Jay-Z: A True Success Story

© Joella Marano
Jay-Z is a true rag to riches story. Growing up poor in Brooklyn, NY, he has reached the ranks of society and defied the odds to be where he is today. Jay-Z Shawn Corey Carter was born on 4thof December 1969, and he started to rap at a very young age as a hobby and an escape. He joined rapper Jaz-O on the television show “Yo! MTV, Raps” in 1989 where he performed the song “The Originators” together. It was around this time that the young Carter also holds the nickname Jay-Z, which honoured his friend Jaz-O, derived from his childhood nickname “Jazzy”, and paid homage to the J/Z subway station close to his Brooklyn home. Jay-z is one of the best rappers in the world, an entrepreneur, and an occasional actor. His net worth is estimated roughly around $460 million in April 2012.

It was not until Carter and two friends founded their own record label, Roc-A-Fella Records that Jay-Z’s fame really began to grow. Carter released Reasonable Doubt as his debut album in 1996. The album included collaborations with Mary J. Blige and Notorious B.I.G, and it established Carter as a rising star in the Hip Hop world. In 1998, Carter reached another milestone in his career when he released his second album, Volume 2 Hard Knock Life. The title track landed him his first Grammy nomination, and it is his most popular track so far. The release of his album heightened Carter’s ascent to fame. Over the next few years, Carter released several hit singles including “Can I Get A…”, “Big Pimpin’”, and “03 Bonnie & Clyde”, a duet with his future wife, Beyonce Knowles. With the release of several successful albums, Jay-Z steadily became one of the biggest names in Hip Hop.

In 2003, Carter announced his retirement from rap following the release of his album, The Black Album. After his announcement, Carter turned to the business side of music and became president of Def Jam Recordings. While he was being the president of Def Jam Recordings, Carter signed popular acts such as Rihanna, NeYo, and Young Jeezy. He also assisted in Kanye Wests, conversion from music production to the best selling artist. However, he announced his resignation as president of Def Jam Recordings in 2007 stating that the company was resistant to change.

While he was reaching the top level of success in the music industry, he earned a substantial amount of money and created his own urban clothing line, which became incredibly popular on the streets. He invested in a club named 40/40, which is now an expensive sports bar.