Jay-Z Tops Forbes Hip Hop Cash Kings List

Rapper and entrepreneur Sean Carter, better known as Jay-Z topped this year’s Forbes Hip-Hop Cash Kings list coming in at number one.

The rapper reportedly earned $37 million over the past 12 months.

Other popular figures in the hip hop world such as Diddy and Jay-Z’s protégé Kanye West were also huge earners, with Diddy coming in second grossing $35 million this year and Kanye West coming in third grossing $16 million.

“Fueled by the tail end of his ‘Blueprint 3’ Tour and a vast portfolio of business interests, Jay-Z barely edged second-ranked Diddy-who raked in $35 million," wrote Zack O’Malley Greenberg in the Forbes article who said half of Diddy's earnings came from his investments in Ciroc Vodka.

Jay-Z and Kanye West just released their collaboration album “Watch The Throne” on iTunes this week which is already receiving rave reviews.

The album is projected to sell 500,000 copies in its first week.

“Jay-Z and Kanye are hip-hop ambassadors,” says Steve Stoute, chief of branding firm Translation and author of “The Tanning of America.”

“They bring the art form around the world, and they’ve taken production and everything to the next level. Now they’ve got a chance to grow with their global audience.”

Along with success in his business ventures, Jay-Z was also in the news last year for rumors that he was a Satan worshiper due to some of the imagery in his music videos and album artwork.

In an interview with New York City radio station Hot 97 the rapper denied the claim stating that he doesn’t believe in organized religion and that he believes in one God.

Whichever god that was the rapper didn’t make clear in the interview, but he did show up at a “New Jersey Nets” game with a shirt that read ‘Jesus Is Lord’ earlier this year.

Kanye West also has some affiliation to Christianity with his 2004 hit song “Jesus Walks.”

The song’s lyrics touch on the subject of religion and how mentioning God or Jesus might not get him radio play. Despite the assumption West still ended up winning the Best Rap Song Grammy for the record in 2005. In his new song off the “Watch The Throne” album with Jay-Z titled “Otis,” he raps “I made Jesus walk so I’m never going to hell.”

But both rappers stylistically are far from being “Christian artists.” They still use profanity and strong sexual themes in their music unlike Christian rappers who keep their records clean.