LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs topped a list of hip hop's wealthiest artists compiled by Forbes on Wednesday, beating out contemporaries Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Birdman and 50 Cent.
Combs' net worth was estimated at $550 million, including high returns from his investment in Ciroc vodka as well as clothing lines Sean John and Enyce, record label Bad Boy, marketing company Blue Flame and numerous tech start-ups.
The "I'll Be Missing You" rapper, 42, beat out hip hop mogul Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, who came in at No. 2 with a net worth of $460 million.
Carter, 42, who is married to R&B superstar Beyonce, continued to rake in substantial earnings from music and tours after signing a $150 million deal with concert promoters Live Nation in 2008, as well as investments in the New Jersey Nets basketball team, the 40/40 club chain and numerous other business ventures.
Pioneering rapper Dr. Dre, 47, who has worked with top artists including Eminem and 50 Cent, took the No. 3 position, with a net worth of $260 million, a bulk of which comes from his headphone company, Beats Electronics, which he co-owns with Interscope Records founder Jimmy Iovine.
The top five was rounded out by Cash Money Records co-founder Bryan "Birdman" Williams, 43, at No. 4 with a net worth of $125 million, while Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, 36, takes the No. 5 spot with $110 million, and earned $100 million in 2007 for his stake in the VitaminWater drink.
The Forbes Five list is compiled by the publication's editors after valuing current holdings, past earnings, financial documents and speaking to analysts and experts in the field.
The list only took into account hip hop artists and rappers who perform, and did not include producers and other industry influencers behind the scenes.
The full list of 2012's wealthiest hip hop artists can be found on Forbes.com/forbesfive.
(Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy, Editing by Jill Serjeant)