“Nine to five is how to survive; I ain’t trying to survive I’m trying to live it to the limit and love it a lot.” Shawn Jay-Z Carter recited these lyrics on his debut 1996 now platinum album, Reasonable Doubt. As of June 3, 2019, Jay-Z is living to the limit as he’s become the first billionaire in hip-hop.
At the time of his first album, only Jay-Z would have imagined he would make it this far. Growing up in the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn, Carter’s life trajectory looked nothing like it does now. Even in the early days of him making music, record labels told him he wasn’t good enough. Still, Jay didn’t stop.
Fast forward to April 2008, and Jay-Z marries the best entertainer in the business, Beyoncé. The two instantly became a power couple, and their wealth started to grow exponentially together. The two eventually went on to become worth a billion together nine years after tying the knot. It took a little extra time, but “Hov” now stands in that category alone. Jay’s upbringing watching his mom struggle and selling narcotics taught him a lot.
“To be in a drug deal, you need to know what you can spend, what you need to re-up,” he said. Meanwhile, his mom struggled in Brooklyn. “We were living in a tough situation, but my mother managed; she juggled,” he recalled. “Sometimes ‘we’d pay the light bill; sometimes we paid the phone, sometimes the gas went off.”
The business-savvy artist has a ton of things he can credit to his massive financial upheaval. In 2015, Carter purchased and relaunched Tidal, which now has a value of $100 million. Also, his real estate portfolio accounts for $50 million. It’s safe to say Jay-Z is one of the smartest businessmen ever to pick up a microphone.