The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.
JAY-Z went from the Brooklyn streets to becoming one of hip hop’s most herald moguls. Since Reasonable Doubt, Hov’s music has been embedded in the DNA of the culture and his business moves continue to be an inspiration.
As the embodiment of black excellence, he and his wife, Beyoncé, also take the time to bring light to important social issues such as racial inequality and criminal justice reform that affect black people in America
From Jigga’s elite lyrical skills to the astute corporate decisions that have produced billions in generational wealth for his family, JAY-Z generously laid out the blueprint.
He is a legend for so many reasons, but here are seven of them.
1. He founded The Shawn Carter foundation
JAY-Z and his mom, Gloria Carter, launched The Shawn Carter Foundation in 2003 to help students facing hardships attaining scholarships to get them through college.
Since then, the organization has raised over $4 million in the race to empower the community and youth. JAY and Bey’s “On The Run Tour” raised over $1 million and his historic performance at Carnegie raised $1.2 million.
The non-profit foundation’s mission statement reads, “The mission of the Shawn Carter Foundation is to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships further their education at post-secondary institutions.”
2. He started Roc Nation
Over a decade ago, Hov bought himself out of his contract with Def Jam and signed a multimillion-dollar with Live Nation to launch Roc Nation.
The company is essentially an imprint with a record label, talent management agency, music publishing company, and sports agency under one roof, as well includes a philanthropic arm, Team ROC.
It is home to a range of entertainers such as Megan Thee Stallion, DJ Khaled, Benny The Butcher, and Lil Uzi Vert.
3. He’s always been about his business, man
On Kanye West’s “Diamonds From Sierra Leone,” Hov spits the line: “I’m not a businessman/ I’m a business, man / Let me handle my business,” and that’s a fact.
JAY-Z has been investing is money in various ways since he was at Roc-A-Fella. In the early 2000s, his Rocawear clothing brand with Dame Dash produced for $700 million dollars in revenue. He’s part owner of cognac brand D’usse and he was a previous owner of the Brooklyn Nets.
He’s also gotten into film to help tell the stories of the injustices done to Kalief Browder and Trayvon Martin through documentaries.
JAY-Z’s business ventures have mostly been quite lucrative. The mogul went from rapping about Cristal to rapping about his own liquor brand, which is quite legendary in itself.
4. He’s a criminal justice reform and social justice advocate
Over time, Jigga has made it increasingly clear that bringing awareness to social issues that affect black people in America is of great importance.
Though he received backlash for connecting Roc Nation with the NFL in a multiyear partnership in an effort to amplify the league’s social justice efforts, he now sits in a room where all the grievances faced by players can be heard.
In 2017, he executive produced The Kalief Browder Story and the following year, he released Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story — two powerful and moving stories that deserved to be told.
5. He went from Marcy Projects to hip hop’s first billionaire
JAY-Z was raised in Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects and was in the streets before becoming a billionaire, rap star, and household name.
In fact, the rapper-turned-entrepreneur is the first rapper reach billionaire status, according to Forbes.
Mr. Carter has stakes in Uber worth an estimated $70 million, D’usse reportedly worth $100 million, and his Ace of Spades champagne investment is worth an estimated $310 million. This is only a fraction of the wealth Hov has built since 1996.
JAY-Z is a shining example of what it means to live the American Dream.
6. He owns artist-first streaming platform TIDAL
JAY-Z purchased tech company Aspiro for the streaming platform TIDAL, which is now the world’s third-largest subscription-based streaming company next to Apple Music and Spotify.
In 2015, Usher, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Kanye West and more pulled up to the TIDAL launch event in New York City as a way to announce the move. There, they announced the platform’s perks such as their lossless CD-quality listening option, and the fact that it pays more money to artists than other platforms.
TIDAL is touted as the independent artist’s platform of choice and is a game-changer. JAY-Z continues to find ways to control areas of the music business normally dominated by old, rich, white men by changing them from the inside.
7. He’s a family man
It’s true, JAY-Z is not married to an average woman. He’s married to Beyoncé. Married in 2001, the world witnessed the Carters’ ups and downs, as they welcomed their three children, Blue Ivy, Rumi and Sir into their lives.
Outside of music, JAY and Bey are also philanthropists. Moreover, they continue to dominate the music industry space as the most in-demand and respected entertainers of this generation. Their tours sell out, they plummet the competition on the Billboard charts, and even though they are seemingly anti-The Recording Academy, they collectively have a total of 46 Grammy awards. JAY-Z and Beyoncé are the power couple prototype.