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The Empire Phenomenon: Hip-Hop Cash Kings or Klout Kings?
September 22, 2015



Fox’s hit TV show, Empire, is returning for season two. Who’s excited? If you’re not one of the 17.3 million viewers, the premise of the show is based on a music mogul and all the drama that comes with creating a dynasty. The show has been called a modern day soap opera – maybe it’s the cultural diversity, entrepreneurial hustling, salacious romances, celebrity cameos, the outrageously glam wardrobe or all of the above. But there’s no doubt that the Fox TV show has created a movement – both on social media (#TeamCookie) and in our living rooms.


But with all the pop-culture glory comes a bit of controversy. A few Hip-Hop moguls have claimed that the show is based on their life. Sean “Diddy” Combs is suing the show because he claims that Empire ripped off his life story for the lead character, Lucious Lyon. Curtis “50 cent” Jackson has also claimed that Empire is a “copy” of his TV show Power on Starz and that they even mimicked promotional efforts.


The feuds and lawsuits are very real. So we had to ask… which Hip-Hop Cash King really has the Klout to be Lucious Lyon? The timing couldn’t be more perfect because Forbes just published, “Hip-Hop Cash Kings 2015: The World’s Highest-Paid Rap Acts.”  The Forbes list names Diddy as the #1 Cash King with earnings of $60 million over the past year with Jay Z, Drake, Dr. Dre and Pharrell rounding out the top 5.  Remember, this is just based on earnings over Forbes’s 2015 scoring period, not net worth.


But in our Klout Empire, it’s actually Yeezy, who ranks as the #1 Klout King. With earnings of $22 million, Kanye West is not only a 2020 Presidential candidate, but he has the Klout to be Lucious Lyon. Maybe he received some social media points for his VMA performance or his wife Kim Kardashian West has been giving him some social media tips, but his social influence is at an all-time high. The next Klout King is Snoop Dogg followed by Lil Wayne, Eminem and Nicki Minaj. With Nicki Minaj on the list as #5, she proves that she has the social media chops to be the next Cookie.


We noticed 50 Cent didn’t make the list. Did we miss any of your favorite hip-hop moguls? And who’s tuning in to the season two premier on Wednesday, September 23 on Fox?



Francisca Fanucchi

Francisca is a Klout expert that has worked with Klout since 2014.

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