Superstar Jay-Z is the first billionaire rapper, says Forbes

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Jay Z is a hip hop star and entertainment mogul who rose from the projects to become one of the most successful rappers in history.

Posted: Jun 3, 2019 12:40 PM
Updated: Jun 3, 2019 12:40 PM

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

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 $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 $70 million stake in Uber
  • his ownership of the streaming service Tidal
  • his $70 million art collection
  • his ownership of the Roc Nation sports management company
  • $50 million in assorted real estate holdings and his music catalog.

And being married to uber-superstar Beyonce, worth an estimated $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 organization 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 $1.1 billion, state and local taxes ultimately nudged it to just below the $1 billion-dollar mark.

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