Kanye West Surpasses JAY-Z to Become Forbes’ Top Earning Rapper of 2019

Little Brother beats Big Brother.

Forbes has released its annual list of the highest earners in hip-hop. We have a new number 1. According to Forbes, Kanye West was the top earner of 2019, pulling in $150 million in pretax earnings.

That amount is almost double the number 2 slot: JAY-Z, who ranked in $81 million. (Traditionally, JAY-Z and Diddy are duking it out for the number one spot.)

READ: JAY-Z Has Officially Become the First Billionaire Rapper, According to Forbes

This amount is largely due to the success of Kanye’s Yeezy line, which is expected to rank in more than $1.5 billion in sales this year. (While a lot, that’s only half of what Nike’s Air Jordan pulled in.)

According to a Forbes cover story, Kanye has an “unprecedented” 15% royalty deal with addias. What’s crazy is that just three years ago, Kanye admitted that he was $53 million in debt.

Times have changed.

rounding out the top five is Drake at number 3, Diddy number 4, and Travis Scott at number 5, who took in a whopping $58 million — largely due to the success of the Wish You Were Here Tour.

The youngest rapper on the list is Cardi B, who raked in $28 million.

READ: Kanye West’s Sunday Service — a Religious Experience or a Celebrity Cult?

Here is the entire list.

20. Pitbull ($18 million)

19. Wiz Khalifa ($18.5 million)

18. Nas ($19 million)

17. Future ($19.5 million)

16. Birdman ($20 million)

15. Meek Mill ($21 million)

14. Swizz Beatz ($23 million)

13. Cardi B ($28 million)

12. Nicki Minaj ($29 million)

11. J. Cole ($31 million)

10. Childish Gambino ($35 million)

9. Migos ($36 million)

8. Kendrick Lamar ($38.5 million)

7. DJ Khaled ($40 million)

6. Eminem ($50 million)

5. Travis Scott ($58 million)

4. Diddy ($70 million)

3. Drake ($75 million)

2. Jay-Z ($81 million)

1. Kanye West ($150 million)

Source: Forbes

Dimas Sanfiorenzo

Dimas Sanfiorenzo is the Managing Editor for Okayplayer. He specializes in coverage centered around music, pop culture, and politics. Email:

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