The American rapper, singer, record producer, actor and entrepreneur Sean Diddy Combs has topped the Forbes' list of wealthiest hip-hop artists, leaving behind Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Bryan Birdman Williams and 50 Cent.

According to Forbes reports, Diddy's net worth was estimated at $550 million, closest to becoming a billionaire. He has ascribed the high figure to his many ventures, including clothing lines Sean John and Enyce, marketing firm Blue Flame, record label Bad Boy and a handful of tech startups.

Jay-Z, however, is close behind in the second place on the Forbes' list with $460 million. He sold his Rocawear clothing label for $204 million in 2007 and signed a 10-year $150 million deal with Live Nation in 2008. He also boasts stakes in the New Jersey Nets, his 40/40 Club chain, advertising firm Translation, cosmetics company Carol's Daughter and other businesses.

Placed at the third position was Dr. Dre with $260 million, followed by Cash Money Records co-founder Birdman Williams with $125 million and rapper 50 Cent with a net worth of $110 million.

The Queens-born rapper, 50 Cent, earned $100 million on the sale of his Vitaminwater stake in 2007 and tens of millions more from touring, record sales and clothing, but spent freely on cars and renovations to his mansion, formerly owned by Mike Tyson.

The list released by Forbes is based on current holdings, past earnings, financial documents and interviews with analysts. Click Start to take a look at the richest rappers of 2012.