He may not be the biggest name in rap today, but Sean "Diddy" Combs is arguably the wealthiest rapper on the planet, beating out even Dr. Dre and Jay Z. Diddy built an empire back in the days of Bad Boy Records, which built artists like The Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, and Mase in the 1990s when his label owned the charts.
But music isn't what has built Diddy's net worth to nine figures. He paved the way to being more than a music mogul, building a clothing brand, designer vodka, and a television station.
The Bad Boy empire
Diddy started Bad Boy Records in 1993 after he was fired as an A&R executive at Uptown Records. Now on his own, he soon found the artist that would make him a household name: The Notorious B.I.G.
B.I.G. released his first album, Ready to Die, in 1994 and it would go on to sell more than 4 million copies. His follow up, Life After Death, sold over 10 million copies. Diddy released No Way Out, his first album, in 1997 and Mase released Harlem World that year as well.
By 2001, the label's success was waning, and Diddy was moving on to businesses beyond music. That's where he would really make his fortune.
Beyond Bad Boy Records
Diddy would turn his music career into popular brands outside of music, including Sean John clothing, Aquahydrate water brand, and DeLeon tequila. But his two biggest moneymakers today are Revolt TV and a partnership with Diageo (NYSE:DEO) to market Ciroc Vodka.
The Ciroc deal was initially signed in 2007 for a 50-50 split of the brand's profits, which was estimated to bring Diddy $100 million over the course of the deal. Today, Forbes estimates that he's earning eight figures annually from Ciroc and is in for a nine-figure payday if the brand is ever sold.
Revolt TV is his move into television and it could be a hit eventually. The channel is in 25 million households and is part owned by Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), which gives it a solid distribution channel. But it's also having a hard time growing beyond its current base. If Revolt TV can become the next MTV, we could see Diddy's net worth skyrocket. If not, he'll have to settle for the hundreds of millions he's already made.
Diddy's massive net worth
Forbes estimates that once past earnings and current assets are added up, Diddy's current net worth is $735 million. That puts him just ahead of Dr. Dre's $700 million net worth even after the Beats By Dre sale last year and ahead of Jay Z's $550 million net worth.
Music may have made Diddy a household name, but it's his businesses beyond music that have led to a net worth approaching three-quarters of a billion dollars. Not bad for a kid who got fired 22 years ago and had to strike out on his own.