Shawn Corey Carter known professionally as Jay-Z, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, and entrepreneur. He is one of the world’s best-selling music artists, and one of the most acclaimed rappers of all-time.
Born and raised in New York City, Jay-Z began his musical career in the mid 1990s, after which he released his debut studio album, Reasonable Doubt, in 1996, to widespread critical and commercial success. He released the album a year after founding the record label Roc-A-Fella Records. His subsequent albums have also seen great praise, with The Blueprint (2001) and The Black Album (2003) later being heralded as modern musical classics. He followed these with the collaborative album Watch the Throne (2011) with Kanye West, his critically lauded thirteenth studio album 4:44 (2017), and a collaborative effort with wife Beyoncé in 2018.
Jay-Z’s business acumen and life outside of music has also received significant mainstream attention. He is the owner of 40/40 Club sports bar, and co-creator of the Rocawear clothing line. He has also acted as the president of Def Jam Recordings, and is the founder of the Roc Nation entertainment company, as well as creating its spin-off, Roc Nation Sports. As a member of Roc Nation Sports, Jay-Z is a licensed sports agent. His heavily publicized marriage to singer Beyoncé in 2008 has made him a global figure in popular culture. As a couple, they have an estimated combined net worth of $1.16 billion, with his individual net worth of $900 million making him the richest hip hop artist in the world.
Jay-Z is among the most acclaimed musicians of the 21st century, and is one of the most acclaimed rappers of all-time. He has received 21 Grammy Awards, tied with Kanye West for the most by a rapper. He also holds the record for the most number-one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard 200, and has recorded four number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. The same publication ranked him as the biggest artist of the 2000s, while Rolling Stone named him one of the 100 greatest artists of all-time.
“Excellence is being able to perform at a high level over and over again. You can hit a half-court shot once. That’s just the luck of the draw. If you consistently do it… that’s excellence.”
“I’m a mirror. If you’re cool with me, I’m cool with you, and the exchange starts. What you see is what you reflect. If you don’t like what you see, then you’ve done something. If I’m standoffish, that’s because you are.”
“Politics – I still think it’s a bunch of liars and a bunch of self-interest. It’s not about the people: it’s about themselves and their rise to power. They are voting on things based on whether they will have the support of the people when they vote next time. They don’t have the balls to say, ‘I believe in this. I don’t care what happens.’”
“I’ve never looked at myself and said that I need to be a certain way to be around a certain sort of people. I’ve always wanted to stay true to myself, and I’ve managed to do that. People have to accept that.”
“Successful people have a bigger fear of failure than people who’ve never done anything because if you haven’t been successful, then you don’t know how it feels to lose it all.”
“I’m hungry for knowledge. The whole thing is to learn every day, to get brighter and brighter. That’s what this world is about. You look at someone like Gandhi, and he glowed. Martin Luther King glowed. Muhammad Ali glows. I think that’s from being bright all the time, and trying to be brighter.”
“Shakespeare was a man who wrote poetry. I’m a man who writes poetry. Why not compare yourself to the best?”