Either an anaconda ate all the female hip hop artists in America or there's a major gender disparity in the industry. Forbes just released its list of the 25 highest-paid hip-hop acts, and there appears that only one woman made the cut: Nicki Minaj.
The 31-year-old "Anaconda" rapper appeared at No. 11 on the list having raked in $14 million in the last year. "She earns big from an array of endorsements from the likes of Mac, OPI and Pepsi—as well as her own Myx moscato," according to Forbes.
But Minaj's income pales in comparison to that of the Top 5 male artists on the list.
According to Forbes, the list was compiled from the following sources of income from June 2013 to 2014: touring, record sales, publishing, merchandise sales and endorsements. In the No. 1 is Dr. Dre with $620 million (largely thanks to his headphones, Beats, recently bought by Apple), with Diddy and Jay-Z in the second/third spot at $60 million each. A not-so-close third is Canadian rapper Drake, whose fourth album, "Nothing Was the Same," helped him take home $33 million last year. Grammy-winning hip hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis came in a close fifth with $32 million combined.
Rounding out the Top 10 were Kanye West ($30 million), Birdman ($24 million), Lil Wayne ($23 million), Pharrell Williams ($22 million) and Eminem ($18 million).
So what happened to all the women? Where are female hip-hop artists like Lil' Kim, Missy Elliot, Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah? Forbes offered an explanation last year, when Minaj was once again the only woman on the list. That time, she landed at No. 4 with approximately $29 million in earnings, having been the only female making the cut since 2007.
"While a slew of upcoming female rappers have the potential to earn seven figures someday soon, in recent years, no woman MC other than Minaj has gained mainstream recognition and the record sales, touring, and endorsement deals that go along with it," Forbes explained.
But Iggy Azalea could be on her way. Earlier this year, the 24-year-old Aussie released her album, “The New Classic,” which celebrated the highest chart debut since Nicki Minaj's "Pink Friday" in 2010. She is also the first woman in hip hop with two hits ("Fancy" and "Problem") at once in the Billboard Hot 100 top five.
According to Billboard, that translates to a "mere" $5 million (at most) in earnings this year, but don't be surprised if Azalea breaks through to land on Forbes' list next year.