Will 2017 be the year of the hip hop billionaire?

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2017 may be the year that the world gets to see its first hip hop billionaire. Sean "Diddy" Combs has been racing towards the milestone and some are saying that 2017 is his year. "I predict his portfolio ... will see an overall increase in valuation strong enough to push him over the billion dollar mark," writes entrepreneur and TV host Paul Carrick Brunson in a piece that's trending on LinkedIn.

Brunson points out that there are currently fewer than five African-American billionaires. For Combs to join that exclusive club would be appropriate since, in Combs' words, "It's all about the Benjamins."

Forbes currently calculates Combs' worth to be about $750 million, so he would need to make $250 million more to cross the threshold. That's ambitious, to say the least. But he is throwing himself at the goal: His can't stop won't stop work with Ciroc Vodka, Bad Boy Records (now partnered with Epic Records), Revolt TV, Sean Jean, and AQUAhydrate all combine to create an impressive resume beyond his career as a performer. Combs attributes his success to his hard work, diversified portfolio, and entrepreneurial mindset.

Combs has also never forgotten to give back.

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He helped raise awareness for the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, recently pledged a million dollar gift to Howard University and opened a charter school in Harlem.

Close behind Combs are hip hop legends Andre "Dr. Dre" Young, coming in at $710 million, and Shawn "Jay Z" Carter with $610 million. The fact that Combs is pulling ahead is exciting considering that Dre declared himself "the first billionaire in hip hop" back in 2014. This east coast vs. west coast rivalry is likely to continue in the new year.

Whether Diddy or Dre will become the king of hip hop, revenue-wise, is still hard to say, but the fact that both are closer than ever is something to cheer about in 2017.

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