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

Beyoncé’s husband is doing alright for himself.

Jay Z is now a billionaire: Here’s how he got there
[Photo: Mikamote/Wikimedia Commons]
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The billionaire’s club just got a whole lot cooler.

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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.

About the author

Melissa Locker is a writer and world renowned fish telepathist.

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