The world paid tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. yesterday on the 14th anniversary of the MC's death, reminding us of a time when Biggie's mentor, a young hip-hop entrepreneur named Puff Daddy, had serious influence on the world of rap. (Remember how people were outraged -- outraged! -- when Puffy got Sting to hand over the Police's "Every Breath You Take" for "I'll Be Missing You" and collaborated with Jimmy Page on "Come With Me"?) Diddy may not have much chart power anymore, and his latest group Diddy-Dirty Money may have given one of the worst Saturday Night Live performances ever, but Sean Combs will always have something to console him: a giant pile of cash.
Forbes has issued its rankings for the wealthiest hip-hop artists and Diddy tops the list with a net worth of $475 million. That's not just music money, of course -- it's vodka money and clothing money with a bit of Bad Boy label money. Jay-Z, who has investments in the Nets, 40/40 clubs, and of course, a tasty wings joint, comes in second place with $450 million, followed by Dr. Dre, snow shoveler 50 Cent, and Bryan "Birdman" Williams, who ironically runs the label called Cash Money. Diddy's mic skills may be the weakest of this bunch, but the fact that he still dares to rap is what got him on the countdown in the first place: "We considered only performers," Forbes writes, "which is why hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons isn't on this list." Simmons also would have messed up the list's "nicknames only" quality anyway.
1. Diddy ($475 million)
2. Jay-Z ($450 million)
3. Dr. Dre ($125 million)
4. 50 Cent ($100 million)
5. Birdman ($100 million)
• Dear Diddy, Are You Feeling Okay?
[Photo: Dario Cantatore/Getty Images]