Jay-Z makes history

Jay-Z once rapped “I'm not a businessman; I'm a business, man.” Turns out he was right.

07 June 2019 | Art and Entertainment

The superstar rapper is also a fashion trendsetter, a streaming music mogul, a sports management company owner and Mr Beyonce Knowles. All that has helped him to become the first billionaire rapper, according to Forbes.

“Less than a decade later, it's clear that Jay-Z has accumulated a fortune that conservatively totals US$1 billion, making him one of only a handful of entertainers to become a billionaire - and the first hip-hop artist to do so,” Forbes' Zack O'Malley Greenburg writes.

The media company ticked through the various businesses that Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, either owns or has a stake in, including: a US$70-million stake in Uber, his ownership of the streaming service Tidal, his US$70-million art collection, his ownership of the Roc Nation sports management company, US$50 million in assorted real estate holdings and his music catalogue and being married to uber-superstar Beyonce, worth an estimated US$355 million herself, doesn't hurt.

Jay-Z, who grew up in a Brooklyn housing project, rose to fame in 1996 with his debut album Reasonable Doubt.

His sixth album, 2001's The Blueprint, was added to the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry - reserved for albums that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” earlier this year.

He's also been more involved in political advocacy, campaigning for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and launching a prison reform organisation with fellow rapper Meek Mill this year.

Back in 2014, music mogul Dr Dre claimed he was hip-hop's first billionaire after he sold Beats Music, the high-end headphones and streaming music service, to Apple.

But it's estimated that while that blockbuster deal pushed Dre's net worth to about US$1.1 billion, state and local taxes ultimately nudged it to just below the US$1 billion-dollar mark.

CNN ENTERTAINMENT

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