Billboard’s 2015 edition of its annual report on “Music’s Top Earners” has just dropped. As usual, the list of “highest-paid” artists brings some expected musicians and some surprises.
Taylor Swift holds the very top spot with $73.5 million made in total 2015 revenue. Whoa!
When it comes to rappers and R&B acts, J. Cole is on the top with $8.8 million earned in 2015—giving him the 28th spot on the overall list. Cole is highly admired for his earliest music where he talks about being a “broke-rapper,” guess it’s all looking up for him!
This leaves Drake behind him earning, $7.4 million last year.
Check out a transcipt from a 2013 interview where Cole talks about being a broke after college with Interview Magazine.
DAVID SHAPIRO: What did you do after college?
J. COLE: What do you mean? I got my [record] deal.
SHAPIRO: Right after college?
J. COLE: No, like, a little bit later. I thought it would come through right away but it took a little more time to get everything together.
SHAPIRO: What did you do in the interim, before you got your deal? I know you graduated summa cum laude, so you probably had a bunch of options.
J. COLE: [laughs] Ah, man. Well, actually, I graduated magna cum laude. And after college, man, that was… Well, I was broke as hell. I was renting an apartment in Queens with my roommates during school, and after we graduated, they moved out and started their careers. I didn’t really have a career at that point.
SHAPIRO: What did they do?
J. COLE: One of them went to Complex, one of them started working at a PR company, one of them started producing TV. I was just waiting for my deal to come through.
SHAPIRO: So what did you do?
J. COLE: Well, I was hitting my mom up for money. I kept hitting other people up for money, too. I just felt like a bum. I owed thousands of dollars in rent and I was just waiting on my deal. My landlord was always letting me slide, but eventually I had to give him something, even just to show that I had income. So my homie hooked me up with this job at a newspaper.
You can check out the rest of the list here.