Originally published on Forbes.com on January 11, 2011.
In a shocking turn of events, Jay-Z has used the microphone to proclaim his financial superiority over the rest of his hip-hop peers. The assertion comes in a new song with Kanye West entitled “H.A.M.,” which stands for “Hard As a (Mofo)” and is the first single from the duo’s upcoming collaboration album, Watch the Throne.
On the track, released on Kanye’s Facebook page early Tuesday morning, Jay-Z complains that his competitors merely fantasize about what he does on a daily basis — including, but not limited to, schmoozing with Warren Buffet and Steve Forbes. He also cites this writer’s $450 million valuation of his personal net worth, rounding up slightly to “half a billie,” before taking a shot at a fellow Hip-Hop Cash King or two: “Really, you got baby money.”
The line is a double entendre meant both as a general reference to the small amount of money that other rappers have in comparison to Jay-Z, and as a specific reference to the wealth of rapper Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter, also known as “Weezy Baby,” and fellow New Orleans rapper and record executive Brian “Birdman” Williams, also known as “Baby.”
The latter recently claimed the former had more money than Jay-Z, which is simply not true. Jay-Z earned $63 million dollars last year, tops on our list of hip-hop’s top earners, while Lil Wayne banked $20 million. Birdman did not make the list.
Perhaps the best line on Jay-Z’s new track is a verifiable and, one might say progressive, boast: “(You) ain’t got my lady’s money!”
Indeed, Beyoncé took in a whopping $87 million by our last annual count, more than any rapper — and more than Jay-Z and Lil Wayne combined.