Music’s most powerful couple has just gotten a little bit more powerful. According to Forbes, Jay-Z has just become the world’s first billionaire rapper.
Jay-Z and wife Beyoncé have long been an aspirational couple. The two have dominated the music industry for years, and while most have likely assumed the pair’s combined net worth to be extremely high, the news of Jay reaching billionaire status brings the power couple to a whole new level. So, how much is Jay-Z really worth—and how did he get his fortune?
As Forbes reports, Jay-Z (real name: Shawn Carter) has amassed a fortune that conservatively totals $1 billion, making him one of few entertainers that have ever become billionaires, as well as the first hip-hop artist to ever reach this landmark. But Jay-Z’s success lies in the fact that he is not exclusively a musician; his fortune spans several industries, from real estate to investments in companies like Uber, to the liquor and art industries.
Jay-Z’s story has humble beginnings. He grew up in the Marcy Projects, a public housing complex in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Jay worked as a drug dealer before getting into music, but once he entered this business, his savvy decisions set him up for success early.
Jay-Z started his own record label, Roc-A-Fella Records, and released a long line of award-winning albums over the course of two decades. He learned early on that the best way to grow wealth was by creating and investing in his own brands instead of promoting someone else's. This logic led him to build his own clothing line, Rocawear, which launched in 1999 and sold for $204 million in 2007.
Today, Jay Z has stakes in several companies, including $310 million stakes in champagne brand Armand de Brignac and his cognac brand, D'Ussé. His investing portfolio includes stakes in Uber that were reportedly purchased for $2 million in 2013, and are now worth roughly $70 million.
In 2015, Jay also purchased and relaunched Tidal, which is now worth $100 million. His art collection is worth $70 million, and his real estate portfolio is worth another $50 million. Suffice it to say: Jay has been a pretty smart businessman.
Though he initially got his start in music and is now considered to be the world's very first billionaire rapper, Jay-Z's financial prowess has spanned far beyond the industry. And, it paid off: His diverse experiences and interests have allowed him to build an empire that now blows most other musicians’ net worths out of the water.