• Jay-Z is a famous rapper
  • He has been around for years
  • Learn more about his life and career here

You probably know him as Jay-Z but his real name is actually Shawn Corey Carter. Born in 1969 in New York City, Jay-Z is a professional rapper, songwriter, producer, and entrepreneur, and he is considered to be one of the best American rappers of all time. He began his music career after founding the record label Roc-A-Fella Records in the mid-1990s.

In 1996 Jay-Z gained public attention after releasing his first album Reasonable Doubt, which reached number 23 on the Billboard 200 list, and later on was named one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, according to Rolling Stone. One year later, in 1997, Jay-Z released the album In My Lifetime, produced by Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs; the album sold better than the previous one and it features personal stories about Carter.

Jay-Z at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards in Miami, Florida

Jay-Z: His amazing career through the years

In 1998 Jay-Z released another classic album, Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life, which is probably one of his most successful works as a rapper that earned him a Grammy award. Later on, on September 11, 2001, only a couple of hours before the 9/11 attacks in New York, he released The Blueprint, which sold more than 400,000 copies and debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Jay-Z's next solo album was 2002's The Blueprint2: The Gift & The Curse, a double-album, which also debuted on the Billboard 200 at number one. During the 2000s he also released The Black Album, Kingdom Come, and American Gangster.

JAY-Z performs onstage during Day 1 of The Meadows Music & Arts Festival in New York City, 2017

What has Jay-Z done recently?

In 2008, Jay-Z founded the entertainment company Roc Nation, and in 2015, he acquired the tech company Aspiro and took charge of their media streaming service Tidal, which has since become the world's third-largest online streaming company. 2013 was one of the most important years for Jay-Z because he released his 12th album Magna Carta Holy Grail, which became highly popular for songs like "Holy Grail", featuring pop star Justin Timberlake. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, sold more than 500,000 copies in the first week, and got nine Grammy nominations!

In 2017 the rapper promoted a Tidal-related album project titled 4:44, which was released through Roc Nation and Universal Music Group, exclusively to Tidal customers. In 2018, Jay-Z and Beyoncé unveiled Everything Is Love, their long-anticipated joint studio album, credited under the name The Carters; they also released the video for the album's lead song "Apeshit". 

Beyoncé and Jay-Z attend the "China: Through The Looking Glass" Costume Institute Benefit Gala in New York City, 2015

Five quick facts about rap legend Jay-Z

  • He has been happily married to Beyoncé Knowles since 2008; they welcomed their first child Blue Ivy Carter in 2012
  • Jay-Z is good friends with Rihanna and Eminem
  • In 1999 he founded the clothing retailer Rocawear
  • He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time and overall has won 24 Grammy awards
  • He has an estimated net worth of 2.5 billion dollars

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