If Trick Daddy is the Mayor of Dade County and T.I. is the King of the South, then without a doubt Jay-Z has to be Supreme Emperor of the Rap Universe. Since his humble beginnings as a performer in New York's underground rap scene in the 1980's, Jay-Z has risen to become the world's richest hip hop artist; in addition to his position as the CEO of Roc-A-Fella Records (Jadakiss, Kanye West, Freeway) and the Rocawear clothing line, he also owns the New Jersey Nets NBA team. With a fortune estimated at around $940 million, Jay-Z (real name Shawn Corey Carter) outshines his closest competitor P. Diddy by almost 300 million dollars.Jay-Z's entry into the rap game sounds just like everyone else's - he dropped out of high school and began selling drugs to get by, recording and participating in rap battles in his free time. After gaining notoriety as a consummate freestyler - slinging bars against both DMX and Busta Rhymes in amateur battles before any of them became famous - in the late 1980's and early 1990's, Jay-Z became frustrated that no major label would sign him. He formed his own label Rock-A-Fella Records in 1996, acquiring childhood friend The Notorious B.I.G. as his first artist. Jay-Z only had to release one album independently, 1996's Reasonable Doubt, before scoring a distribution deal with the Island Def Jam Music Group (Ludacris, Rihanna). Since Reasonable Doubt Jay-Z has released no less than nine solo albums, which combined have sold over 35 million copies. Of these, the most commercially successful was 1998's Vol 2...Hard Knock Life (with over 8 million units moved), while the most critically acclaimed would probably be 2003's The Black Album. Though Jay-Z occasionally flirted with different styles - including a bluesy, soul-backed style in The Blueprint (2001) and a glitzy, pop-rap sound for In My Lifetime, Vol. I (1997) - he generally is thought to be one of the forerunners of the "Mafioso rap" style, which juxtaposes the gritty elements of gangster rap with an indulgent and expensive aesthetic, often reminiscent of mob movies like Scarface and The Godfather. Some of Jay-Z's biggest hits throughout the late 1990's and early 2000's include "Big Pimpin", "99 Problems", "Bonnie and Clyde", "Change Clothes", and "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)". After releasing two split albums after The Black Album (including 2004's Collision Course, a mashup with nu-metal band Linkin Park), Jay-Z announced at a 2005 concert that he would be retiring from rap. Either a lie or a well thought-out publicity stunt, Jay-Z has since released two successful albums during his "retirement" - 2006's Kingdom Come and 2007's American Gangster, which was inspired by the 2007 film of the same name. Combined, the two albums have produced a total of seven singles, among them "Blue Magic", "Lost One", "I Know", and "Show Me What You Got". As of 2008, Jay-Z is planning to headline the Glastonbury Festival in England, the world's largest open air concert. He also recently married longtime beau Beyonce Knowles, formerly of Destiny's Child. The marriage occurred in secret, as the famous supercouple tries to keep their relationship outside of the public eye.
Born: December 4, 1969, Brooklyn, New YorkBrought up in Brooklyn's Marcy Projects, Jay-Z got his break in the music business in the late '80s when a fellow Marcy resident, The Jaz (later Big Jaz), got a record deal and had Jay-Z guest on a few tracks.When The Jaz's deal came to an end, Jay-Z reverted to hustling in the streets to make money. This period gave him experiences which formed the basis for much of his later material. During this time he did keep his hand in the rap game, appearing on a track with Big Daddy Kane and with the group Original Flavor, but it wasn't until the mid-90's that Jay-Z's focus really returned to hip-hop.In 1996 he teamed up with Damon Dash and Kareem Burke to start a new label, [Invalid Artist]. The label's first single, 'Dead Presidents' was a big hit as was his debut album, "Reasonable Doubt".Jay-Z then steadily built on this success, releasing album after album and bringing through new artists on his label, as well as expanding into merchandising, clothing and other sources of revenue.In 2003, at the peak of his career, Jay-Z released what he claimed would be his last album, "The Black Album" to international acclaim.In 2006 he came back from retirement to release the album "Kingdom Come". It was well received by the public, selling over a million copies, but garnered some criticism from hip-hop fans in regards to Jay-Z's new 'mature' style. A year later he released the concept album "American Gangster". Jay-Z was allegedly inspired to make the album after watching the film of the same name, and the album focuses on similar themes as of the film.
Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York, United States), is an American rapper and former president and CEO of Roc A Fella Records. He is more commonly known by a variety of stage names including Jay-Z, S. Carter, Jigga, Hova, J-Hova, Hov, and Young Hov. He is regarded as one of the most prolific and successful American blend artists of the mid-90s and early 2000s and is known for his use of metaphors, freestyling abilities, word play, flow, and blending of street and popular hip hop.
User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License and may also be available under the GNU FDL.
Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), better known by his stage name Jay-Z (sometimes stylized JAY Z), is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. He is one of the most financially successful hip-hop artists and entrepreneurs in America. In 2012, Forbes estimated Carter's net worth at nearly $500 million. He has sold approximately 50 million albums worldwide, while receiving seventeen Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations. Consistently ranked as one of the greatest rappers of all-time he was ranked #1 by MTV in their list of The Greatest MCs of All-Time in 2006. Two of his albums, Reasonable Doubt (1996) and The Blueprint (2001) are considered landmarks in the genre with both of them being ranked in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Jay-Z co-owns the 40/40 Club, is part-owner of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets and is also co-creator of the line Rocawear. He is the former CEO of Def Jam Recordings, co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records, and the founder of Roc Nation. As an artist, he holds the record for most number one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard 200 with twelve. Jay-Z also has had four number ones on the Billboard Hot 100, one as lead artist. On December 11, 2009, Jay-Z was ranked as the 10th-most successful artist of the 2000s by Billboard and ranking as the 5th top solo male artist and as the 4th top rapper behind Eminem, Nelly, and 50 Cent. He was also ranked the 88th-greatest artist of all time by Rolling Stone. He married American R&B singer Beyoncé Knowles in 2008. They have one daughter named Blue Ivy Carter, born in January 2012.