With 14 #1 albums, 21 Grammy awards and a $1 billion fortune with wife Beyonce and their kids Blue Ivy and Rumi, Jay-Z is one of the most successful rappers in history. But his success didn’t come easy.
He built a business empire that includes his luxury sports bar chain 40/40, champagne brand Armand de Brignac and cognac brand D’Usse. His vast investment portfolio also includes a stake in Uber.
Born Shawn Corey Carter
He grew up in the Marcy housing projects and used rap as an outlet to escape his hard-knock life. Jay-Z was able to leverage his music into a successful business career that has made him rich and famous.
He owns a clothing line, the luxury sports bar chain 40/40 Club, and his entertainment company Roc Nation. He also has a stake in the cognac brand D’usse and is a partner of the NFL’s Super Bowl halftime show.
Outside of his business ventures, the “Hard Knock Life” rapper makes millions from touring, album sales and other endorsements. He is also a collector of art and owns several pricey homes, including a $26 million East Hampton mansion and a $88 million Bel Air estate. He and his wife Beyonce also have a swanky Tribeca penthouse that they purchased for $6.85 million in 2004.
Raised in Marcy Housing Projects
Jay-Z was raised in the Marcy Housing Projects, which is an apartment complex located in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. It was once one of the most infamous public housing projects in the country because of gun violence, drug use and domestic abuse incidents.
The environment that Carter grew up in influenced much of his music, especially the song “Where I’m From.” He used to make a living by selling cocaine, which he would deliver in the streets, where he could be shot at any time.
Now, he’s the first rapper to become a billionaire—with a fortune that includes stakes in his Rocawear clothing line, Tidal music streaming service and a handful of other business ventures. Despite his vast wealth, Jay-Z is humble about it all.
Founded Rocawear Clothing Line
As far as investments go, Jay-Z is a prolific businessman with an impressive portfolio of assets. He’s made millions of dollars through his clothing line Rocawear as well as ventures like Armand de Brignac champagne, Tidal music streaming service and D’Usse cognac brand.
Jay-Z’s Roc Nation entertainment company pays royalties to many of the artists he signs, including Kanye West and other rap superstars. He also owns a stake in luxury sports bar chain 40/40 Club and a majority share of the Brooklyn Nets.
His real estate holdings are worth a considerable sum, as is his collection of fine art. And, he and his wife Beyonce both own a private jet worth a cool $100 million. It’s these types of assets that helped Jay-Z crack the $2 billion mark.
Invested in Armand de Brignac Champagne
In his song “I’m a Business, Man,” Jay-Z rapped that he’s not a “musician; he’s a businessman.” And the “I Got The Keys” singer has certainly made that point abundantly clear over the years with his vast investing portfolio. He’s earned millions from his clothing line Rocawear, his luxury brands Armand de Brignac champagne and D’Usse cognac, and the streaming service Tidal.
The rapper first touted the brand in a 2006 music video after an executive at rival Champagne house Cristal reportedly made what Jay-Z considered to be a racist comment about the champagne’s association with hip-hop artists. He bought out the other investors in the company and became sole owner in 2014. He recently sold his stake to LVMH Mot Hennessy’s Spirits and Wine division in 2021.
Founded Roc Nation Entertainment
Roc Nation is a multi-faceted entertainment company. It has an artist management arm that has clients like Rihanna and a sports agency that represents athletes like Golden State Warriors guard Kevin Durant and Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The firm also owns luxury sports bars like the 40/40 Club and is an owner of a fashion line called Life + Times. It acquired the Norwegian technology company Aspiro in 2015 and relaunched Tidal to compete with Apple and Spotify. It also owns cognac brand D’Usse, which is a joint venture with Bacardi.
Roc Nation recently signed a deal with the NFL to curate, develop and provide music and entertainment for the league. The deal could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars for Jay-Z’s company.