Eminem vs. Jay-Z: Who’s the Real King of Hip-Hop?


Last week, Forbes published their annual “Cash Kings of 2011” list, counting down hip-hop’s top 20 earners. The winner was Jay-Z, who has raked in $37 million over the past year. But now, Rolling Stone has come up with their own “Kings of Hip-Hop” list, another top 20 that includes most of the same names but places Eminem at #1. The difference between the rankings is that, while Forbes only takes into account rappers’ earnings, RS has a more holistic (and music-focused) view, incorporating all of the following criteria: “album sales, rankings on the R&B/hip-hop and rap charts, YouTube views, social media, concert grosses, industry awards and critics’ ratings.”

So, which list gives us a better idea of who’s most influential in hip-hop? It depends whether we’re taking a short of long view. Rolling Stone definitely does a better job of picking out rappers who have released popular and acclaimed albums recently — that is, 2011’s biggest hip-hop stars. What Forbes gives us is a ranking of musicians-turned-moguls (or moguls-turned-musicians) who have proven their staying power by becoming a personal brand. In other words, Eminem is having a very good year, but Jay-Z will be around forever. Check out both lists after the jump and weigh in Eminem vs. Jay-Z in the comments.

Rolling Stone‘s “King of Hip-Hop” list:

1. Eminem 2. Lil Wayne 3. Drake 4. Kanye West 5. Jay-Z 6. Nicki Minaj 7. Rick Ross 8. Ludacris 9. Gucci Mane 10. T.I. 11. Snoop Dogg 12. Diddy 13. Pitbull 14. Fabolous 15. Wiz Khalifa 16. B.O.B. 17. Waka Flocka Flame 18. Lupe Fiasco 19. Kid Cudi 20. Big Boi

Forbes’ “Cash Kings of 2011” list:

1. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, $37 million 2. Sean “Diddy” Combs, $35 million 3. Kanye West, $16 million 4. Dwayne “Lil’ Wayne” Carter and Bryan “Birdman” Williams, $15 million 6. Marshall “Eminem” Mathers, Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, and Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus, $14 million 9. Aliuane “Akon” Thiam, $13 million 10. Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges, $12 million 11. Cameron “Wiz Khalifa” Thomaz and Aubrey “Drake” Graham, $11 million 13. Pharrell Williams, $10 million 14. Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley, $7 million 15. Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean and Onika “Nicki Minaj” Maraj, $6.5 million 17. William “Rick Ross” Roberts, Armando “Pitbull” Perez, and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, $6 million 20. Faheem “T-Pain” Najm, Bobby “B.o.B.” Simmons Jr., $5 million