Nicki Minaj Is The Only Female On Forbes’ Hip-Hop Cash Kings List…Ever
"Pull up in that You Can't Afford This / Only rap bitch on the Forbes list," Nicki Minaj raps on Rich Gang's "Tapout" earlier this year. It's not surprising to hear that Nicki Minaj showed up again on Forbes' annual Hip-Hop Cash Kings list which came out today—what with her myriad endorsement deals with Myx Fusion and Pepsi, her judging role on American Idol and her perfume and clothing lines, in addition to all of her music revenue—nor that she clocks in at No. 4; after all, her verses and appearances are generally show-stopping events, and she pulled in an eye-opening $29 million. What is surprising—but maybe shouldn't be, either—is that she's the only woman to ever appear on the list since its inception in 2007.
Then again, looking at the landscape of hip-hop, who else would have cracked the list? Nicki first appeared on the tally in 2011, the first female to ever crack the top 20, tying with Swizz Beatz after making $6.5 million the year before. That year, and in the years since, her competition at the top of the hip-hop pyramid has mostly come from those either still climbing the steps up the chain of command—think her feud with Azealia Banks, still without a debut album for Def Jam—or those who have surrendered the throne of female hip-hop supremacy such as Lil Kim, nearly unrecognizable physically and musically from her previous peak. Others, such as Iggy Azalea or Angel Haze, have likewise not had the moment to shine on that level.
With the list only seven years old, many other potential challengers from earlier years missed out on the distinction. Eve—who would have been a solid challenger to Nicki back in the day—released her first album in 11 years, Lip Lock, this May, and her successful acting career largely stalled out in 2006. Lauryn Hill, whose Miseducation album was so successful it became the first ever hip-hop album to win the Grammy for Album of the Year, went to jail this year over a $1.8 million tax evasion charge. Missy Elliott, who sold millions of albums in the late 1990s and early 2000s, hasn't dropped a full project since 2005's The Cookbook. And then, as Forbes points out, there's Beyoncé, who made $53 million last year but doesn't qualify as a rapper.
So for now it's Nicki's world—she's even pulling in more money than anyone else on the YMCMB label, with Birdman, Lil Wayne and Drake landing at Nos. 5, 7 and 11 respectively—and that doesn't look likely to change any time soon.