According to Forbes magazine, 2011 is a banner year for the Richest among us. There are 1,210 billionaires on planet Earth and together they have $4.5 trillion dollars. Last year Jay-Z was the wealthiest rapper in the world, rich enough from records, books, restaurants and clothing sales to be Oprah's friend. This year Diddy's Ciroc, Sean Jean and Bad Boy profits put him on top. Fueled by past earning generated from starting the Burning Man festival, Dr. Dre ranks third. Tied in 5th? Actor/tweeter/vitaminwater entrepreneur Curtis Jackson and Bryan "Birdman" Williams.
How did Birdman get on this list? For a year his son Lil Wayne, last year's #4, didn't make a ton of money and probably lost a lot to legal fees. He may have done okay selling gas—earlier this year he told Ozone Magazine he's been in the oil business with his brother for about five years, making money for his kids and his kids' kids to live off "forever." Birdman's never been a top-five selling rapper, or a household name in the same manner as former list-rankers Akon, Kanye and Snoop. That he's there is testament to a lot of hard work, good management and ruthless intentionality. Below, check out stills that track Birdman's passion for money throughout his journey to abundance. The displays have always been ample and beyond-means: foreign cars parked below sea level, fake cash tumbling out of cars and helicopters, cut up for wall-collages.