Hip-Hop's Two Biggest Earners Haven't Released Albums in YearsS

Forbes has named the brolic and dormant Dr. Dre this year's Hip-Hop Cash King, the result of him taking in $110 million almost entirely from the immense success of his Beats By Dre headphones. Dre, Forbes explains, "collected $100 million pretax when handset maker HTC paid $300 million for a 51% stake in the company last year."

Sean "Diddy"/"Puffy"/"Piddy"/"Duffy" Combs came in at No. 2 with $45 million, a result of his stake in Ciroc vodka. He hasn't released an album since his flop collaboration with girl group Dirty Money, 2010's Last Train to Paris. Dre, on the other hand, hasn't released a full-length since 1999's 2001. It just goes to reinforce that ideals in hip-hop have expanded — selling out is no longer a thing, it is the thing. Back in the day, music, graffiti and breaking were its main components; now entrepreneurship is a defining element if not the most defining element. It's like Jay-Z, Budweiser collaborator and NBA stakeholder, said: "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man." (He's at No. 3 with $38 million.)

Kanye West, Jay's Watch the Throne partner, is at No. 4 with $35 million. Interestingly, Forbes says that West's annual fortune was "fueled by his Watch the Throne album with Jay-Z and the ensuing tour." Eminem's placement at No. 9 is used as further evidence that artists can, in fact, make money from their music:

Eminem sold more albums last decade than any artist, and continues to cash in from his extensive back catalog and occasional tour dates, pulling in $15 million.

That's a terrific feat in this shitty economy and in the crumbling music industry, but it's also nothing to count on.

["Cash Kings 2012: Hip-Hop's Top Earners," Forbes]

[Images via Getty]