FORBES: After attending the NBA Draft in June, Jay-Z threw a party at his 40/40 Club in midtown Manhattan, carousing into the wee hours of the morning with the likes of LeBron James and Spike Lee. Not bad for a guy who took a 57% pay cut this year.The Brooklyn-born rapper pulled in an estimated $35 million over the past 12 months, topping our annual list of Hip-Hop Cash Kings. It’s far from the $82 million he made last year, but more than enough to reclaim the crown from 2008′s monarch, 50 Cent. The Queens native drops to fourth place with $20 million, down from $150 million a year ago.
Both rappers had a hard time living up to prior yearly totals fattened by one-time mega-deals. For 50, it was a $100 million windfall from the sale of his stake in VitaminWater parent Glacéau to Coca-Cola ( KO – news – people ); for Jay-Z, a front-loaded $150 million deal with concert promoter Live Nation ( LYV – news – people ).
“The timing of Jay’s deal couldn’t have been more perfect,” says singer-songwriter-producer Akon, fourth on this year’s list. “Those numbers aren’t going to be flying around anymore.” ::::
Last year, the top 20 Hip-Hop Cash Kings made $500 million; this year they made $300 million, a 40% drop. 50 Cent’s VitaminWater stake was responsible for one-fifth of the total take last year. Its absence accounts for half of hip-hop’s year-over-year decline. Similarly, concert promoters have stopped pursing big “360″ deals like the one signed by Jay-Z and LiveNation last year. “Those deals are pretty much done for now,” says Chris White, an entertainment analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities. Read the full Forbes article