Dr. Dre displaced U2, who topped the Forbes list last year with $195 million earned.
Dr. Dre has finished a 12-month period of robust headphone sales and resurrecting Tupac Shakur in hologram form as Forbes' highest-paid musician of the year.
The hip-hop mogul reportedly earned an estimated $110 million during a scoring period that ran from May 2011 to May 2012. Along with catalog sales and payment for performances like his headlining set with Snoop Dogg at the Coachella fest, Dre hauled in $100 million pre-tax when HTC bought a 51 percent stake in his Beats headphone company last year, according to Forbes.
Dr. Dre takes the annual money crown from U2, who topped last year's list with $195 million earned, thanks to their record-shattering 360 tour. This year, the veteran rockers slip to No. 4, with $78 million hauled in over the 12-month period.
The Top 5 of this year's list is rounded out by Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters, who grossed $88 million this year due largely to his epic The Wall tour; Elton John, whose rigorous touring schedule helped him collect $80 million; and U.K. boy band Take That, whose reunion trek contributed to a $69 million sum.
Other notable on the 2012 Forbes list include Justin Bieber, whose music and merchandise sales totaled $55 million to help him become the youngest artist on the list; Lady Gaga, who slips to No. 13 on this year's list with $52 million earned after clocking in at No. 4 with $90 million last year; and Beyonce, who, with $40 million accrued, out-earned her husband Jay-Z ($38 million) at No. 18.
Dr. Dre's No. 1 ranking comes one month after he was named Forbes' hip-hop cash king in September. Diddy, Jay-Z and Kanye West were the only other hip-hop figures to make this year's overall list.
Here is Forbes' list of the top 25 highest-paid musicians of 2012:
1. Dr. Dre ($110 million)
2. Roger Waters ($88 million)
3. Elton John ($80 million)
4. U2 ($78 million)
5. Take That ($69 million)
6. Bon Jovi ($60 million)
7. Britney Spears ($58 million)
8. Paul McCartney ($57 million)
8. Taylor Swift ($57 million)
10. Justin Bieber ($55 million)
10. Toby Keith ($55 million)
12. Rihanna ($53 million)
13. Lady Gaga ($52 million)
14. Foo Fighters ($47 million)
15. Diddy ($45 million)
15. Katy Perry ($45 million)
17. Kenny Chesney ($44 million)
18. Beyonce ($40 million)
19. Red Hot Chili Peppers ($39 million)
20. Jay-Z ($38 million)
21. Coldplay ($37 million)
22. Adele ($35 million)
22. Kanye West ($35 million)
24. Michael Buble ($34 million)
25. Sade ($33 million)