Jay Z (born Shawn Corey Carter; 4.12.1969)
Jay Z is an American rapper, as well being former CEO of the legendary hip-hop record labels, Def Jam Recordings and Roc-A-Fella Records.
Jay Z: Net Worth
Jay Z has a net worth of $550 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth (2014)
Jay Z: Childhood
Jay Z was raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, New York. He attended George Westinghouse Information Technology High School, a school that he shared with Busta Rhymes and The Notorious B.I.G. Jay Z was never a successful academic, and he was involved in drug dealing whilst at school.
Jay Z first got into music when his mother bought him a boom box for his birthday when he was young. He started out by freestyling and writing rhymes, taking part in a number of battles. It has been reported that he has battled Busta Rhymes, DMX and Bizzy Bone, of Bone Thugs 'N' Harmony. Reputedly, it was his victorious battle against Zai that caught the attention of a number of record labels.
Jay Z: Musical Career
At the start of his career, Jay Z formed Roc-A-Fella Records with Kareem Biggs and Damon Dash. His own debut album was released on the label. Reasonable Doubt featured production from Clark Kent and DJ Premier, as well as an offering from The Notorious B.I.G.
In 1997, Roc-A-Fella forged a distribution deal with Def Jam and Jay Z released his second solo album, In My Lifetime, Vol.1 that same year. The album had Sean Combs (better known as Puff Daddy, or P.Diddy) on production duties.
The next year, Jay Z released Vol.2. Hard Knock Life. The lead single from the album, 'Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)' was a huge hit for the rapper. With producers such as Timbaland and Swizz Beatz on board, the album went on to sell over 8 million copies across the globe.
1999 saw Jay Z release Vol.3 Life and Times of S. Carter. The album has been certified three times platinum and launched the hit single 'Big Pimpin'.
In 2000, Roc-A-Fella released a compilation designed to celebrate the talent that they had been nurturing as a label. Jay Z appeared on The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, which sold over 2 million copies in the USA.
Jay Z's next solo album, The Blueprint, was released in 2001 and is considered one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, by many. Kanye West produced a number of tracks from the album, which launched Kanye's musical career.
Following on the titular theme, Jay Z released The Blueprint2: The Gift and The Curse. The double album launched two hit singles, 'Bonnie & Clyde' (which featured Beyoncé Knowles of Destiny's Child) and 'Excuse Me Miss'. The album also featured 'A Dream', a track recorded with Faith Evans.
In 2003, Jay Z released The Black Album, after touring with the likes of Sean Paul and 50 Cent. He worked with a number of producers on the album, including Rick Rubin, Kanye West and Eminem. The album featured the massive global hit, ''99 Problems.' The vocals from the album later featured in Danger Mouse's influential underground remix project, The Grey Album, in which he mixed Jay Z's vocal with the instrumentals from the Beatles' The White Album.
In 2004, Jay Z collaborated with Linkin Park, on a project called Collision Course. They performed 'Numb / Encore' at the Grammy Awards, where they won the Best Rap / Sung Collaboration song.
Despite announcing his retirement in November 2003, at a huge Madison Square Gardens charity concert (which also featured Mary J. Blige, Pharrell Williams and Ghostface Killah), Jay Z released Kingdom Come in 2006. His comeback single, 'Show Me What You Got' was accompanied by a video by acclaimed director, Hype Williams.
In 2007, Jay Z's tenth album, American Gangster was released. The album was inspired by the film of the same name, though it is not the official soundtrack to the film.
In 2008, amid much controversy, Jay Z was chosen to headline Glastonbury Festival. In response to public criticism from Noel Gallagher of Oasis, Jay Z walked onstage at the event, playing the Oasis song, 'Wonderwall'.
In 2009, Jay Z released his eleventh album 'The Blueprint 3', which overall was met with positive reviews and did well commercially; the album debuted at number one in the Billboard 200 selling 476,000 copies in its first week. As it was Jay Z's eleventh album to debut at number one, he broke a record that he'd previously shared with Elvis Presley.
In 2011 Jay Z and Kanye West brought out collaborative album 'Watch The Throne' which received mostly positive reviews upon release. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 charts, selling 436,000 in its first week in the United States. It's Jay-Z's 12th number one album and West's fifth. The album did incredibly well in many end of year album lists.
Jay Z followed 'Watch The Throne' in 2013 with 'Magna Carta Holy Grail', which debuted at number one in the Billboard 200, selling 528,000 copies in its first week, exceeding expectations of it selling 350,000 to 400,000 copies. Despite the commercial success, 'Magna Carta...' was met with mixed reviews from critics. Justin Timberlake featured on the song 'Holy Grail'.
Jay Z: Personal Life
Jay Z married his long-term girlfriend, Beyoncé Knowles in April 2008. Despite both their high celebrity statuses, they chose for their marriage to take place in a secret wedding ceremony without publicity.
Since 2008, Jay Z's influence and power in the industry have grown year on year. There have been many rumours circulated surrounding his links to the Illuminati.
On January 7, 2012 Jay Z and his wife Beyonce welcomed their first child, a daughter named Blue Ivy Carter.