Jay-Z in 2017
Shawn Corey Carter

(1969-12-04) December 4, 1969 (age 49)
New York City, New York, U.S.
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.[1]
Other names
  • Hova
  • Jigga
Years active1986 (1986)–present[2][3]
Organization40/40 Club
Home townBrooklyn, New York City
Net worthUS$900 million[5] (2018)
Board member ofAspiro
Beyoncé (m. 2008)
AwardsList of awards and nominations
Musical career
GenresHip hop
Associated acts

Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969),[6] known professionally as Jay-Z (stylized as JAY-Z),[a] is an American rapper, entrepreneur, songwriter, and record producer. He is one of the most acclaimed rappers of all time.[9][10][11][12]

Born and raised in New York City, Jay-Z began his musical career in the mid-1980s, after which he released his debut studio album, Reasonable Doubt, in 1996, to widespread critical and commercial success. He released the album a year after founding the record label Roc-A-Fella Records. His subsequent albums have also seen great praise, with The Blueprint (2001) and The Black Album (2003) later being heralded as modern musical classics.[13][14][15] He followed these with the collaborative album Watch the Throne (2011) with Kanye West, his critically lauded thirteenth studio album 4:44 (2017), and a collaborative effort titled Everything Is Love with wife Beyoncé in 2018.

Jay-Z's business activities and life outside of music have also received significant mainstream attention. He is the owner of 40/40 Club sports bar, and co-creator of the Rocawear clothing line. He has also acted as the president of Def Jam Recordings, and is the founder of the Roc Nation entertainment company, as well as creating its spin-off, Roc Nation Sports. As a member of Roc Nation Sports, Jay-Z is a licensed sports agent. His heavily publicized marriage to singer Beyoncé in 2008 has made him a global figure in popular culture. As a couple, they have an estimated combined net worth of $1.16 billion,[16] with his individual net worth of $900 million making him the richest hip hop artist in the world.[5]

Jay-Z is one of the world's best-selling music artists. He has received 22 Grammy Awards, surpassing Kanye West for the most by a rapper.[17] He also holds the record for the most number-one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard 200,[18] and has recorded four number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. The same publication ranked him as the biggest artist of the 2000s,[19] while Rolling Stone named him one of the 100 greatest artists of all time.[20] He is the first rapper to be honored at the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2017[21] and to receive the "Salute to Industry Icons Award" at the 60th Grammy Awards.[22]

Early life

Jay-Z (top) with a friend (bottom) in Trenton, New Jersey, circa 1988

Carter was born in the Brooklyn borough of New York City and was raised in Marcy Houses, a housing project in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.[23] After their father, Adnis Reeves,[24][25] abandoned the family, Shawn and his three siblings were raised by their mother, Gloria Carter. Reeves would later meet and reconcile with Jay-Z before dying in 2003. Jay-Z claims in his lyrics that in 1982 at age 12, he shot his older brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry.[26][27] Along with future rapper AZ, Carter attended Eli Whitney High School in Brooklyn until it was closed down. He then attended the nearby George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School with future rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes, followed by a stint at Trenton Central High School in Trenton, New Jersey, though he did not graduate.[28] According to his interviews and lyrics, during this period he sold crack cocaine[27] and was shot at three times.[26]

According to his mother, Carter used to wake up his siblings at night banging out drum patterns on the kitchen table. She bought him a boom box for his birthday, sparking his interest in music. He began freestyling and writing lyrics.[29] Known as "Jazzy" around the neighborhood, Carter later adopted the showbiz/stage name "Jay-Z" in homage to his mentor Jaz-O.[23][30]

Jay-Z can be briefly heard on several of Jaz-O's early recordings in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including "The Originators" and "Hawaiian Sophie."[2] Jay-Z became embroiled in several battles with rapper LL Cool J in the early 1990s.[31] He first became known to a wide audience on the posse cut "Show and Prove" on the 1994 Big Daddy Kane album Daddy's Home. Jay-Z has been referred to as Big Daddy Kane's hype man during this period,[32] although Kane explains that he didn't fill the traditional hype man role, and was instead basically making cameo appearances on stage. "When I would leave the stage to go change outfits, I would bring out Jay-Z and Positive K and let them freestyle until I came back to the stage."[33][34] The young Jay-Z appeared on a popular song by Big L, "Da Graveyard", and on Mic Geronimo's "Time to Build", which also featured early appearances by DMX and Ja Rule in 1995. His first official rap single was called "In My Lifetime", for which he released a music video in 1995. An unreleased music video was also produced for the B-side "I Can't Get with That."[35]

Other Languages
العربية: جي-زي
asturianu: Jay-Z
azərbaycanca: Jay-Z
български: Джей Зи
bosanski: Jay-Z
català: Jay-Z
čeština: Jay-Z
dansk: Jay-Z
Deutsch: Jay Z
eesti: Jay-Z
Ελληνικά: Jay-Z
español: Jay-Z
Esperanto: Jay-Z
فارسی: جی-زی
français: Jay-Z
Frysk: Jay-Z
Gaeilge: Jay-Z
galego: Jay-Z
한국어: 제이Z
հայերեն: Ջեյ Զի
hrvatski: Jay Z
Bahasa Indonesia: Jay-Z
íslenska: Jay-Z
italiano: Jay-Z
עברית: ג'יי זי
Basa Jawa: Jay-Z
Kapampangan: Jay-Z
ქართული: ჯეი-ზი
қазақша: Jay-Z
Kiswahili: Jay-Z
Кыргызча: Jay-Z
latviešu: Jay-Z
lietuvių: Jay-Z
magyar: Jay-Z
मैथिली: जे–जी (गायक)
македонски: Џеј-Зи
മലയാളം: ജെയ്സി
მარგალური: ჯეი-ზი
Nederlands: Jay Z
नेपाली: जे–जी (गायक)
日本語: ジェイ・Z
norsk: Jay-Z
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Jay-Z
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਜੇ ਜ਼ੀ
polski: Jay-Z
português: Jay-Z
română: Jay-Z
русский: Jay-Z
Scots: Jay-Z
shqip: Jay-Z
Simple English: Jay-Z
slovenčina: Jay-Z
Soomaaliga: Jay-Z
српски / srpski: Џеј-Зи
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Jay-Z
Basa Sunda: Jay-Z
suomi: Jay Z
svenska: Jay-Z
தமிழ்: ஜெய்-சி
Türkçe: Jay-Z
українська: Jay-Z
Tiếng Việt: Jay-Z
Yorùbá: Jay-Z
žemaitėška: Jay Z
中文: 杰斯