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J. Cole‘s touring, hit album and publishing earned him $8.8 million in 2015, more than any other rapper that year, reports Billboard.

Billboard compiled and released a “highest-paid musicians” of 2015 list that featured the earnings of 40 singers, rappers and musicians across different genres.

Unsurprisingly, Taylor Swift topped the list raking in $75.3 million in revenue in 2015. Hip-Hop artists were sparse on the list with just four appearing. Nicki Minaj made $6.3 million, Drake $7.4 million and The Weeknd $8.6 million. However J. Cole topped them all clocking in $8.8 million and ranking at #27 overall.

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Per Billboard:

J. Cole is one of just eight artists on the Money Makers list (five more didn’t make the cut, according to Billboard estimates) to rack up more than 1 billion streams in 2015. Cole also was one of eight acts on the list to generate more than $1 million in publishing revenue.


While Cole may still believe that, “Billionaires with petroleum and coal money, Probably kill they selves if they had Cole money” like he rapped on his 2014 song “Mo’ Money,” this financial feat is something to be proud off.

His critically-acclaimed 2014 album Forrest Hills Drive was crowned an instant classic, making headlines for going platinum and getting nominated for a Grammy, being the only Hip-Hop album in a while to have no features. The accompanying tour saw consecutive nights of sellout shows and also had an HBO documentary.

Here is a breakdown of J. Cole compared to Drake and Nicki.

Wealthy Rappers

Billboard explained how they came up with their numbers:

Money Makers was compiled with Nielsen Music and Billboard Boxscore, using 2015 U.S. data only…Revenue from merchandising, synchronization and sponsorship is not included. The following royalty rates, minus a 4 percent producer’s fee, were used: album and track sales, 22 percent of retail revenue; streaming revenue, 22 percent for current artists and 50 percent for heritage artists. Publishing royalties were estimated using statutory mechanical rates for album and track sales; the Copyright Royalty Board streaming formula; and an average of $2.50 per play for hit radio and 60 cents per play for heritage spins. For labels’ direct deals with interactive services, blended audio and video rates of, respectively, $0.0063 and $0.0015. (A 10 percent manager’s fee was deducted from each category.) Touring revenue, after the manager’s cut, equals 34 percent of an act’s Boxscore. The top 10 lists for sales royalties were calculated based on physical and digital albums and track sales, the streaming royalty list, track on-demand audio and video streams, and estimated royalties from webcasting, SiriusXM and Music Choice.