By Keith Staskiewicz
Updated August 18, 2010 at 12:00 PM EDT

Forbes has once again taken time from covering entrepreneurs who work with short-term CDs and gold-backed bonds to cover those who work with 12-track CDs and gold teeth. And again, Jay-Z has topped the business magazine’s annual list of highest-earning hip-hop stars, raking in an impressive $63 million over the past year. That’s over twice as much as his nearest competition, Diddy, and $28 million more than he made last year.

Kanye West experienced one of the bigger drops, going from third place in 2009 all the way down to 10th, right behind Pharrell (the only other artist in the Top 20 who uses his real name). Kanye’s drop could be a result of VMA backlash and his subsequent laying-low, but with a new album coming up, it’s hard to imagine that his estimated $12 million won’t increase soon.

Personally, I was surprised that a lot of the names on the list, like Diddy, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, haven’t had a huge hit in awhile. Also, where’s MC Hammer? I would have assumed that his Cash 4 Gold investment strategy would have paid off by now. I’m probably less surprised at the names on the list than I am at the names on the list. Calvin? Clifford? Aubrey? Lonnie? Somehow I think I now understand the need for their monikers. Here’s the full list:

1. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter

2. Sean “Diddy” Combs

3. Aliuane “Akon” Thiam

4. Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter

5. Andre “Dr. Dre” Young

6. Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges

7. Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus

8. Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley

9. Pharrell Williams

10. Kanye West

11. Aubrey “Drake” Graham

12. Clifford “T.I.” Harris

13. Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean

14. Marshall “Eminem” Mathers/Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson (tie)

16. Jay “Young Jeezy” Jenkins

17. Lonnie “Common” Lynn Jr.

18. DeAndre “Soulja Boy” Way/Faheem “T-Pain” Najm (tie)

20. Jonathan “Lil Jon” Smith/Radric “Gucci Mane” Davis/William “Rick Ross” Roberts (tie)

Anyone you’re surprised to see? Anyone you’re surprised not to see?