Kanye West tops mentor Jay-Z as Forbes' highest-paid hip-hop act for the first time ever

Elisabeth Edokwe

Kanye West has surpassed his former mentor Jay-Z as hip-hop's highest-earner for the first time ever. In Forbes' latest edition of highest-paid hip-hop acts, West tops the list with $150 million, while Jay-Z comes in at second with $81 million.

West has long been one of hip-hop's highest-paid stars, but his topping Forbes' list for the first time in his career this year is due, in large part, to his sneaker and apparel line, Yeezy. His footwear collaboration with Adidas has experienced an astronomical amount of success — and is on-pace to rake in $1.5 billion this year.

Yeezy's projected 2019 earnings have bumped Kanye up the Forbes ladder significantly. Just last year, the music mogul only came in at No. 10 on the list, with $27.5 million.

Much of Jay-Z's position at No. 2 can be attributed to the earnings from his "On the Run II" tour with his wife Beyoncé, who was Forbes' second-highest-paid woman in music this year behind Taylor Swift. The tour grossed more than $250 million alone.

Rounding out the top 3 is Drake, the most-streamed artist of any genre, who earned $75 million.