While he earned almost half as much as he did in 2010, Jay pulled in $37 million over the last 12 months, topping Forbes' list for the fourth time in five years. With his mega-hyped 'Watch the Throne' album on its way to a No. 1 debut, Jay "continues to reap the benefits of a 10-year $150 million Live Nation deal, as well as stakes in the New Jersey Nets, the 40/40 Club chain, ad firm Translation and others," according to Forbes. He also out-earned his wife Beyonce for the first time since they were married in 2008.
Coming in a close second once again is Sean 'Diddy' Combs, who brought in $35 million, a healthy increase from the $30 million he took home in 2010. Diddy's music reportedly accounts for a mere 20 percent of his total earnings, the rest of which comes from his stakes in Ciroc vodka and fashion lines Sean John and Enyce.
Though he barely cracked the top 10 last year, Jay-Z's 'Watch the Throne' partner Kanye West moved on up to a distant third place with $16 million, followed by Young Money tandem Lil Wayne and Birdman at fourth and fifth respectively, with $15 mill apiece.
"If we ain't number one now, we'll be there soon," Birdman told Forbes, despite the fact that Weezy actually raked in more last year, while he was incarcerated ($20 mill).
Rounding out the list is Eminem, in a three-way tie with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, who all took home $14 mill, followed by Akon with $13 mill and Ludacris with $12 mill.
Check out the rest of the Hip-Hop Cash Kings list over at Forbes.