Shawn Corey Carter, better known as Jay Z, is an American rapper and businessman. He is one of the best selling musicians of all time, having sold more than 100 million records, while receiving 21 Grammy Awards for his music. MTV has ranked him as one of the greatest MC’s of all time in 2006. Take a look below for 30 more fun and interesting facts about Jay Z.
1. Rolling Stone has ranked three of his albums, Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint and The Black Album, among the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
2. In 2017, Forbes estimated his net worth at $810 million, making him the second richest hip hop artist in the United States.
3. As an artist, Jay Z holds the record for most number one albums by a solo artist on the U.S. Billboard 200 with 14. He has also had four number ones on the Billboard Hot 100.
4. In 2009, he was ranked the 10th most successful artist of the 2000’s by Billboard, as well as the 5th top solo male artist and 4th top rapper behind Eminem, Nelly and 50 Cent.
5. Jay Z owns the New York 40/40 Club sports bar, and is the co-creator of the clothing line Rocawear.
6. He is the former president of Def Jam Recordings, co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records, and the founder of the entertainment company Roc Nation. He also founded the sports agency Roc Nation Sports and is a certified NBA and MLB sports agent.
7. Jay Z married singer Beyonce in 2008. As a couple, they have an estimated net worth of $1.16 billion.
8. He lived in London in 1989. He recorded music with Monie Love and soaked in the culture before moving back to the United States.
9. Michael Jackson secretly sang on Jay Z’s hit single “Girls, Girls, Girls.” In an interview with NME, Jay Z said, “He was on my song “Girls, Girls, Girls” singing these background vocals and I didn’t even put his name on it.”
10. Jay Z’s father left the house when he was around 11 to 12 years old and never returned. They briefly reunited in 2003, but he died a few years later from a liver disease that he developed from a drinking problem.
11. His album Reasonable Doubt was originally called Heir To The Throne.
12. Jay Z tried to take Beyonce on a pizza date every Sunday in Brooklyn.
13. Jay Z and Busta Rhymes went to school together and once rap battled each other in the cafeteria.
14. He rode the subway to a shown in Brooklyn, New York.
15. His daughter, Blue Ivy, was featured on his song “Glory” when she was just two days old.
16. His earliest musical memory was listening to his parents copy of Marvin Gaye’s albums.
17. Jay Z was born on December 4, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York, and was raised in Marcy Houses. Marcy Houses was a housing project in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.
18. He claims in his lyrics that in 1982, at the age of 12, he shot his older brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry.
19. According to his interviews and lyrics, during his time in various high schools, Jay Z sold crack cocaine and was shot at three times.
20. According to his mother, Jay Z used to wake up his siblings at night banging out drum patterns on the kitchen table. She bought him a boom box for his birthday, sparking his interest in music. That’s when he began freestyling and writing lyrics.
21. Know as “Jazzy” around the neighborhood, he later adopted the stage name “Jay Z” in homage to his mentor Jaz-O.
22. He can be briefly heard on several of Jaz-O’s early recordings in the late 1980 and early 1990s, including “The Originators” and “Hawaiian Sophie”.
23. Jay Z became known to a wide audience on the posse cut “Show and Prove” on the 1994 Big Daddy Kane album Daddy’s Home.
24. He appeared on a popular song by Big L, “Da Graveyard”, and on Mic Geronimo’s “Time to Build”, which also featured early appearances by DMX and Ja Rule in 1995.
25. His first official rap single was called “In My Lifetime” for which he released a music video. An unreleased music video was also produced for the B-side “I Can’t Get With That”.
26. At first, he had no major label give him a record deal so he sold CD’s out of his car. Some time later, with Damon Dash and Kareem Biggs, he created Roc-A-Fella Records as an independent label in 1995. After getting a distribution deal with Priority, he released his 1996 debut album Reasonable Doubt with beats from producers such as DJ Premier and Super DJ Clark Kent and an appearance by The Notorious B.I.G.
27. In 1998, Jay released Vol. 2 … Hard Knock Life, which spawned the biggest hit of his career at the time, “Hard Knock Life Ghetto Anthem)”.
28. In October 2001, Jay Z plead guilty to stabbing record producer Lance Rivera at the Kit Kat Klub in New York City. For the convictions, a second degree felony, he was sentenced to 3 years probation.
29. On November 25, 2003, Jay Z held a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City, which would later be the focus of his movie Fade to Black. The concert was supposed to be his “retirement party” with all proceeds going to charity.
30. On November 16, 2010, Jay Z published a memoir titled Decoded.