million
Most recently, Dr. Dre made headlines (and about $150M) with his Beats by Dre Headphone line. The headphones have been endorsed by Lebron James, Lil Wayne, and college students on campuses across the world. But before the doc got his hand in business, he was known as one of the best scouts for talent in the industry.
As a producer and rapper, he is contributed with kick starting the careers of some of the biggest names in hip-hop: 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg (aka Snoop Lion), and Eminem. But it seems that the 48 year-old is focusing less on looking for upcoming rappers, and more on finding the vice presidents of his next start up.
Dre and business partner Jimmy Iovine have donated $70 million dollars to the University of Southern California to create a new degree which will blend marketing, business, product design and development, and liberal arts. The first class of students are set to begin the new degree in 2014 and may be en route to becoming music moguls themselves.
In an article detailing the contribution, Dre says “this is the biggest, most exciting and probably the most important thing that I’ve done in my career.”
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