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Despite word of a rap recession, the top 10 hip hop artists still earned more than 400 million dollars combined in 2007. Forbes magazine put out their top 20 Hip Hop earners for 2007 today and there aren’t many surprises. Despite the fact that 50 Cent’s last G-Unit Album was a total flop, he still managed to make 150 million dollars in 07.

Jay-Z, who also has suffered from lackluster album sales, also managed to rake in 84 million dollars for the year. P. Diddy managed to come up with 35 million dollars through his empire of music, TV and fashion. Five of the top ten earners doubled as producers as Kanye West, Timbaland, Pharrell, Swizz Beats and Dr. Dre all made the top 10.

Bohemian rapper, Common, made a surprise entry in top 20 earning 12 million, while dormant rappers who no albums out in 2007 such as Lil Jon, Outkast Eminem and The Game still made over 10 million.

As record sales decrease, rappers are becoming economically savvy investing in online companies, making endorsement deals, doing film and television and developing their own liquor and clothing lines. As hip hop record sales continue to decline, will rappers be savy enough to make their money out of new technologies and opportunities?

Who will reign next year 50 for a third straight year? Jay-Z as his investments develop or current soundscan king, Lil Wayne? Will these rappers invest their money wisely and become the new Rockerfellers and Carnegies or will they waste it away on cars and jewelry. Imagine how powerful Hip Hop could be if the top 20 earners combined their wealth. They could start their own mega-label and run Universal out of business or they could start their own TV channel and run Viacom out of business and have hip hop finally in control of its own destiny.

Here Are Forbes Top 20 Hip Hop Earners

1. 50 Cent – 150 million

2. Jay Z – 84 million

3. Diddy – 35 million –

4. Kanye West – 30 Million

5. Timbaland 22 Million

6. Pharrell 20 million

7. Swizz Beats 17 Million

8. Snoop 16 Million

9. Dr. Dre 15 Million

10 Ludacris 14 Million

11. TI 13 Million

11. Lil Wayne 13 Million

12. Eminem 12 Million

12. Common 12 Million

12. Akon 12 Million

13. Jermaine Dupri 11 Million

13. Lil Jon 11 Million

14. Outkast 10 Million

14. Chamillionare 10 Million

14. The Game 10 Million