Dr. Dre named top earning hip-hop artist of 2012

Updated: Sep 06, 2012, 11:48 AM IST

New York: Dr. Dre has made to the top of Forbes’ annual list of hip-hop’s biggest earners – thanks to his high-end headphones.

According to Forbes’ Hip-Hop Cash Kings list, Dre earned 110 million dollars before taxes last year, thanks largely to his Beats by Dr. Dre premium headphones company, the New York Post reported.

The rapper-producer collected 100 million dollars last year when HTC paid 300 million dollars for a 51 percent stake in the company.

Earlier this summer, Dre and his partners bought back half of that stake.

Beats’ success may even explain why he still hasn’t finished his long-awaited ‘Detox’ album.

“I understand why Dre didn’t finish ‘Detox,’ former Def Jam president Kevin Liles said with a laugh. “It’s called Beats.”

Dre`s just one of several hip-hop heavyweights on the list who make most of their money outside of the music industry.

Diddy came in second with 45 million dollars from his share of profits from Ciroc vodka.

Jay-Z, last year’s top earner, ranked third this year with 38 million dollars, pulling in more than half of that from outside ventures like his ownership stake in the Nets and a deal with Duracell.

Kanye West and Lil Wayne round out the top five with a mix of earnings from albums, tours and endorsement deals.

Drake and Nicki Minaj took in 20.5 million dollars and 15.5 million dollars off albums, tours and endorsements to snag the sixth and eighth spots.

Ludacris came in 10th with 12 million dollars from movie roles, voiceovers, his own headphone line and other ventures.

Eminem, who earned 15 million dollars, is making the majority of his money from music. Marshall Mathers sold more albums in the last decade than any other artist and continues to cash in from his back catalog and concerts.

In total, Forbes’ top 20 hip-hop earners pulled in 415 million dollars last year, the most since 2008.