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P. DIDDY / Sean Combs to Become HIP HOP FIRST BILLIONAIRE?

Shortly after the release of Forbes’ first Hip-Hop Cash Kings package in 2007, the three top earners–Jay-Z, Diddy and 50 Cent–celebrated their financial victory over mortal rappers by recording a new version of 50 Cent’s “I Get Money,” dubbing it “The Billion-Dollar Remix.”

This week we’ve released a new list, one that measures rappers not by annual earnings, but by net worth. We’ve dubbed this select group “The Forbes Five.” Sure enough, our original holy trinity of moneymaking is present; their fortunes total just over $1 billion. And there’s plenty of room to grow, especially for Diddy, who leads the pack with $475 million.

Full Coverage: The Forbes Five — Hip-Hop’s Wealthiest Artists

The artist formerly known as Puff Daddy amassed his fortune chiefly through clothing line Sean John, record label Bad Boy and, most of all, Ciroc vodka. Television shows, acting gigs and lucrative guest appearances add have added to his coffers. Back in 1999, he told Forbes that one day he’d be “bigger than David Geffen.” Diddy isn’t there yet, but with a little bit of luck, he could be hip-hop’s first billionaire. Here’s why.
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Diddy’s ten-figure dreams hinge on a lucrative partnership with Diageo’s Ciroc vodka. Diddy teamed up with alcohol conglomerate back in 2007 with the aim of perking up sales for the fledgling spirit. Diageo agreed to split any profits with him; if the company ever sold Ciroc, he’d be entitled to a share of the proceeds. The rationale: Why not? The brand wasn’t selling, and Diddy was always known for having a flair for marketing.

“The product is important,” says Jack Russo, an equity analyst at Edward Jones & Co. “But the name on the product is about ten times as important.”

Even so, the executives at Diageo could never have expected just how much Diddy’s presence would boost sales. In 2007 sleepy Ciroc was moving cases at a rate of 60,000 per six months, or 120,000 per year. In 2009 Diddy’s second year with the brand, Ciroc moved 400,000 cases. This year Ciroc is on pace to sell more than 1 million cases. The boom was fueled in large part by Diddy’s diligent shilling—on billboards, in lyrics, on Twitter and even through a self-proclaimed nickname, “Ciroc Obama.” “p.diddy” “sean combs” “bad boy ent” “bad boy” “new york city” “new york” nyc forbes billionaire status millionaire elite vip “net worth” success “hip hop” positivity “positive thinking” responsibility entrepreneur earnings family job employment dollar usd dollars charity future ceo business celebrity lifestyle “super rich” wealth wealthy assets asset tycoon “start a business” poverty poor music “p.diddy album” single “hip hop music” 2013 2014 u.s. “united states” america usa first “rich list” media news bank banking savings investment investing hiso report

When you’re a successful hip hop artist, you can do whatever you like.

P. Diddy has changed his name several times from the original Sean Combs (which he still uses for film roles); he was behind much of the most popular hip-hop of the 90s (in the 2000s…not so much); ran the New York City marathon (coming in a respectable 11,359th place); appeared on Downton Abbey (sorta) and he’s even recently started his own cable network (and he’s going door-to-door to promote it for TimeWarnerCable).

So if you can do all those things, what else is there left to do?

Well if you’re Puff, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy or Swag, you can change your birthday.

Initially when his mom Janice gave birth to him, it was on Nov. 4, 1969. But he’s a busy man so he’s pushing it back just 12 days, he tweets:

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