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The World’s Highest-Paid Hip-Hop Artists 2017

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Sean “Diddy” Combs got his first job at age 12 delivering newspapers, nestling each delivery inside the screen door of every home instead of tossing it in the front yard. These days, he brings that same attention to detail with products like Ciroc vodka, DeLeon tequila and Aquahydrate water, involving himself in every aspect of the product down to the font of each logo.

“I’ve always understood that if I give the customers my best and service them differently, whether music, clothing or vodka, I’ll get a return on my hard work,” he recently explained to Forbes. Earnings from those brands – plus proceeds from his Bad Boy Reunion Tour and selling a chunk of his Sean John clothing line for an estimated $70 million – puts Diddy atop the hip-hop heap once again with total pretax earnings of $130 million in the 12 months to June.

Drake, the world’s most-streamed artist over the past two years takes the No. 2 spot with $94 million. Despite his gaudy recorded music numbers, the Canadian emcee made the bulk of his bucks on the road during his wildly successful Boy Meets World Tour. He also earns millions for shilling Apple, Sprite and Nike. Jay-Z ranks third with earnings of $42 million, and there’s more on the way: this summer he signed a new pact with touring giant Live Nation that will pay him $200 million through the coming decade.

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Hip-hop’s top 20 acts earned a grand total of $619.5 million last year, up 38% from last year’s $448.5 million total. Even without Diddy’s $70 million windfall, overall earnings are up 22.5%, thanks in large part to hip-hop’s dominance in the burgeoning world of streaming: over the first half of 2017, it’s the most popular genre in terms of consumption, accounting for a quarter of all digital spins.

Our list reflects this new reality, particularly though the presence of newcomers like Chance the Rapper (No. 5, $33 million) and Lil Yachty (No. 20, $11 million). Though 24-year-old Chance has never sold a physical album, instead distributing his music freely via streaming services, he smartly uses musical ubiquity to cash in on festival gigs and arena dates, as well as deals with brands like Apple and Kit Kat. The 20-year-old Yachty, meanwhile, rode gaudy streaming numbers and 100 live dates to his debut as a Cash King.

Other big names include Kendrick Lamar (No. 6, $30 million), whose new album Damn. came out in April and soared to the top of the charts; the critics’ darling now grosses more than $1 million per tour stop. On the more pop-oriented end of the spectrum is DJ Khaled (No. 9, $24 million), boosted by six-figure DJ gigs and millions in earnings from deals with Champ Sports, Apple, Mentos and others.

“People probably thought I was crazy to just spend my last penny to invest in myself,” Khaled tells Forbes. “Now it’s paying off … one thing I learned is some investments might take years to kick in, and they are kicking in.”

Full Coverage: The World’s Highest-Paid Hip-Hop Acts 2017

Other notable names on the list include Cash Money Records founder Bryan “Birdman” Williams (No. 12, $20 million), who gets a boost from having three acts in the Top 20: the aforementioned Drake; Nicki Minaj (No. 16, $16 million), the only female rapper on the list; and Lil Wayne (No. 17, $15.5 million).

To create our list, we add up pretax income from touring, record sales, streaming, publishing, merchandise sales, endorsements and other business ventures. Fees for managers, agents and lawyers are not deducted. Earnings are calculated from June 2016 to June 2017 and based on data from Nielsen SoundScan, Pollstar, Songkick, Bandsintown and the RIAA, as well as interviews with inside sources and a handful of the artists themselves.

Meanwhile, the next generation of hip-hop stars – younger even than Lil Yachty – is already on the move. Khaled’s son, Asahd, turns one this fall but already has 1.5 million Instagram followers, closing in on his dad’s 7.7 million. Says Khaled: “My son got a Rolls-Royce already… a Rolls-Royce car seat.” – Written by 

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Here Are All The Crazy Things People Are Betting On In The Absence Of Live Sports

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TOPLINE With most live sports suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, online gamblers have turned to different contests like Russian table tennis and Korean baseball, while also betting on everything from video games and reality television shows to political news and even the weather.

KEY FACTS

  • “[English] darts and esports have had big increases in betting volumes, along with football [soccer] leagues that have kept playing like the Belarusian Premier League,” says Pascal Lemesre, a spokesman for U.K. betting exchange platform Smarkets. “Horse racing remains our most-traded sport and has made up two-thirds of volume since the lockdown began.”
  • Many betting companies, like DraftKings, had to really dig and get creative with new offerings during the pandemic, says Johnny Avello, head of sportsbook for DraftKings. “We went out and found whatever we could… we wanted to keep our customers engaged.”
  • A charity golf match with Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Phil Mickleson and Tom Brady, for example, has drawn massive interest and could surpass the betting volumes DraftKings saw in last year’s major golf tournaments.
  • Betting on esports has also seen a huge uptick and has really “made its mark,” he says: Virtual NASCAR races proved to be immensely popular, along with daily fantasy for video games like League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. 
  • There has also been a lot of interest in betting on politics, including who will win the 2020 U.S. presidential election, who Democratic nominee Joe Biden will choose as his vice president and how long UK prime minister Boris Johnson will stay in office. 
  • According to data from Smarkets, almost $2 million has already been traded on the election, with Donald Trump retaining a 5% lead over Joe Biden; Kamala Harris is frontrunner to be Biden’s VP, slightly ahead of Amy Klobuchar.
  • Since the Democratic debate between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in mid-March, DraftKings has offered free-to-play betting pools around many political events, along with reality television shows like Survivor and Top Chef, and even the weather in certain states.

SURPRISING FACT

Bettors have certainly shown interest in gambling on the outcomes of their favorite TV shows: According to data from BetOnline, there was even a flurry of betting on the final episode of The Last Dance, with odds on things like whether Michael Jordan would cry while being interviewed or how many people would be shown with a cigar in their mouth.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Sportsbooks are seeing huge pent-up demand as some major sports like NASCAR and German Bundesliga soccer start to resume. Soccer, which normally makes up 45% of the Smarkets’ betting volume, fell to 23%, maintained largely by interest in the Belarusian Premier League and Nicaraguan soccer, both of which continued to play games amid the pandemic. With the German Bundesliga resuming last weekend, betting volumes increased 428% compared to the previous round of fixtures before coronavirus, according to Smarkets.

CRUCIAL QUOTE

“When you don’t have all the normal content, customers will migrate,” Avello says. “That’s the positive that’s going to come out of this—we’re always looking for additional content.” 

KEY BACKGROUND

DraftKings reported record betting during the NFL Draft last month—13x the volume from last year—and has also seen strong interest in the recent return of Ultimate Fighting Championship events, the company said. “We got good action on the stuff we did, but now that we’re starting to get back to core events, demand should rise even higher,” Avello predicts. If the NBA and NHL start playoff seasons this summer and the MLB returns, for instance, “it could be one of the bigger summers that we’ve ever had.”

Sergei Klebnikov, Forbes Staff, Markets

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Quote Of The Day

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“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen,”

–  Vladimir Lenin, Russian Political Theorist

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Quote Of The Day

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“Dreams don’t work unless you do.”

–  John C Maxwell, American Author

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