Jay-Z Says Rappers Lie About Their Money, and He's Right

'Business Week' graphic analyzes lyrics from Dr. Dre, Pitbull and more

July 10, 2013 5:55 PM ET
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Made With Elastic

On "Versus," an interlude from Jay-Z's new album Magna Carta . . . Holy Grail, the rapper takes wealth-boasting to a new level, noting that other MCs are deceptive about how rich they truly are. "The truth in my verses," he rhymes, "versus your metaphors about what your net worth is." And thanks to an interactive chart from Business Weekthat compares rappers' real-life wealth with quotes from their lyrics, fans can now fact-check their favorite artists.

100 Greatest Artists: Jay-Z

The tool supports Jay-Z's claims of overblown wealth, pulling data from Forbes' "Cash Kings of Hip Hop" and "Forbes Five" reports. At the bottom of the exaggeration chart is reclusive producer/rapper Dr. Dre, whose 1997 track "Been There, Done That" features the lyric "Imma keep buildin', make a killin/ Kick back, relax, and grow old with my millions" – Business Week is letting Dre slide, since he's currently worth $350 million. At the top is Pitbull, the most notorious bragger, who claims to make "billions" on this year's smash "Live This Moment." The chart lists his actual 2012 earnings as a cool $9.5 million.

Meanwhile, Jay-Z himself is also put to the test. "H*A*M," his 2011 collaboration with Kanye West, features a boast about earning "half a billi," which is shockingly accurate: Business Week lists his net worth as $475 million.

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