(Radio.com) A quick glance at Forbes' latest music moneymakers list, "Cash Kings 2013: The World's Highest-Paid Hip-Hip Artists," turns up the cavalcade of usual superstar suspects: Diddy (who leads the list with $50 million generated over the past 12 months), Jay Z ($43 million), Dr. Dre ($40 million) and Nicki Minaj ($29 million) hold down the top four spots.
A closer look at the full line-up, however, reveals a handful of most unexpected artists among rap music's top finance generators. Amidst hip-hop's current crop of cash cows are indie rap legends, former chart-toppers turned entrepreneurs and one mid-'00s pop culture hero who's found new life in the neon-soaked world of EDM.
Lil Jon (No. 20, $6 million) Atlanta's Lil Jon is another rapper/producer who enjoyed an early 2000s heyday, responsible for a long list of hits with his group, the East Side Boyz, as a solo act and serving as the knob-twiddler for a cavalcade of superstar artists. Usher ("Yeah!") and the Yin-Yang Twins ("Salt Shaker") were among those who benefited from Jon's Midas touch. He even earned an ongoing parody on Dave Chappelle's legendary TV show. Now Lil Jon rakes in big bucks as an EDM DJ, rocking major festivals like Ultra in Miami and even making tracks with such electronic mainstays as Steve Aoki and Laidback Luke.
Questlove (No. 20, $6 million) Long revered in the hip-hop world as the drummer for Philadelphia's legendary Roots crew, the drummer's profiled hit the masters when the Roots famously became the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Now the longtime spinner grows his income with upwards of 200 DJ gigs a year, including high-profile slots in Las Vegas and a roaming midday lunch mix event in New York City. He also found the time to write a book, Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove. See two more surprising entries on the list.