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Jay Z is now a billionaire: Here’s how he got there

Jay Z is now a billionaire: Here’s how he got there
[Photo: Mikamote/Wikimedia Commons]

The billionaire’s club just got a whole lot cooler.

Hip-hop mogul Jay Z has just been officially minted a billionaire, according to Forbes, joining the likes of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg, Carlos Slim Helu, Mark Zuckerberg, and Kylie Jenner.

While being a billionaire is an impressive accomplishment, Jay Z is also a member of an even smaller group of black billionaires, an even more elite group of American black billionaires, and is the first hip-hop artist to join those impressive ranks. In short, he runs this town now.

Jay Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, grew up in a hard-knock life in Brooklyn’s Marcy housing projects. He famously worked as a drug dealer (can’t knock the hustle) before becoming a musician. He started his own label, Roc-A-Fella Records, to release his 1996 debut, Reasonable Doubt. It was the first step in a growing collection of dead presidents that Forbes now conservatively estimates at $1 billion.

Carter’s substantial assets include his own $75 million music catalog, a $70 million art collection, $50 million in real estate, stakes in companies like Uber, ownership of the Roc Nation management company, the D’Ussé cognac he co-owns with Bacardi,  the Ace of Spades champagne he shares with Armand de Brignac, and of course Tidal, the music-streaming service. He also has 14 No. 1 albums, 22 Grammy awards, and made an estimated over $500 million in pretax earnings in a decade. With all that, he still found time to tour the world with his wife, Beyoncé (worth an estimated $355 million herself).

The title of hip-hop’s first billionaire may be controversial, though, as back in 2014, Dr. Dre claimed he was hip-hop’s first billionaire after selling his stake in Beats Music to Apple. However, as CNN notes, taxes on the blockbuster deal pushed Dre’s net worth below the billion-dollar mark, leaving the honor for Jay Z. The only question that remains is whether Jay also has Drake’s “Started From the Bottom” stuck in his head.

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