Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), 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.
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, with his individual net worth of $900 million making him the richest hip hop artist in the world.
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. Known as "Jazzy" around the neighborhood, Carter later adopted the showbiz/stage name "Jay-Z" in homage to his mentor Jaz-O.
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." Jay-Z became embroiled in several battles with rapper LL Cool J in the early 1990s. 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, 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." 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."