American rapper, record producer and entrepreneur

Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), known professionally as Jay-Z (stylized as JAY-Z),[a] is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, record executive, entrepreneur, businessman, investor and actor. He is the former CEO of Def Jam Recordings and Roc-A-Fella Records. Jay-Z co-owns The 40/40 Club and the Brooklyn Nets NBA team. He is one of the most financially successful hip-hop artists and businessmen in America.[8] Jay-Z has several nicknames, "Jigga", "Hova" and "El Presidente".

Jay-Z in 2011
Shawn Corey Carter

(1969-12-04) December 4, 1969 (age 54)
Other names
  • The Carter Administration
  • Jigga
  • Hova
  • El Presidente[1]
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • record executive
  • entrepreneur
  • businessman
  • investor
  • media proprietor
  • actor
Years active1986–present[2][3][4]
(m. 2004)
Children3, including Blue Ivy
AwardsFull list
Musical career
GenresHip hop
Member ofThe Carters
Formerly of

In June 2019, it was reported that Jay-Z had become the first billionaire rapper.[9]

Early life


Jay-Z was born as Shawn Corey Carter in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. He was raised in Marcy Houses, a housing project in Brooklyn's Bedford–Stuyvesant. After their father Adnis Reeves abandoned the family, Jay-Z and his three siblings were raised by their mother, Gloria Carter. Reeves would later meet and reconcile with Jay-Z shortly 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. Along with rapper AZ he attended Eli Whitney High School in Brooklyn until it was closed. He then attended nearby George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School with 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. According to his interviews and lyrics, he sold crack cocaine and was shot at three times during this period.

Musical career


According to his mother, Jay-Z used to wake up his siblings at night banging out drum patterns on the kitchen table. She bought him a boombox for his birthday, sparking his interest in music, and he began freestyling and writing lyrics. Known as "Jazzy" around the neighborhood, he later adopted the 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 "H. P. Gets Busy", "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 did not 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."

The extension of the Empire


In 2003, Jay-Z stopped rapping, because he found that there were not enough good rappers to compete with him. He said that the game was too easy for him. He decided to concentrate more on his producer career than his rap career. He became the president of Def Jam Recordings. He signed a lot of great artists such as Rihanna, Ne-Yo and Kanye West. He also became a businessman by creating his own clothing company, Rocawear, and owning a part of the Brooklyn Nets, an NBA basketball team.



After a step back in his career, he made a decision in 2006 to come back into the game. He created the albums "Kingdom Came" and the year after "American Gangster". In 2009, he released Blue print 3, but in 2011 he teamed up with Kanye West to do an LP called Watch the Throne. This album went triple hit, made the top rap charts for August and also nominated for the Grammy for the best rap Album. Now, he is known to be one of the best rappers of all time. In April 2011 Jay-Z started a website called Life+ Times. He also took part in Barack Obama’s last elections.[10] Jay-Z's twelfth album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, was released in July 2013. The album topped the chart to number one. It was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards. The first single on the album, "Holy Grail", features Justin Timberlake singing in it. It reached number four on the US Billboard 100.[11] In South Korea it reached number one. Jay-Z's wife Beyoncé sings on "Part II (On the Run)". In December 2013 Jay-Z was nominated for nine Grammy Awards. This was more than anyone else that year.[12] He rapped on his wife Beyoncé Knowles' fifth album Beyoncé.

Together with Beyoncé, Jay-Z has three children: daughter Blue Ivy (born 2012) and twins Rumi and Sir Carter, who were born in June 2017.



JAY-Z has released the following albums during his career:

  • Reasonable Doubt
  • The Life & Times of S. Carter, Vol. 1
  • The Life & Times of S. Carter, Vol. 2
  • The Life & Times of S. Carter, Vol. 3
  • The Dynasty: Roc La Familia
  • The Blueprint
  • MTV Unplugged
  • The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse
  • The Blueprint 2.1
  • The Black Album
  • Kingdom Come
  • American Gangster
  • The Blueprint 3
  • Magna Carta Holy Grail
  • 4:44
  • Everything Is Love (as The Carters, with Beyoncé)


  1. "The Carter Administration | Discography | Discogs". Archived from the original on May 26, 2019. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  2. "Jay-Z". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  3. Bandini (June 18, 2015). "Jay Z's First Record Ever Was in 1986…And It Was Not Hawaiian Sophie. Take a Listen (Audio)". Ambrosia For Heads. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  4. Jake Paine (February 8, 2020). "Jaz-O Discusses The Record That He & JAY-Z Released In 1986 (Video)". Ambrosia For Heads. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  5. "Jay-Z, as photographed during a promotional shoot for the London-based Northwestside Records". Instagram. 2020-10-10.
  6. "Jay Z is spelling his name with an umlaut again". April 29, 2015. Archived from the original on June 17, 2018. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  7. Ketchum III, William E. (June 20, 2017). "JAY-Z's Name: A Complete Timeline of Shawn Carter's Rap Alias". Revolt. Archived from the original on July 4, 2017. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  8. The Greatest MCs of All Time Archived 2006-04-15 at the Wayback Machine MTV Retrieved on 2006-12-26
  9. Greenburg, Zack O'Malley. "Artist, Icon, Billionaire: How Jay-Z Created His $1 Billion Fortune". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  10. Jay Z biography. Retrieved on 2013-01-11
  11. "Jay-Z - Chart history - Billboard". www.billboard.com. Archived from the original on 2018-07-18. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  12. "Jay Z dominates Grammy nominations". 8 December 2013 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  1. Pronounced ("jay zee"); alternately stylized as Jaÿ-Z, Jay Z, and Jay:Z throughout his career.[6][7]