“What’s better than one billionaire? Two,” Jay-Z famously rapped on his “4:44” album. But now, art has imitated life after the rapper was named hip-hop’s first billionaire.
Jay-Z now joins the legendary billionaires' club, which features friend Warren Buffett, whom the rapper had malts with in 2010. Buffett appeared on the Forbes magazine 2010 cover.
Forbes named Jay-Z as the first rapper to hit the milestone, and it appears that he took advise from Buffett, the third-wealthiest man in America.
Forbes magazine broke down the “Empire State of Mind” rapper’s vast wealth.
He has $310 million from a champagne brand he launched called “Ace of Spades,” $100 million in streaming service Tidal and $70 million in Uber stock, $75 million in art including Basquiat paintings, which he has rapped about. He also has $75 million in his entertainment company, Roc Nation, $75 million in his music catalog and $50 million in real estate, among other items.
Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter, grew up in the harsh Marcy Projects in Brooklyn and was a drug dealer in his youth. He eventually found his way into the music business by rapping as the protegee to Brooklyn emcee Jaz-O. Jay-Z’s first big break came on Big Daddy Kane’s “Show and Prove” in 1994. He also appeared on iconic Brooklyn rapper Notorious B.I.G.'s final album, "Life After Death," in 1997.
With no major label backing, Jay-Z sold his CDs out of the trunk of his car and eventually reached a deal with Priority Records to release his debut, “Reasonable Doubt,” in 1996.
By 1997, Jay-Z signed to major label Def Jam and later started his own imprint, Rocafella Records, through the label, where he released the multi-platinum and critically acclaimed records “Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life,” “Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter,” “The Blueprint” and “The Black Album.”
Throughout his career, he’s amassed 14 No. 1 albums and 22 Grammy Awards.
The rapper married Beyonce in 2008, and they have three children together.