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Submitted by on May 4, 2022

Shawn Corey Carter, better known by his stage name Jay-Z, is an American rapper, songwriter, record executive, entrepreneur, and media mogul. He is generally considered as one of hip-most hop’s influential performers, as well as the former CEO of Def Jam Recordings, where he nurtured key industry talents such as Kanye WestRihanna, Rick Ross, and J. Cole.

Jay-Z, who was born and raised in New York City, began his musical career in 1995 when he founded the record company Roc-A-Fella Records and released his debut studio album Reasonable Doubt in 1996. The record was a critical and commercial triumph, and it cemented his place in the music business. He went on to record twelve more albums, including The Blueprint (2001), The Black Album (2003), American Gangster (2007), and 4:44, all of which were critically acclaimed (2017). He has recorded full-length joint albums with Kanye West and his wife Beyoncé, Watch the Throne (2011) and Everything Is Love (2018), respectively.

Jay-Z has achieved great success and media attention for his commercial career in addition to his musical career. He launched the apparel shop Rocawear in 1999 and the upscale sports bar franchise 40/40 Club in 2003. Both companies have grown to be multibillion-dollar enterprises, allowing Jay-Z to bankroll the establishment of the entertainment organization Roc Nation, which he created in 2008. He bought the Internet firm Aspiro in 2015 and became the CEO of Tidal, the company’s media streaming service.

Jay-Z is one of the best-selling musicians in the world, having sold more than 50 million albums and 75 million singles worldwide. He holds the record for the most number-one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard 200, with 14, and has received a total of 23 Grammy Awards, the most by a rapper. He was named one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time by Billboard and Rolling Stone, two other music publications. In 2017, he became the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and at the 60th Grammy Awards in 2018, he got the commemorative “Salute to Industry Icons” award. Jay-Z became the first hip hop billionaire in June 2019, making him one of the wealthiest black Americans and the richest American musician at the moment. Jay-Z is launching a cannabis product brand named “Monogram” in December 2020. He became the first living solo rapper to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.

Shawn Corey Carter was born on December 4, 1969, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Marcy Houses, a housing complex in Brooklyn’s Bedford”Stuyvesant area, was where he grew up. Jay-Z and his three siblings were raised by their mother, Gloria Carter, after their father, Adnis Reeves, abandoned the family. Shortly before his death in 2003, Reeves met and reconciled with Jay-Z. In his songs, Jay-Z alleges that he shot his elder brother in the shoulder in 1982, when he was 12 years old, for stealing his jewels. He attended Eli Whitney High School in Brooklyn alongside rapper AZ until it closed. He then went to adjacent George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School, where he met rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes, and then to Trenton Central High School, where he did not graduate. He peddled crack cocaine and was shot three times during this time, according to his interviews and songs.

Jay-Z used to wake up his siblings at night by hammering out drum patterns on the kitchen table, according to his mother. He began freestyling and creating songs when she gave him a boombox for his birthday, which piqued his interest in music. Around the neighborhood, he was known as “Jazzy,” but he eventually changed his stage name to “Jay-Z” in honor of his mentor, Jaz-O. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Jay-Z can be heard on many of Jaz-early O’s records, including “HP Gets Busy,” “The Originators,” and “Hawaiian Sophie.” In the early 1990s, Jay-Z was involved in multiple feuds with rapper LL Cool J. On the 1994 Big Daddy Kane album Daddy’s Home, he made a name for himself with the posse cut “Show and Prove.” During this time, Jay-Z was referred to be Big Daddy Kane’s hype man, while Kane clarifies that he didn’t play the typical hype man position and was instead making cameo appearances on stage.

“Whenever I needed to leave the stage to change clothing, I’d bring out Jay-Z and Positive K and let them freestyle until I returned.” Jay-Z made early cameos on Big L’s “Da Graveyard” and Mic Geronimo’s “Time to Build” in 1995, which also featured early performances by DMX and Ja Rule. In 1995, he released a music video for “In My Lifetime,” which was his first official rap record. For the B-side “I Can’t Get With That,” an unreleased music video was also made.

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