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J. Cole Named 2015’s Highest Earning Rapper

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Drake’s success over the years may have landed him on The Forbes Five list of Hip Hop’s wealthiest artists, but the business end of (2015) belonged to J. Cole, who topped all Hip Hop artists on Billboard’s Music’s Top Earners list, it was announced this week. Nicki Minaj came in at third among the list’s rappers, making $6.3 million off of her bread and butter, while Drizzy claimed runner-up with $7.4 million. J. Cole’s total surpassed them both, with his work generating $8.8 million last year.

The greater portion of Cole’s pot came through his HBO documented performances, with touring accounting for $5.5 million of the total. He made $1.1 million off of publishing, and $1.5 million were attributed to actual music sales. The breakdown is sweet for the nomadic N.C. producer/emcee, placing him at #27 on the list of musicians overall, but it does pale in comparison to the earnings of the reigning Taylor Swift, who banked eight times that amount with a supreme $73.5 million.

There was early consensus that the more personal/intimate approach of 2014 Forest Hills Drive would garner Cole a stronger core allegiance at the expense of commercial success. But while the album didn’t wind up outselling Drake’s ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’ mix, nor receive the critical acclaim Kendrick did with his Grammy Awards campaign behind ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’, it streamed over a billion times, and struck the kind of chord among fans that was documented in the HBO Homecoming series. Fans and his industry peers now await the next move from the Dreamville captain, which strong whispers have indicated might be a joint project with K. Dot.

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