By Clark Collis
Updated July 10, 2009 at 12:00 PM EDT
Money: Mike Kemp/Getty Images

The one time I interviewed Jay-Z, Iasked the rap megastar whether he’d care to lend me his $70,000Audemars Piguet watch to use as a poker stake. Hova declined toparticipate in this investment opportunity, which was probably a wisedecision, if a rather mean one, given how much that guy earns.

Yesterday, Forbes magazine reconfirmed that the rapper is unlikely tobe eating government cheese any time soon when the title published itsannual “Hip Hop Cash Kings” list — Jay-Z is at pole position with estimated earnings of $35 million, Diddy came second with $30 million, Kanye West got bronze with $25 million, both 50 Cent and Akon raked in $20 million, and somehow Lil Wayne is going to have to make ends meet with a paltry $18 million.

Forbes also notes that many of the artists can often thankendorsement deals or other extra-musical activities for much of theirnewfound wealth (What’s up, Vitamin Water). But how much do you think they deserve to beremunerated purely for their output?

Is Jay-Z still worth twice as muchas Lil Wayne based on the music he has produced over the past 12months? (We won’t see his Blueprint 3 ’til this September, but an ownership stake in the New Jersey Nets certainly doesn’t hurt his cashflow.) Would you pay 50 Cent anything at all given how long it’s takenhim to release his new album? Do tell, in the comments section below.

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