Forbes ranks Dr. Dre as the richest rapper: It’s the headphones, stupid

Producer and musician Dr. Dre is on the field before the Boston Red Sox take on the the New York Yankees on April 4, 2010 during Opening Night at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Dre is promoting the Boston Red Sox version of his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Producer and musician Dr. Dre is on the field before the Boston Red Sox take on the the New York Yankees on April 4, 2010 during Opening Night at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Dre is promoting the Boston Red Sox version of his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Dr. Dre hasn’t released an album of original hip-hop in more than a decade and yet he is the genre’s richest man — why? It’s the headphones, stupid. Forbes recently ranked the richest performers in rap and Dre has finally surpassed the likes of Diddy and Jay-Z thanks to his best-selling Beats by Dre headphones. MTV reports:

Anticipation continues to build for Detox, but even without the long-anticipated album hitting shelves, big banks haven’t Forgot About Dre.

Hip-hop icon Dr. Dre rocked Coachella with an all-star cast of collaborators past and present (and even deceased) this year with more skill than half the guys half his age who are promoting new albums, all while banking his way to becoming the highest paid rapper of the year.

How’d he do it? Beats by Dre, of course, which now accounts for more than half of the high-end headphone market. According to the brand-new list of hip-hop’s highest-paid earners featured in Forbes magazine‘s September 24 issue, Beats by Dre was responsible for $100 million of Dre’s pretax $110 million haul over the past year. The N.W.A. rapper/producer, who launched the careers of Snoop Dogg and Eminem, got into the speaker game at the urging of Interscope’s Jimmy Iovine, who was one of the partners who benefited when handset maker HTC spent $300 million purchasing a 51 percent stake in Beats.

Dre managed to pass his peers like Diddy, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Lil Wayne, who rounded out the top five.

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