In a world plagued by consumerism and materialism, our love of hefty price tags comes as no surprise. I mean let’s face it, the GFC was essentially the upshot of people- primarily pillocks- spending money they simply didn’t have.

The term ballin’ derives from the ridiculous amounts of money bequeathed to NBA (National Basketball Association) players as salaries, and which in turn sparked a nationwide obsession with an ostentatious and lavish lifestyle. This lifestyle was quick to be adopted by gun-toting rappers and the hip hop culture at large as they too were netting big pay packages, although not quite in the same bracket as the pro basketball players. Howbeit, some hip hop luminaries nowadays like Jay-Z and P.Diddy have exceeded their athletic counterparts.

Ballin’ thrives on narcissism- perhaps even chauvinism- and the continual struggle to beautify oneself for the public eye, pushed forward by certain media outlets condoning all things lush and plush. In essence though, it is all about flaunting. Flaunting cars, flaunting dresses, flaunting houses, flaunting chains. Prima facie, the key to the city, although simply put- bragging rights. The only hindrance to such overt behaviour and display is the prerequisite of a ton of cash. This is when being a hip hop mogul, producer or musician, an athlete, an actor, an heir/heiress, a CEO, a drug or war lord, a partner in a law firm, a cyber millionaire or a merchant banker can really be beneficial to your cause. Ballin’ used to saturate its foundation, the hip hop culture, but now it appears to have become interchangeable with pop culture. Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Rihanna are just some of the pop divas to embrace this excessive lifestyle.

So in keeping with this trend- and by disentangling the somewhat broad meaning of ballin’- we get down to the core: money.

And as long as it exists, we may as well celebrate its absurdity. And this is exactly what this site will do. It is a wealth of wealth. Anything concerning monolithic amounts of money you will find here. Modern accessories for the dapper gentleman, yachts more akin to avant-garde cities than vessels of the sea, cognac worth more than your car; you get the picture: Extravagance. Enjoy; and dream. Yours Sincerely,

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin

Advertisements

Touring and selling albums has become a small component of the hip hop artist’s repertoire today. A growing number of rapper-cum-entrepreneurs have parlayed their fame into lucrative entertainment empires, mastering the arts of branding and cross-promotion. They have established licensing deals for everything from booze to books, begun their own record labels and clothing lines, and have even set up their own restaurants and bars. The most successful of these ‘hip-hopreneurs’ run their own labels and take cuts from the artists with whom they sign. The artists themselves aren’t the only ones cashing in, with the rapid corporatisation of the industry seeing a growing number of endorsement deals take place in the last five years.

“I never got into it for the music. I got into it for the business”, 50 Cent told Forbes in 2005.

2006 saw southern rapper Chamillionaire sign a deal with Energizer ($11 million), the Game ink a contract with Skechers sneakers ($11 million), and the appointing of Jay-Z as Co-Brand Director for Budweiser Select.

Producing beats and tracks for other artists has also proved a profitable avenue, with the following accalimed producers making these amounts in 2006:

Timbaland: $21 million

Scott Storch: $17 million

Producer Scott Storch lays claim to owning what has been dubbed the most powerful and most expensive car on earth, the Bugatti Veyron. Only 60 Bugatti Veyrons, which sell for about $1.5 million apiece, were manufactured last year.

Pharrell Williams: $17 million

Producer and artist Pharrell Williams is the proud owner of a rare Ferrari Enzo (estimated cost: $652,000).

Ferrari

The Ferrari Enzo

Some hip hop artists however, earn their crust from featuring as cameos on other artists’ tracks, with Snoop Dogg ($17million) being one of the dearer and more sought-after names, appearing on singles from artists like AkonMariah Carey and the Pussycat Dolls.

Here’s a look at a few of the biggest hip hop cash kings in the industry today…

puff daddy

Sean “Diddy” Combs 

As number one on Forbes Five most wealthy Hip hop artists list, hip hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs has amassed a fortune of $475 million, closely followed by Jay-Z, who has an estimated wealth of $450 million. Diddy’s empire is vast and eclectic, and is throned by his joint-venture with Diageo for the popular vodka Ciroc. His other endeavours include Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group, an enterprise responsible for TV series like MTV’s Making the Band franchise, the Sean John clothing line, the bestselling Unforgivable cologne and two restaurants called Justin’s in New York and Atlanta, named after one of his sons.

Jay-ZJay-Z

Shawn Carter, AKA Jay-Z, seems to be a juggernaut in the hip hop industry, showing no signs of slowing down with an estimated net worth of $450 million. Presiding over Def Jam Recordings, co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records and the owner of the 40/40 Club sports bar franchise, he also has a stake in the New Jersey Nets and has sold 50 million albums worldwide. In March of 2006, Jay-Z sold his Rocawear apparel label to Iconix for $204 million. It is estimated he pocketed a quarter of that, after taxes and other financial commitments. He also has blue-chip endorsement deals with Budweiser, Hewlett-Packard and General Motors. Performance-wise, Jay Z receives $1,000,000 per show as part of a $150 million deal made with concert promoter Live Nation, and if that isn’t enough, his superstar wife Beyoncé amassed $87 million over the past 12 months. He recently gave an interview alongside Warren Buffet. Check some of it out below-

Jay also just launched a new website which you can check out here-  http://lifeandtimes.com/

fiddy

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson

In 2007 , Coca-cola bought 50 Cent’s Vitamin Water “Formula 50” as part of the drinks company Glaceau, leaving 50 with $100 million after tax. 50’s portfolio also includes the popular G-Unit clothing line and record label, plus films, videogames and a slew of platinum albums.

As 50 Cent says of lesser entrepreneurs, “They’re trying to buy some Gucci, I’m trying to buy the mall”.

Some other heavy yielders of 2010 and their crops:

Akon: $21 million

Akon has Konvict Clothing label, a lucrative World Cup soccer ad campaign for Pepsi, and Kon Live, his Interscope-backed imprint that’s home to Lady Gaga and others.

Lil Wayne: $20 million

cash money

Ludacris: $16 million

Ludacris now seems to feature more on the big screen than in hip hop tracks. But that aside, he just started up a new cognac, Conjure.

Kanye West: $12 million

Drake: $9 million

Drake came into a new record deal, established an advertising contract with Sprite, and made an agreement with Virgin America which will soon see him plastered down the sides of 747s.

Dr Dre is worth $125 million, stemming from his own career and record label which has helped to launch those of Snoop Dogg and Eminem, to name a few.

dre

Cash Money Records co-founder Bryan “Birdman” Williams is worth $100 million. His brother is in fact the co-founder so the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

cash money records

In early 2010 Birdman formed an oil and gas exploration company, Bronald Oil and Gas, LLC. The company was a joint venture founded by Birdman and his brother Slim, and the name was a combination of the brothers’ first names, Bryan and Ronald. Evidence of the company’s actual business operations was scant, limited mostly to a website and the appearance of a “pumpjack” tattoo on the side of Birdman’s head. The website indicated that the company’s strategy would be to first develop existing land holdings and seek out new oil and gas leases. In February of 2010, Birdman told Ozone Magazine that he had been in the oil business for “4 or 5 years” and was “making good money off that”. However, by March of 2010, Birdman had almost completely covered the pumpjack tattoo, which sparked speculation that the Bronald Oil project had stalled. As of March 2011, the Bronald Oil website was still operational, but had not been updated since its launch.

The Ducati Diavel Carbon embodies the true nature of the Diavel concept, where performance combines with style to celebrate Italian engineering at its best. Lightweight composites and milled aluminium components meld the two worlds of sport and style with features that are both visually beautiful and functionally high-performance.

The Diavel Carbon incorporates the very latest in innovative Ducati technologies, including the recently introduced electronic Riding Modes. Selectable from the left-hand switchgear – even while riding – the choice of three pre-set modes (Urban/Touring/Sport) are programmed to instantly change the character of the Diavel.

Price: €14 400

Carbon motorbike

The new Lamborghini Murcielago was recently unveiled in the US under the name Lamborghini Aventador. The LP700-4 Aventador is powered by a 6.5-liter V12 engine that produces 700 PS (690 bhp / 515 kW) and 690 Nm (509 lb-ft) of torque. It is connected to a Graziano ISR 7-speed automatic (single clutch with dual sychronizers) transmission and a Haldex all-wheel drive system that enables the supercar to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 2.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 350 km/h (217 mph). It has a full carbon fiber monocoque or passenger cell that weighs just 147.5 kilograms, while the whole body tips the scales at 229.5 kilograms (505 lbs).

Price: €260 420

Supercar

Luzzo Bespoke presents the Bugatti Executive Desk. Inspired by the Bugatti Grand Prix racing cars of the late 20s and early 30s, details of the cars have been transferred to the design of this office head-turner.

The drive gears for the height adjustment are a scaled-up version of the Winfield carburetor synchronization quadrants from a Type 57, and the drawer fronts reflect the honeycombed grill.

The construction of the Bugatti Grand Prix car inspired desk is influenced by the methods used by Bugatti in that time. Where there would have been cast aluminum parts, they have machined them from billet with the rest of the construction made up of aluminum frames clad in riveted aluminum sheet. The level of detail incorporated into the desk is an upshot of over 3000 hours of CAD, machining, polishing, sheet metal work and lacquering.

An Apple Mac computer, which is deployed via a motorized mechanism and disappears into the desk at the touch of a button is included in the stylish desk, while the drawers are lockable and self-closing. The desk has then been finished in French racing blue lacquer with a tan leather writing area, which is very reminiscent of the Bugatti’s of that era.

The Bugatti Type 35 inspired desk is priced at $243 425  (€170 000)

Bugatti

Lather yourself in some decadence; slide into Baldi‘s new crystal bathtub with a flute of Champagne. The bathtub has been crafted out of a single block of the purest white rock crystal, quarried in the Amazon region.

Discovered by Paolo Baldi, the ten-ton block of crystal was transported to Italy intact and was then sculpted with diamond cuts. The Crystal Bathtub measures 2m in length and 55cm in height.

Price: $790 000 ( €530 000)

Baldi

Alexander Amosu, renowned luxury phone customizer, presents the Black Diamond Blackberry, created using 18 karat black gold and approximately 1400 diamonds.

Price: $26 000 (€18 350)

Blackberry

The world’s wealthiest individuals can now shop and swipe in style with the release of the JP Morgan Palladium credit card. The card is made of palladium, a rare silvery metal that resembles platinum, and 23 karats of gold. The typical JP Morgan Palladium card-holder will have an estimated 30 million dollars in savings and can only become a cardholder if he or she belongs to a private bank.

The annual fee to use this new credit card is just short of $600 (about €425), a price that seems rather small considering the credit card bears no limit.

Price: $1 000

Credit card

Last year at the Paris Motor Show, Lamborghini presented their Sesto Elemento, a stunning carbon based exotic supercar.

Priced at $2.92 million, the amazing car will enter dealerships in the 2011 third quarter and will be limited to 20 models.

The chassis, body, driveshaft and suspension components are made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), a material that the Italian firm has been refining with other companies, including Boeing. In addition to the cutting-edge design the tailpipes are made from Pyrosic, a glass and ceramic composite that can withstand temperatures of up to 900 degrees celsius.

Lamborghini

In Chengdu, Sichuan province in China, a shop is selling a rare fish, the Red Dragon Flour Fish.

Price: 360 000 Yuan (about $55 000), and an additional 300 Yuan per month for care of the fish.

Fish

Harry Allen created this opulent piggy bank for crystal company Steuben.

The Crystal Piggy Bank uses a pig’s snout in lieu of the traditional coin slot. When you cap it, the stopper doubles as the nostrils.

He’s just hungry for your money”  (Harry Allen)

And he certainly is.  Price: $1 900 (€1 325)

Piggy bankSmothering more than 10 000 sq-ft of the finest waterfront land on Newport Beach, California, the property overlooks the widest expanse of the bay.

The residence includes a magnificent two story entry gallery and features the most outstanding private dock facilities on the bay.  A single yacht of up to 156 feet in length can be accommodated in addition to multiple secondary boats and watercraft.

Price: $28.5 million

Mansion

vodka

The most expensive vodka in the world, Russo-Baltique, is now giving away a free car with every bottle you purchase. Buyers of the $1.3 million vodka will drive away in a Dartz Prombron Wagon- one of the fastest multi-terrain armored vehicles in the world. The flask comes in a dazzling gold decanter made  from gold coins minted between 1908 and 1912, and the bottle is crafted with 30 cm thick bulletproof glass. Doesn’t seem like the Russians care much for the proof of the vodka.

lamborghini

The most powerful and expensive Lamborghini ever built, the Reventón’s exterior is not dissimilar to a jet fighter plane. It takes 3.3 seconds to reach 60 km / h and reaches a top speed of 356km/h. Only 20 were ever made, aside from one additional produced for the Lamborghini museum. It retailed for $1.5 million.

This luxury Emerald and Diamond Tiara goes under the hammer on May 17 at one of the most important Magnificent & Noble Jewels auction by Sotheby’s in 30 years. The tiara was created with 11 pear-shaped rare Colombian emeralds that collectively weigh over 500 carats. It is expecting that it will be go for a hefty $10.6 million, while the lower estimate is still quite cushy at $5.3 million.

Rapper Bryan Williams AKA Birdman, the co-founder of Cash Money Records, has been bragging on Twitter about the Maybach Exelero he recently purchased for $8 million. Birdman also holds another Maybach model in his garage, the Landaulet, as well as the famed Bugatti Veyron. Birdman’s fortune is estimated at $ 100 million.

If you’ve forever been pestered by not knowing who the man in the moon is, then soon you will have the chance to strip the veil of anonymity from him. Recently, a company called Space Adventures announced that it would be mapping out space tourist trips around the moon. The flight would last about a week and would take passengers around the dark side of the moon and come within 65 miles of the lunar surface. The project set to take off in 3 – 5 years will cost about $150 million per trip. I think that’s pretty reasonable.

The Ecosse Titanium Series FE Ti XX super bike is the final bike in the Ecosse Moto Works’ Heretic series, which will become the newest most expensive motorcycle in the world, costing a cool $300,000.

super bike

With a body made out of carbon fiber and aluminum, the 910 horse power Koenigsegg Agera can accelerate from standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under 3.1 seconds. One advantage this sexy car has over its competitors is cabin and luggage space. Sure, it’s not the first thing you look for when you’re in the market for a supercar, but at $1.5 million, you’re going to take any perk you can get.

super car

The glamorous Cannes Film Festival is about to kick off again in the South of France, beginning May 11 until May 22. The Yacht Company (YCO) will be specifically chartering their 60m yacht, the Oasis, at the event, and you’re invited on board for between $480, 000 and $510, 000 for the week. The yacht has an outdoor cinema too, if you’re wondering.

A sturdy Scandinavian design coupled with a name descendant of a  Norse god, this slice of mobile phone modernity and luxury has been described by the CEO of the company as, ‘an anti-smartphone’. The Æ+Y phone from Aesir costs $61, 000.

Now the price tag might see exorbitant, but the hours behind this masterpiece give an idea of the intricacy involved. All the diamonds used in this watch come from the bellows of a far east Russian mine in Yakutsk. More than 270 carats of rough diamonds were chosen from a batch of 1500 carats, and from these the stones to be used were selected. For about a month, 45 gemcutters pored over the stones to create 637 baguette diamonds, totaling just over 141 carats. What began as a light-hearted confidential challenge between Hublot‘s CEO and the gemstone setters turned into a tour de force of patience and perfection. The result, the perfect fusion between jewelery and watchmaking. Price: €2 million