As Gloria Carter tells us on track two of Jay-Z’s 2003 would-be swan song The Black Album, "Shawn Carter was born on December 4, weighing in at 10 pounds, 8 ounces." She doesn’t mention the year, but it was 1969, and that makes today the rapper and entrepreneur's 45th birthday. To mark this occasion, we're cruising through the alphabet, highlighting Hova's life and times one letter at a time. It's a crash course in this bling-rocking, Beyoncé-marrying, Blue Ivy-having Brooklynite's meteoric rise from crack slinger to world conqueror. Pop a cork and celebrate with this ultimate American success story of the last half-century.
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