Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter can officially add “billionaire” to his growing list of titles.
According to Forbes, the Brooklyn-born artist-turned-entrepreneur’s business empire is now worth $1 billion, making him “one of only a handful of entertainers to become a billionaire — and the first hip-hop artist to do so.”
Together, he and his wife Beyoncé — who has an estimated net worth of $355 million — became a billion-dollar couple in 2017. The short list of other billionaires in the entertainment industry includes “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, filmmaker Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and basketball legend Michael Jordan.
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In 1996, Jay-Z became a household name when he released his debut album, “Reasonable Doubt,” on his independent label, Roc-A-Fella Records. Since then, the 49-year-old — who has rapped about his unconventional rise from Brooklyn street corners to corporate boardrooms — has continued to expand his portfolio to include smart investments inside and outside of music.
In 1999, he launched clothing line Rocawear, which sold for a reported $204 million in 2007 to apparel company Iconix. A year later, Jay-Z launched entertainment company Roc Nation, which is now worth an estimated $75 million. In 2015, he submitted a bid to purchase the parent company of Scandinavian streaming service Tidal for a little less than $60 million. The service, which he relaunched later that year, is now worth $100 million, according to Forbes.
On his 13th studio album “4:44,” Carter detailed some of his investments, including artwork that he purchased years ago for $1 million. Today, Forbes estimates that his art collection is worth roughly $70 million.
Aside from investments in art and music, the hip-hop mogul has also expanded his empire to include investments in Uber, real estate and liquor. Forbes reports that his stake in Uber is worth an estimated $70 million, his real estate investments are worth an estimated $50 million and his cognac, D’Ussé, sells almost 200,000 cases annually and is worth $100 million. His investment in the champagne company Armand de Brignac is worth an estimated $310 million.
Warren Buffett, who appeared on the cover of Forbes with Jay-Z in 2010, said that Carter was “teaching in a lot bigger classroom than I’ll ever teach in,” and explained that “for a young person growing up, [Jay-Z] is the guy to learn from.”
“Jay-Z’s journey is the modern-day embodiment of the American dream,” Zack O’Malley Greenburg, Forbes editor and author of ”Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office,” tells Vibe. “His ascent offers an invaluable blueprint and inspiration to the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
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