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DOB: 4 December 1969
Birth Place: Brooklyn, NYC, USA
Claim to fame: Rapper, entrepreneur, and Mr. Beyonce
- Jay-Z went to the same school as Notorious BIG and Busta Rhymes
- His nickname growing up was Jazzy, leading to his stage name Jay-Z
- Jay-Z’s groundbreaking album The Blueprint was written in just two days
- From 2001-2005, Jay-Z had a serious hip hop feud with fellow rapper Nas
He’s got 99 problems, but global hip hop domination ain’t one. Undisputed master of flow Jay-Z was born Shawn Corey Carter in the projects of Bedford-Suyvesant in Brooklyn. Raised by single mum Gloria, life in the projects was tough, and he’s frequently referenced his crack dealing past. He also shot his brother in the shoulder once for stealing his jewellery. We reckon that’s taking a love of bling a little far…
Music saved him, but in the early days Jay-Z struggled to find a record deal. Proving his entrepreneurial skill, he solved the problem by setting up his own label, Roc-A-Fella Records, later signing Kanye West and Cam’ron.
Jay-Z’s debut album went platinum, and has since been named one of the 500 Greatest Records of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine. To date he’s released eleven albums, all reaching a minimum of platinum status, all but two of them topping the US album charts, he’s now the proud owner of 13 Grammy’s, and he’s now sold over 50 million records.
A business whizz too, Jay-Z has been CEO of Def Jam, owns labels RocNation and StarRoc, the 40/40 club chain, part of the New Jersey Nets NBA team, and his own bling clothing label Rocawear.
If that weren’t enough, he’s also the man who bagged Beyonce. Frequently topping the Hollywood’s Highest-Earning Couple lists, they like to keep a low profile with their relationship and Jay-Z put a ring on in it in a secret wedding ceremony in April 2008.