Jay-Z is hip-hop’s first billionaire, but his empire extends way beyond music
Jay-Z has been many things: a rapper, a producer, an owner of a clothing line, a husband, a father, an investor, a music streaming platform developer. Now, Jay-Z is also hip-hop's first billionaire. Forbes broke the news on June 3, with a cover story that included a break down of Jay-Z's expansive fortune, outlining just how many different industries he's involved in.
Forbes calculated Jay-Z's wealth by “looking at the artist’s stakes in companies like Armand de Brignac champagne — applying our customary discount to private firms — then added up his income, subtracting a healthy amount to account for a superstar lifestyle.”
Jay-Z reportedly made his way into the billionaires club with fortunes from a wide portfolio that includes everything from liquor companies to art. Armand de Brignac champagne totaling $310 million, $220 million in cash and investments (including $70 million invested in Uber), $100 million from D’Ussé cognac, $100 million from Tidal, $75 million from his entertainment production company Roc Nation, $75 million from his music catalog, $70 million in his art collection, and $50 million from real estate, which includes properties in New York City's Tribeca neighborhood, Los Angeles, and the Hamptons.
The $1 billion net worth doesn't even include his wife's assets, which are quite substantial on their own. Beyoncé's estimated net worth is $355 million — the couple's combined net worth earned them billionaire status back in 2017. Jay-Z has long been predicted to become hip-hop's wealthiest man. Billionaire Warren Buffett once said of Jay-Z: “Jay is teaching in a lot bigger classroom than I’ll ever teach in. For a young person growing up, he’s the guy to learn from.”
Jay-Z began his career in the Marcy Avenue housing development in Brooklyn. As a teenager, he dealt drugs, but by 1996, he had co-founded Roc-a-Fella Records, where he released "Reasonable Doubt." Since then, Jay-Z has won 22 Grammys, released countless albums, and has been involved in some of the largest cultural moments in the country.
In 2010, Jay-Z told Forbes that "Hip-hop from the beginning has always been aspirational." The statement has not only rung true for Jay-Z, but for those who have written about him.
“Jay-Z’s journey is the modern-day embodiment of the American dream,” Zack O’Malley Greenburg, author of Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office told Vibe. “His ascent offers an invaluable blueprint and inspiration to the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
The news of Jay-Z's billionaire status was well received by his fans, who posted on social media to celebrate. Everyone from 50 Cent to Wendy Williams to NFL players offered their congratulations.
"Jay Z being the first hip hop artist to become a billionaire is legendary," Cincinnati Bengals player Davontae Harris wrote on Twitter.
Some even found the news to be inspiring. "Jay-Z became a billionaire today and he began that journey at the age of 26. He’s now 49. Don’t let NOBODY tell you it’s too late," another user wrote.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé have yet to publicly comment on the news – but given everything that they are involved with and invested in, they're both probably a bit busy.