Jay-Z Tops Forbes Hip Hop Cash Kings List

For the third time in four years, Jay-Z has been crowned the “Hip-Hop Cash King” by Forbes. The Brooklyn lyricist topped the business magazine’s annual ranking of high-rolling hip-hop stars by earning $63 million over the past 12 months, thanks to business ventures like a high-grossing tour, real estate investments and the successful Broadway production “Fela!”

Jay-Z’s income more than doubled the total brought home by 2010 runner-up Diddy, who clocked in at #2 on the list with $30 million earned thanks to endorsement deals and roles in films like “Get Him to the Greek.”

Akon came in third, earning $21 million from endorsement deals and his signing of Lady Gaga to his Interscope-backed label KonLive.

Lil Wayne landed at the #4 spot with $20 million in earnings, most of which came through touring; the rapper’s tours last year, “I Am Music” and “America’s Most Wanted,” were the biggest hip-hop outings of 2009.

Dre. Dre came in at #5, earning $17 million through a combination of album royalties from his past projects, executive producing a pair of Eminem releases and income from his headphone line Beats by Dre.

Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Timbaland, Pharrell and Kanye West rounded out the top 10.

Jay-Z has topped the Forbes list every year since its 2007 inception with one exception; in 2008, 50 Cent came in at #1 when the magazine estimated his income at more than $150 million.

The G-Unit boss came in at a distant #14 this year, and he was tied with his mentor Eminem; both multi-platinum superstars raked in $8 million.

Drake was among those making their debut on the list, ranking #11.