The World’s Highest Paid Hip-Hop Acts 2018. Months-long tours and endorsement deals with companies such as Sprite and Hennessy enabled the highest-earning hip-hop artists on our annual list to bring in an average $44 million over the past year. Some of them also have acquired lucrative equity stakes, including Nas, 44, who makes the list for the first time a quarter-century after releasing his debut album. A few years back, Nas kindled a friendship with venture capitalist Ben Horowitz at a dinner party and has since snagged stakes in Silicon Valley darlings (Lyft, Coinbase) and online media (Genius, Mass Appeal).
His interest in these startups is only natural, he says. “[Hip-hop artists] are always advancing technology–from one turntable to two turntables and a fader.” He has already enjoyed some exits, including the reported $1.1 billion sale of doorbell startup Ring to Amazon in February. “There wasn’t a time when [rappers]didn’t think about investing. It just so happens that the world is opening up.”
Nas pulled in a career best $35 million in all, but that’s only good for No. 6 on the list–this year’s king of hip-hop cash is his former rival.