Could Dr. Dre Become Hip Hop’s First Billionaire with Apple-Beats Deal?

FILE - This May 15, 2013 file photo shows hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre as he announces a $70 million dollar donation to create the new "Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts and Technology and Business Innovation," at the University of Southern California, in Santa Monica, Calif. The audio cable company Monster was in a coveted position as the decade began after launching what would become the hottest headphones on the market, Beats by Dre. The audio devices had hip-hop/production legend Dr. Dre as its namesake and soon became synonymous with headphone chic. The audio cable company was in a coveted position as the decade began after launching what would become the hottest headphones on the market, Beats by Dre. The audio devices had hip-hop/production legend Dr. Dre as its namesake and soon became synonymous with headphone chic. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre as he announces a $70 million dollar donation to create the new "Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts and Technology and Business Innovation," at the University of Southern California, in Santa Monica, Calif.
Damian Dovarganes/AP photo

From N.W.A to billionaire? Dr. Dre is set to become hip hop’s richest man with the reported $3.2 billion deal for Apple to buy Beats Electronics, according to Forbes.

A sale for $3.2 billion would nearly double the value of Dre's holdings, though capital gains taxes could take a bite out of his big payday, likely leaving him with a net worth in the neighborhood of $800 million. It's not quite enough to land on the Forbes 400, but it would easily make him hip-hop's richest man, topping current champion Diddy by $100 million.

Though Dre may end up just shy of being a billionaire with the deal, in many ways the hip hop mogul has already laid down the framework to possibly hit that goal.

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He put his stamp on music history and helped define hip hop culture in the ‘80s alongside Ice Cube and Eazy-E as a member of the west coast rap group N.W.A before becoming a successful solo artist.

And over his career, Dre has worked behind the scenes as a producer, creating chart-topping tracks for a variety of other successful artists. He founded Aftermath Entertainment in 1996, where he has developed talent and helped launch the careers of several superstars as the Associated Press points out.

Dre is also responsible for bringing forth rap king Snoop Dogg, rap king Eminem, rap king 50 Cent and rising rap prince Kendrick Lamar. Outside of those acts, beats by Dre -- literally -- include tracks like Tupac's classic "California Love," Eve and Gwen Stefani's Grammy-winning "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" and Mary J. Blige's only song to hit No. 1, the party jam "Family Affair."

In 2008, Dre founded Beats Electronics with Jimmy Iovine, the chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records. The company includes Beats by Dre headphones and speakers as well as Beats Audio, a streaming music service. And the company has appeal beyond just music and hardware as Forbes notes.

"Beats has a unique brand -- it speaks to a nice young demographic, which is really interesting to marketers," said Peter Csathy, former president of Musicmatch, an early digital music purveyor acquired by Yahoo in 2004 for $160 million. "When I think about Beats, I think about it as a lifestyle, I think of it as a media company, not just a hardware and music-focused company."

The Apple-Beats deal has not yet been made official. Though, if it does happen, it will be interesting to see what more Dr. Dre has been working up in his lab for the music industry.