Dr. Dre: World's First Billionaire Rapper?
Dr. Dre could become the world's first billionaire rapper if Apple (AAPL) goes through with its purchase of Beats Electronics, the headphone maker co-founded by the hip-hop star.
Andre Young, aka Dr. Dre, is ranked second on Forbes' list of the wealthiest hip-hop artists of 2014 with an estimated wealth of $550 million. But if Apple's acquisition gets the green light, it could propel him to the number one spot, surpassing Sean Combs, aka Puff Daddy, who has a net worth of $700 million.
Reports from the Financial Times early Friday revealed that the U.S. tech giant's purchase of Beats Electronics is valued around $3.2 billion.
There is no publicly available information about how big Young's stake in Beats is, but according to The Wall Street Journal, the rapper and co-founding music mogul Jimmy Iovine are majority owners.
Young's Forbes ranking means he needs another $450 million to become hip-hop's first billionaire; that's equal to a 15 percent stake in a $3 billion company like Beats Electronics; it's highly likely Young's stake exceeds that figure.
The California-based artist accumulated the majority of his wealth after founding Beats Electronics with music producer Jimmy Iovine in 2008. With an around 65 percent share of the headphone market, the company's valuation has topped the $1 billion mark.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Based on Forbes' list, released in April, the majority of rappers rose through the wealth ranks primarily due to non-musical ventures.
Sean Combs' digital cable television network Revolt TV and joint-venture tequila deal with Diageo (DEO) has increased his fortune by $120 million in the last year alone.
Third on this year's rich list is Shawn Carter, known by his stage name Jay-Z. Carter's net worth is estimated at around $520 million thanks to his management, music publishing, and entertainment company Roc Nation, which is worth around nine figures.
Fourth is Bryan "Birdman" Williams, co-founder of record label Cash Money Records, whose artist roster includes Drake, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wane. Williams is worth roughly $160 million, up $10 million from a year ago, as he diversifies his business into a clothing line and a deal with Grand Touring Vodka.
Rounding out the top five, Curtis Jackson, known as "50 cent," has a net worth of $140 million. His energy drink, Street King, boasts a 90 percent share of the energy drink market, according to Forbes, and has increased the rapper's wealth by $15 million in the last year.