You Won’t Believe Where Jay Z Made His Money – No, It’s Not What You Think

The music industry over the years has been a wealthy place for many consistent talents, and this rap mogul and hip-hop legend doesn't need any introduction. So in this article, we will be peeping under the hood of Jay-Z's net worth, early life, education, and background.

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Early Life

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Shawn Carter, popularly known by his stage name Jay-Z, was born on December 4th, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York. Jay-Z was the youngest of four children. Gloria Carter, his mother, worked as a small investment company clerk. Shawn grew up in Marcy Houses, some housing complex in Bedford Stuyvesant's neighborhood of Brooklyn.

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Family

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Adnis Reeves was Jay-Z's father, who abandoned the family while leaving Gloria Carter to care for the children on her own. Before the demise of Adnis Reeves in 2003, he met with his son and reconciled, and shortly passed on afterward. Jay-Z made a huge claim in one of his lyrics, saying he shot his older brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry.

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Education

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Jay-Z attended Eli Whitney's high school in Brooklyn until it was permanently closed. Then, Jay-Z resumed a new school at George Westinghouse, Career and Technical Education, a nearby High School with some rappers he grew up with, the likes of Busta Rhymes and The Notorious B.I.G. Afterwards followed his spell at Trenton Central High School in Trenton, New Jersey.

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Rough Childhood

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According to Jay-Z's response in an interview, the rap mogul said he didn't graduate like the others because he was selling cocaine and was shot three times, but he got lucky.

Jay-Z speaking in an interview, shared how his mother would wake his siblings in the middle of the night, beating out the sound patterns while in the kitchen. She got him a boom box for his birthday, arousing Jay-Z's interest in music. He started writing lyrics, composing his own notes and freestyling.

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Jazzy

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Jay-Z was formally known as Jazzy around his neighborhood. The music mogul later adopted his present stage name, Jay-Z, in respect and homage to Jaz-O, who happened to be Jay-Z's mentor. You can hear Jay-Z's music and rap style from the late Jaz-O early recordings in the 1980s and early 1990s.

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Ramo \\”Dame\\” Dash

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Jay-Z first became known to a broad audience in 1994 in “Poss for the Cut,” Big Daddy Kane's album titled Daddy's home. Jay-Z started up in the rap world when he was introduced to Ramo “Dame” Dash. Dash was only 19 but was already banging two records deal for two acts. Dash became Jay-Z's manager, and he met Dash's childhood friend Kareem “Burk” Biggs, who became Jay-Z's road manager.

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The First Record

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For more than two years, the 3 of them worked round the clock with no success in their quest to obtain a record deal. So they came together and then decided to form Roc-A-Fella – their own record label. They agreed to serve as partners. Jay-Z was the apex artist; the company's day-to-day operations fell to Dash, while Burk served as a barometer to fans on the street.

Shortly after Roc-A-Fella pulled a huge deal with Priority Records for the distribution of their album, the hip hop mogul Jay-Z released “Reasonable Doubt,” which turned out to be his first record.

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Business-minded

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The rap mogul was not just in for the music alone. Being on the streets selling crack cocaine also made Jay-Z very edgy and interested in the corporate aspect of the business. He became the chief of operations for Roc-A-Fella Records in 1994, producing records for other artists. Seemingly the same reasons for selling drugs translated him into a business-minded artist in the music world.

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\\”It's About the Business\\”

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Jay-Z loved the music but was more hooked on the money in the business. In an interview, Jay-Z, being reflective about his future, said, “regardless, my album has gone gold, and that would be my last. Hence from here on, it's about the business”.

Those statements should precede his retirement from hip hop, but in 1997 the rap mogul returned to hip hop releasing a new album titled “In My Lifetime.” The volumes followed, Vol 1, 1998, and best-selling Vol 2 titled the “Hard Knock Life,” which eventually won him a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.

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Roc-a-Fella Records

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Jay-Z sold CDs out of his car, having no major record deal. In 1995, with Dash and Burk, he created the independent Record label Roc-A-Fella Records. After sealing a distribution deal with Priority, the rap mogul released his debuted album in 1996, titled “Reasonable Doubt,” with beats from a big shark producer and A list DJ Premier and Super DJ Clark Kent and of course with The Notorious B.I.G.

The album got 23 on the Billboard 200 and won the majority favorite by critics. The album was later included amongst Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Times, ranking No 248, and predominantly reached platinum status.

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Def Jam Records

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Right after reaching what would be called a massive new distribution deal in 1997 with Def Jam Records, the rap mogul dropped a follow-up on his previous record, “In My Life, Vol 1,” produced by  Sean Puff Daddy. The record outsold the first.

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Reflecting on His Life

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Jay-Z later expressed in an interview that the album was produced during one of his most troubled moments, going through the loss of his friend. Jay-Z felt it was a time of revelation as he shared the story of his challenging childhood experience. He felt the album contrasted the other, while some opinionated fans felt he sold out. However, the album “In My Lifetime Vol.1 also got platinum status in the United States.

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Personal Life

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Jay-Z and Beyonce collaborated in 2002 with the song “03 Bonnie & Clyde”. The rap mogul featured in some of Beyoncé's major hits around the same year, titled “Crazy in Love,” followed by the track “That's How You Like It.” Amongst Beyoncé's debut album, titled “Dangerously in Love.” In her preceding album titled “B'Day,” Jay-Z made an appearance on the hit titled “Deja Vu” and one of Beyoncé's wave-making hits “Upgrade U.”

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Beyonce

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After these unique collaborations, they kept their relationship together as private as possible until April 4th, 2008, when they were eventually married. Afterward, their relationship became a matter of public interest and the talk of the world on April 22nd, 2008. However, Beyoncé kept her $5 million Lorraine Schwartz-designed wedding ring hidden from the public. On  September 5th, 2008, the power couple moved to their newly acquired $88 million castle in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles.

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Kids

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The power couple has three kids together. Blue Ivy is their first child, and then the twins Rumi and Sir Carter were born in June 2017. The couple generally avoids discussing their marriage, and Beyoncé has said that their low-profile stance on their relationship helped them a lot.

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Jay-z's Net Worth

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The breakdown worth of all Jay-Z's assets will definitely blow your mind, and after being officially declared a billionaire in 2018, the question of how much Jay-Z's net worth still makes people wonder. Jay-Z speaking in an interview, said “Hip Hop has always been an inspiration”.

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Becoming a Billionaire

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Jay-Z became a billionaire after a decade. First, Jay-Z pulled off a major deal to sell a majority stake in a music streaming company, Tidal, to Jack Dorsey's mobile payment company, for approximately $297 million. The company valued this deal at about $450 million, which is about $150 million, way more than the Forbes evaluation in 2018.

Significantly the rap mogul achieved a net worth of $149 million, broken down in cash and stock, and earned the seat as the head of the board after buying back approximately 33% of Tidal from T-Mobile. However, Tidal's artists still have a stake in the company, while Jay-Z still keeps his percentage.

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First Hip-hop Billionaire

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In 2021, after selling half of the Armand De Brignac champagne to LVMH, a deal valued the luxurious liquor company at approximately $640 million. These two huge deals literally skyrocketed Jay-Z's fortune as the first hip-hop billionaire with a massive net worth of $1.4 billion.

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This article was produced by The Scorching Point and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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Jason Butler is the owner of My Money Chronicles, a website where he discusses personal finance, side hustles, travel, and more. Jason is from Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Savannah State University with his BA in Marketing. Jason has been featured in Forbes, Discover, and Investopedia.