jay zFew know rapper Jay-Z by his birth name of Shawn Corey Carter. He is also an entrepreneur and record producer. He was born December 4th, 1969. He has sold more than 75 million albums around the world. His work has earned him 17 Grammys. He has 3 albums featured in the top 500 of all time by Rolling Stones Magazine.

Jay-Z grew up in a housing project location in Brooklyn, New York.  He has 3 siblings, and they were raised by his mother. His father abandoned the family when they were all young. He shot his own brother at the age of 12 for stealing from him. He went to school with future rappers including Busta Rhymes and The Notorious B.I.G but didn’t graduate.

Jay-Z says his childhood was full of women, guns, and using cocaine. He enjoyed the boombox his mom got him and he used the kitchen table for drums. He would write down the lyrics that came to mind. In the early 90s, he could be found involved in rapping battles. Many of these contests were judged by rapper JJ Cool J.

He couldn’t get a record label to promote him, so he created his own CDs. He sold them on the street out of the backseat of his car. His first CD was offered in 1995. In 1997, he was able to release his next album through Def Jam Records. He is good friends with U2 front man, Bono.

He is part owner of the New Jersey Nets. He was friends with deceased rapper, Biggie Smalls. He had actually spoken with him over the phone just hours before he was killed in Las Vegas, Nevada. He owns a restaurant called the Spotted Pig. Many celebrities dine there including former President Bill Clinton.

He owns clubs called 40/40 that are very popular. These are sports bars and they seem to be cropping up in many locations over time. He is also co-owner of a clothing line called Rocawear. He was once the President of Def Jam Records, but left to create his own record company. He has two of them – Roc A Fella Records and Roc Nation.

Jay-Z is married to singer Beyonce, they got married in 2008. The couple have one child together. He is considered to be one of the most successful rappers in history. As of 2012, Forbes estimated his worth around $500 million!

photo credits: flickr