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American rapper Shawn Carter, popularly known as ”Jay-Z”, has became the first rapper and African-American musician to be a billionaire.

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Jay-Z is married to superstar singer Beyonce and they have three children together. The rapper deals with varieties of other businesses aside entertainment which has accelerated his wealth.

Jay- Z Background 

Shaw Carter was born on 4 December, 1969. He was brought up in the Marcy housing projects in Brooklyn, New York.

He is the last born of four children of Gloria Carter. His mother recalled that ”he was the only one who didn’t give me any pain during birth, that is how I knew he would be special.”

Adnes Reeves, Shaw’s father, left Jay-Z’s mum when the rapper was just 11 years old.

The early life of Jay-Z was tough and rough as described in many of his autobiographical lyrics. He dealt with drugs and dared with gun violence. He attended various high schools, including George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School in downtown Brooklyn, where he was a classmate of the rap legend Notorious B.I.G.

Jay-Z says in one of his songs (“December 4th”): “I went to school, got good grades, could behave when I wanted/But I had demons deep inside that would raise when confronted.”

After he gained massive success as a rapper, he founded his personal label, named, (Roc-A-Fella Records), he signed nearly 50 artists to its record.

Jay-Z further in amassing wealth by venturing into the fashion world, among which includes: A clothing line, J  988-0p9 Rocawear, and also a sports management company.

The 49-year-old’s journey from young drug dealer to mega-mogul spans decades including numerous record and business deals.

He also deals in art, real estate, liquor, and several other investments which are less obvious to the media.

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GETTY/AFP/File / Duane Prokop

Jay-Z Musical Career

Carter became a rapper at a young age as an escape from the drugs, poverty and violence that encircled him in the Marcy Projects.

In the year 1989, he met the rapper Jaz-O—an older performer who doubled as a kind of mentor, to record a song titled “The Originators,” which won the pair a present on an episode of Yo! MTV Raps. This was when Shawn officially welcomed the nickname Jay-Z, which was concurrently a homage to Jaz-O, a play on his childhood nickname of “Jazzy” and also referenced to the J/Z subway station near his Brooklyn home.

After embracing the stage name, Jay-Z remained relatively faceless until he and two friends, Damon Dash and Kareem Burke, pulled forces together to form their own record label, ‘Roc-a-Fella Records,’ in 1996.

In June 1996, Jay-Z released his debut album named (Reasonable Doubt). Although the record only reached No. 23 on the Billboard 200, it’s later considered a classic hip-hop album, the Reasonable Doubt authenticated Jay-Z as an emerging star in the history of hip-hop. The album songs including “Can’t Knock the Hustle,” featuring Mary J. Blige, and “Brooklyn’s Finest,” a collaboration with Notorious B.I.G.

In 1998, Jay-Z accomplished even broader success with the 1998 album Vol. 2. ”Hard Knock Life”. The title track, which popularly sampled its chorus from the Broadway musical Annie, became Jay-Z’s most popular single till date. The track won him a Grammy for Vol. 2 and also got nominated for “Hard Knock Life,” marking as a fruitful period step up.

During those years, the rapper released a slew of No. 1 albums and hit singles. His most popular songs from this period include “Big Pimpin,” “I Just Wanna Love U,” “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” and “03 Bonnie & Clyde,” a duet with wife Beyoncé Knowles.

In 2001, Blueprint was Jay-Z’s most acclaimed album of that time, which later popped up on several music critics’ lists of the best albums of the decade.

In 2003, Jay-Z made a shocking announcement to the hip-hop world after he released ”The Black Album” by disclosing that it would be his last solo record before retirement.

After much curiosity, he was asked to explain his sudden exit from rap, Jay-Z said that he once derived inspiration from trying to outshine other great MCs, but had simply got bored due to a lack of competition. “The game ain’t hot,” he said. “I love when someone makes a hot album and then you’ve got to make a hot album. I love that. But it ain’t hot.”

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Jay-Z biography and net worth. Photo credit: Google advance search.

Shawn Carter Comeback 

In 2006, Jay-Z came out of retirement to release the album titled ”Kingdom Come.” He later released two more albums: In 2007, ”American Gangster” and in 2009, ”Blueprint 3.” This trio of albums signalled a significant departure from Jay-Z’s earlier sound, consolidating stronger rock and soul influences in their lyrics offering and sound production that countered such mature subjects as the response to Hurricane Katrina, Barack Obama’s 2008 election and the perils of fame and fortune.

Jay-Z reiterated that he was trying to adapt his music to suit his own middle age. He said: “There’s not a lot of people who have come of age in rap because it’s only 30 years old. “As more people come of age, hopefully, the topics get broader and then the audience will stay around longer.”

In 2011, the rap king teamed up with former Roc-A-Fella protégé Kanye West for ”Watch the Throne.” The album was a triple hit, topping the rap, R&B and pop charts shortly after its August release.

On July 2013, Jay-Z revealed his 12th studio album, ”Magna Carta Holy Grail.” The effort earned a mixed reception from critics but otherwise fared well with fans, going on to top the Billboard 200 and achieve double-platinum status.

The album earned Jay-Z a whopping nine Grammy nominations, sharing the win for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration with Justin Timberlake for the hit single “Holy Grail.”

Net Worth Of the Rapper

The rap mogul has joined the league of entertainers who have been elevated to the billionaire status — and he’s the first hip-hop artiste to achieve this feat.

According to Forbes, “the rapper’s art, real estate, liquor and other investments, along with his entertainment industry earnings, have accumulated into a fortune that conservatively totals $1 billion.”

The calculation of his Ace of Spades champagne, D’Usse cognac, investment in Uber, Tidal streaming service, art collection and three homes all contribute pieces of the billion-dollar worth.

On the other hand, fellow music star, fashion and liquor mogul Sean Diddy’s total value is presumably one of Jay-Z’s closest competitors, but with an estimated net worth of $820 million.

Among other closed competitors is ‘Dr. Dre’, who is also an influential player in the music industry — with several of his Beats by Dre headphones and a major deal with Apple Music — Forbes has estimates his net worth at $740 million.

The wife of the latest entertaining billionaire, Beyoncé, has amassed about $355 million, according to Forbes.

Awards And Endorsement

Jay-Z has won many musical awards in his career as well as many other endorsements, which gives him an edge over several other rappers across the globe.

Among the entertainer lifetime achievement as a musician, he won 22 Grammy Awards and merit a track-record for releasing hit albums — including: “The Carters.”

Also, Jay-Z joint album with his wife Beyoncé, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart last year.

Jay- Z Family

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Jay-Z. Credit: Google Advanced search

Jay-Z doesn’t make his family affairs obvious to the public. He is very mindful of the way he handles his family issues.

On April 2008, the hip-hop star managed to restrict the press from showing up at his wedding, which was held in New York City. Only about 40 people attended the celebration at Jay-Z’s penthouse apartment, including actress Gwyneth Paltrow and former Destiny’s Child members Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland.

On January 7, 2012, Jay-Z and Beyoncé welcomed their first child, a daughter named Blue Ivy Carter. Mindful of their privacy and safety, Jay-Z and Beyoncé rented part of New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital and hired extra guards.

Immediately after the birth of his daughter, Jay-Z released a song in her honour on his site. On “Glory,” he expressed his delight of becoming a father and revealed that Beyoncé had previously suffered a miscarriage. Jay-Z and Beyoncé also posted a message along with the song, saying “we are in heaven” and Blue’s birth “was the best experience of both of our lives.”

In February 2017, Beyoncé announced on Instagram that she and Jay-Z were expecting a set of twins. She posted, “We would like to share our love and happiness. We have been blessed two times over. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your good wishes. The Carters.”

Jay-Z is showing no signs of retiring with his $1 billion fortune. His children: Blue Ivy, Sir and Rumi are very lucky kids.