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MONTHS LONG TOURS and en­dorse­ment deals with com­pa­nies such as Sprite and Hen­nessy en­abled the high­est-earn­ing hip-hop artists on our an­nual list to bring in an av­er­age $44 mil­lion over the past year. Some of them also have ac­quired lu­cra­tive eq­uity stakes, in­clud­ing Nas, 45, who makes the list for the rst time a quar­ter-cen­tury a er re­leas­ing his de­but al­bum. A few years back, Nas kin­dled a friend­ship with venture cap­i­tal­ist Ben Horowitz at a din­ner party and has since snagged stakes in Sil­i­con Val­ley dar­lings (Ly , Coin­base) and on­line me­dia (Ge­nius, Mass Ap­peal). His in­ter­est in these star­tups is only nat­u­ral, he says. “[Hip-hop artists] are al­ways ad­vanc­ing tech­nol­ogy—from one turntable to two turnta­bles and a fader.” He has al­ready en­joyed some ex­its, in­clud­ing the re­ported $1.1 bil­lion sale of door­bell startup Ring to Ama­zon in Fe­bru­ary. “ ere wasn’t a time when [rap­pers] didn’t think about investing. It just so hap­pens that the world is open­ing up.” For more, go to

Nas av­er­aged over $320,000 per tour stop, play­ing 46 shows dur­ing our 12-month scor­ing pe­riod.

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