Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter may be the second-coolest person in his marriage, but he’s still doing pretty well for himself. In a recent profile of the rapper, Forbes revealed that Jay is the first hip-hop artist to become a billionaire and one of only a “handful” of music artists to do so. To make the reference everyone online is making: he’s not a businessman, he’s a business, man.
Forbes breaks down how Jay-Z went from drug dealing in Brooklyn to running a multifaceted empire essentially by building his own brands and businesses rather than making promotion deals. The rapper’s assets cover far more than just his music, also including his Tidal streaming service, several record labels, his Roc Nation sports management company, a handful of liquor brands, a $70 million stake in Uber, a $70 million art collection and real estate holdings in Los Angeles, the Hamptons and Manhattan.
All that PLUS he gets to be married to Beyoncé? Unbelievable. Queen B herself boasts a comfortable $355 million net worth as of last year.
Waiting for someone to say that Jay-Z became a billionaire because he is married to Beyoncé.
So that I can agree.
— D O L L Y (@JustMe_Dolly) June 4, 2019
Entrepreneur resource site, Black Excellence also points out that Carter has become the fifth African American billionaire, following in the footsteps of Oprah, Michael Jordan and investor Robert F. Smith who recently paid off the student loans of the entire 2019 Morehouse College graduating class to the tune of about $40 million.
Jay is using his dollars for good, too. He teamed up with Meek Mill last year to launch REFORM Alliance, an advocacy organization that works to ” dramatically reduce the number of people who are unjustly under the control of the criminal justice system” by using its resources to “change laws, policies, hearts and minds.” The project was born out of the rappers’ close observations and first-hand experiences with the U.S. justice and prison systems which disproportionately impact and incarcerate people of colour.
If you’re up on your hip-hop lore, the news that Jay-Z is the “first billionaire rapper” might have given you pause since Dr. Dre supposedly claimed that title back in 2014 when he sold Beats Music to Apple for $3.2 billion. The thing is, as CNN points out, while the earnings for Dre’s stake in the company would have bumped his net worth up to $1.1 billion, they estimate the taxes on the sale knocked it down to just below $1 billion. So close, yet so far away.