Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), known professionally as Jay-Z (/ˈdʒeɪ ˈziː/; stylized as JAY-Z),[a] is an American rapper, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, and record executive. Considered among the best rappers of all time, he is regarded as one of the world's most significant cultural icons and has been a global figure in popular culture for over two decades.
Born and raised in New York City, Jay-Z first began his musical career after founding the record label Roc-A-Fella Records in 1995, and subsequently released his debut studio album Reasonable Doubt in 1996. The album was released to widespread critical success, and solidified his standing in the music industry. He has gone onto release twelve additional albums, which have all attained generally positive critical reception and universal commercial success, with The Blueprint (2001) and The Black Album (2003) albums later being heralded as modern musical classics. He has also released the full-length collaborative albums Watch the Throne (2011) and Everything Is Love (2018) with Kanye West and wife Beyoncé, respectively.
Outside of his musical career, Jay-Z has also attained significant success and media attention for his career as a businessman. In 1999, he founded the clothing retailer Rocawear, and in 2003, he founded the luxury sports bar chain 40/40 Club. Both businesses have grown to become multi-million dollar corporations, and allowed Jay-Z to fund the start-up for the entertainment company Roc Nation, which was founded in 2008. In 2015, he acquired the tech company Aspiro, and took charge of their media streaming service Tidal, which has since become the world's third-largest online streaming company. His marriage to musician Beyoncé has also been a source of substantial media attention.
Jay-Z is among the most critically acclaimed musicians and one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with over 100 million records sold worldwide. He has won a total of 22 Grammy Awards, the most by a rapper, and holds the record for the most number-one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard 200, with 13. He has been ranked by Billboard and fellow music publication Rolling Stone as one of the 100 greatest artists of all time. In 2017, he became the first rapper to be honored into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 2018, received the commemorative "Salute to Industry Icons" award at the 60th Grammy Awards.
Carter in 2011
Shawn Corey Carter
December 4, 1969
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Net worth||US$900 million (2018)|
|Board member of||Aspiro|
Beyoncé (m. 2008)
|Awards||List of awards and nominations|
Carter was born in the Brooklyn borough of New York City and was raised in Marcy Houses, a housing project in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. After their father, Adnis Reeves, abandoned the family, Shawn and his three siblings were raised by their mother, Gloria Carter. Reeves would later meet and reconcile with Jay-Z before dying in 2003. Jay-Z claims in his lyrics that in 1982 at age 12, he shot his older brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry. Along with future rapper AZ, Carter attended Eli Whitney High School in Brooklyn until it was closed down. He then attended the nearby George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School with future rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes, followed by a stint at Trenton Central High School in Trenton, New Jersey, though he did not graduate. According to his interviews and lyrics, during this period he sold crack cocaine and was shot at three times.
According to his mother, Carter 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. He began freestyling and writing lyrics. Known as "Jazzy" around the neighborhood, Carter later adopted the showbiz/stage name "Jay-Z" in homage to his mentor Jaz-O.
Jay-Z can be briefly heard on several of Jaz-O's early recordings in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including "The Originators" and "Hawaiian Sophie." Jay-Z became embroiled in several battles with rapper LL Cool J in the early 1990s. He first became known to a wide audience on the posse cut "Show and Prove" on the 1994 Big Daddy Kane album Daddy's Home. Jay-Z has been referred to as Big Daddy Kane's hype man during this period, although Kane explains that he didn't fill the traditional hype man role, and was instead basically making cameo appearances on stage. "When I would leave the stage to go change outfits, I would bring out Jay-Z and Positive K and let them freestyle until I came back to the stage." The young Jay-Z 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. His first official rap single was called "In My Lifetime", for which he released a music video in 1995. An unreleased music video was also produced for the B-side "I Can't Get with That."
With no major label to give him a record deal, Jay-Z sold CDs out of his car and, with Damon Dash and Kareem Biggs, created Roc-A-Fella Records as an independent label in 1995. After striking a distribution deal with Priority, Jay-Z released his 1996 debut album Reasonable Doubt with beats from acclaimed producers such as DJ Premier and Super DJ Clark Kent and an appearance by The Notorious B.I.G.. The album reached number 23 on the Billboard 200, and was generally favored by critics. This album would later be included in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" as No. 248 and eventually reach platinum status.
After reaching a new distribution deal with Def Jam in 1997, Jay-Z released his follow-up In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. Produced by Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, it sold better than his previous effort. Jay-Z later explained that the album was made during one of the worst periods of his life when he was reeling from the death of his close friend, The Notorious B.I.G. The album was a personal revelation for Jay-Z as he told the stories of his difficult upbringing. The album's glossy production stood as a contrast to his first release, and some dedicated fans felt he had "sold out." However, the album did feature some beats from producers who had worked with him on Reasonable Doubt, namely DJ Premier and Ski. Like its predecessor, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 earned platinum status in the United States.
In 1998, Jay-Z released Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life which spawned the biggest hit of his career at the time, "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)". He relied more on flow and wordplay, and he continued with his penchant for mining beats from the popular producers of the day such as Swizz Beatz, an upstart in-house producer for Ruff Ryders, and Timbaland. Other producers included DJ Premier, Erick Sermon, The 45 King, and Kid Capri. Charting hits from this album included "Can I Get A...", featuring Ja Rule and Amil, and "Nigga What, Nigga Who", also featuring Amil. Vol. 2 would eventually become Jay-Z's most commercially successful album; it was certified 5× Platinum in the United States and has to date sold over five million copies. The album went on to win a Grammy Award, although Jay-Z boycotted the ceremony protesting DMX's failure to garner a Grammy nomination.
In 1999, Jay-Z dueted with Mariah Carey on "Heartbreaker", a song from her seventh album, Rainbow. In that same year, Jay-Z released Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter. The album proved successful and sold over 3 million copies. Vol. 3's most successful single was "Big Pimpin", featuring UGK.
In 2000, Jay-Z released The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, which was originally intended to become a compilation album for Roc-A-Fella artists but Def Jam turned into a Jay-Z album. The album helped to introduce newcomer producers The Neptunes, Just Blaze, Kanye West, and Bink, which have all gone on to achieve notable success. This is also the first album where Jay-Z utilizes a more soulful sound than his previous albums. The Dynasty sold over two million units in the U.S. alone.
In 2001,Jay-Z spoke out against Prodigy after he took an issue with a Jay-Z line from "Money, Cash, Hoes" that he felt alluded disparagingly to Mobb Deep and Prodigy's dispute with Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, and Death Row Records. He later performed the song "Takeover", at Summer Jam 2001, which initially attacked Prodigy and revealed photos of Prodigy dressed like Michael Jackson. A line at the end of "Takeover" referred to Nas, who criticized him on "We Will Survive". Nas responded with a diss track called "Ether" and Jay-Z straightaway added a verse to "Takeover" which dissed Nas and would start a feud between the two rappers. The feud had ended by 2005, Jay-Z stated Mark Pitts had helped them settle the feud.
On September 11, 2001, hours before the September 11 attacks, Jay-Z released his sixth studio album, The Blueprint, which received a coveted 5 mic review from hip-hop magazine The Source. Written in just two days, the album sold more than 427,000 copies, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and reached 2x platinum status in the U.S. It was lauded for its production and its balance of "mainstream" and "hardcore" rap. Eminem was the only guest rapper on the album, producing and rapping on the song "Renegade". Four tracks were produced by Kanye West and the album represents one of West's first major breaks in the industry. The Blueprint includes the popular songs "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)", "Girls, Girls, Girls", "Jigga That Nigga", and "Song Cry". As of February 2012, the album had sold 2,700,000 copies worldwide, even though its initial success had been overshadowed by the tragic events of 9/11. In 2019, The Blueprint was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
In October 2001, Jay-Z pleaded guilty to stabbing record producer Lance Rivera at the Kit Kat Klub in New York City in 1999. For this second degree felony, Jay-Z was sentenced to three years probation.
Jay-Z's next solo album was 2002's The Blueprint2: The Gift & the Curse, a double-album. The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at number one, selling over 3 million units in the U.S. alone and surpassing The Blueprint. It was later reissued in a single-disc version, The Blueprint 2.1, which retained half of the tracks from the original. The album spawned two massive hit singles, "Excuse Me Miss" and "'03 Bonnie & Clyde", which featured Jay-Z's future wife Beyoncé. "Guns & Roses", featuring Lenny Kravitz, and "Hovi Baby" were two successful radio singles as well. The album also contained the tracks "A Dream", featuring Faith Evans and the late The Notorious B.I.G.; and "The Bounce", featuring Kanye West. The Blueprint 2.1 featured tracks that do not appear on The Blueprint2: The Gift & the Curse, such as "Stop", "La La La (Excuse Me Again)", "What They Gonna Do, Part II" and "Beware" produced by and featuring Panjabi MC.
After visiting the south of France, Jay-Z announced work on his eighth studio album The Black Album at the opening of the 40/40 Club. He worked with several producers including Just Blaze, The Neptunes, Kanye West, Timbaland, Eminem, DJ Quik, 9th Wonder, The Buchanans, and Rick Rubin. Notable songs on the album included "What More Can I Say", "Dirt Off Your Shoulder", "Change Clothes", and "99 Problems". The Black Album has sold more than 3 million copies in the US. Jay-Z collaborated with R. Kelly and released a collaborative studio album, The Best of Both Worlds.
On November 25, 2003, Jay-Z held a concert—billed as a "retirement party" at Madison Square Garden in New York City, which would later be the focus of his film Fade to Black. All proceeds went to charity. Other performers included collaborators like the Roots (in the form of his backing band), Missy Elliott, Memphis Bleek, Beanie Siegel, Freeway, Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé, Twista, Ghostface Killah, Foxy Brown, Pharrell Williams and R. Kelly with special appearances by Voletta Wallace and Afeni Shakur, the mothers of The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur respectively. While Jay-Z had attested to a retirement from making new studio albums, various side projects and appearances soon followed. Included in these were a greatest hits record, as well as the release and tour of Unfinished Business, the second collaborative album between Jay-Z and R. Kelly.
In 2004, Jay-Z collaborated with rock group Linkin Park, in which they released their collaborative remix EP Collision Course, which featured mashups of both artists' songs, as well as a concert DVD. The album's only single, "Numb/Encore", went on to win a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, and was performed with Linkin Park live at the Grammys, with a special appearance by Paul McCartney, who added verses from the song "Yesterday". The EP sold over 1 million copies in the US. Jay-Z was the executive producer of The Rising Tied, the debut album of Fort Minor, the hip hop side project of Linkin Park rapper Mike Shinoda. Jay-Z also planned to retire in 2004.
Later in 2004, Jay-Z was named president of Def Jam Records, which led to Jay-Z, Dash and Biggs selling their remaining interests in Roc-A-Fella Records and Jay-Z taking control of both of the companies. Reportedly this major industry move was prompted by disagreements between Jay-Z and Dash as to what direction Roc-A-Fella could undertake. The publicized split between Jay-Z, Dash, and Biggs led to the former partners sending jabs at each other in interviews.
On October 27, 2005, Jay-Z headlined New York's Power 105.1 annual concert, Powerhouse. The concert was entitled the "I Declare War" concert leading to intense speculation in the weeks preceding the event on whom exactly Jay-Z would declare war. As he had previously "declared war" on other artists taking lyrical shots at him at other events, many believed that the Powerhouse show would represent an all-out assault by Jay-Z upon his rivals. The theme of the concert was Jay-Z's position as President and CEO of Def Jam, complete with an on-stage mock-up of the Oval Office. Many artists made appearances such as the old roster of Roc-A-Fella records artists, as well as Ne-Yo, Teairra Marí, T.I., Young Jeezy, Akon, Kanye West, Paul Wall, The LOX, and Diddy.
At the conclusion of the concert, Jay-Z put many arguments to rest to the surprise of hip hop fans. The most significant development in this show was closure to the infamous hip hop rivalry between Jay-Z and Nas. The two former rivals shook hands and shared the stage together to perform Jay-Z's "Dead Presidents" blended with Nas's song "The World is Yours".
Jay-Z returned with his comeback album on November 21, 2006, titled Kingdom Come. Jay-Z's comeback single, "Show Me What You Got", was leaked on the Internet in early October 2006, scheduled to be released later on that month, received heavy air-play after its leak, causing the FBI to step in and investigate. Jay-Z worked with video director Hype Williams, and the single's video was directed by F. Gary Gray. The album features production from Just Blaze, Pharrell, Kanye West, Dr. Dre and Coldplay's Chris Martin (single entitled "Beach Chair"). The first week saw 680,000 sales of the CD, which Entertainment Weekly said was "the highest single-week total in Jay's decade long career". This album has sold 2 million copies in the US.
Jay-Z released his tenth album entitled American Gangster on November 6, 2007. After viewing the Ridley Scott film of the same name, Jay-Z was heavily inspired to create a new "concept" album that depicts his experiences as a street-hustler. The album is not the film's official soundtrack, although it was distributed by Def Jam. Jay-Z's American Gangster depicts his life in correlation to the movie American Gangster. At the start of the album's first single, "Blue Magic", Jay-Z offers a dealer's manifesto while making references to political figures of the late 1980s with the lyric: "Blame Reagan for making me to into a monster, blame Oliver North and Iran-Contra, I ran contraband that they sponsored, before this rhymin' stuff we was in concert." Also notable about the "Blue Magic" music video was Jay-Z flashing €500 euro notes; Harvard Business School professor Rawi Abdelal called this a "turning point in American pop culture's response to globalization." The album has sold 1 million copies in the US. On January 1, 2008, Jay-Z resigned as president of Def Jam.
In the winter of 2008 it was announced that Jay-Z become the first major hip hop artist to headline Britain's 2008 Glastonbury Festival. Tickets sold out quickly. Former headliner Noel Gallagher of Oasis condemned the festival organizers for choosing Jay-Z to headline a traditionally guitar-driven festival. "I'm sorry, but Jay-Z?" Gallagher asked, swearing. "No chance. Glastonbury has a tradition of, kind of, guitar music, do you know what I mean? And even when they throw the odd curve balls in on a Sunday night—you go, 'Kylie Minogue? I don't know about that', do you know what I mean?—but I'm not having hip hop at Glastonbury, no way, no, no. It's wrong." As controversy mounted, Jay-Z replied, "We don't play guitars, Noel, but hip hop has put in its work like any other form of music. This headline show is just a natural progression. Rap music is still evolving. We have to respect each other's genre of music and move forward." Jay-Z opened his Glastonbury set with a tongue-in-cheek cover of Oasis's iconic song "Wonderwall", and went on to deliver a performance heralded as a successful response to pre-festival criticism.
He also headlined many other summer festivals in 2008, including Roskilde Festival in Denmark, Hove Festival in Norway and O2 Wireless Festival in London. During Kanye West's concert of August 6, 2008 at Madison Square Garden, Jay-Z came out to perform a new song and he and Kanye proclaimed that it was to be on The Blueprint 3. On May 21, 2009, Jay-Z announced he would be parting ways with Def Jam, and had struck a multimillion-dollar deal to sign with Live Nation, with whom he would start his Roc Nation imprint which would serve as a record label, talent/management agency, and music publishing company and also partnered up with production team Stargate to start a record label called StarRoc. Jay-Z's 11th studio album The Blueprint 3 was originally to be released on September 11, 2009, but was instead released in North America on September 8, 2009, due to increasing anticipation. Its international release followed on September 14. It is his 11th album to reach No.1 on the Billboard 200 and has surpassed Elvis Presley's previous record, making him the current solo artist record holder.
On October 9, 2009, Jay-Z kicked off his tour for The Blueprint 3, during which he supported his new album in North America. In a Shave Magazine review of his performance at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Jake Tomlinson expressed that "It was the type of smooth performance you would expect from the hip-hop superstar." The review gave this performance 4 stars. His North American tour continued until November 22, 2009. At his concert on November 8, 2009, at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, Rihanna joined him on stage and performed "Hard" for the very first time, then performed "Run This Town" with Jay-Z. Among his success, Jay-Z has ventured into producing Broadway shows. Along with Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, Jay-Z helped produced the play Fela!, a musical celebrating the work of the late Nigerian star Fela Kuti. Jay-Z said he was inspired by the power of Kuti's work and his life story, which resulted in his interest to help produce the musical. Fela! is a story about an African pioneer and political activist who made his first moves on the scene during the 1970s.
On January 23, 2010, Jay-Z released a track, "Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)", with Rihanna, and U2's Bono and The Edge, as well as performing it at the Hope For Haiti Now telethon. In June 2010, Eminem and Jay-Z announced they would perform together in a pair of concerts in Detroit and New York. The event was dubbed The Home & Home Tour. The first two concerts rapidly sold out, prompting the scheduling of an additional show at each venue. Jay-Z was the supporting act for U2 on the Australian and New Zealand leg of their U2 360° Tour, beginning in Auckland, New Zealand, in November 2010, followed by Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth in December. Jay-Z also appeared on stage during U2 performances of "Sunday Bloody Sunday", and in Auckland also on a five-track EP entitled Watch the Throne. Although, it was later revealed by West that the project had become a full-length LP. Recording sessions for the album took place at various recording locations and began in November 2010. The first single released for the project was "H•A•M". The track was co-produced by Lex Luger and West himself. The track ended up being on the deluxe edition of the album. The follow-up to that was the second single "Otis", which premiered on Funkmaster Flex's Hot 97 radio show, and was later released to the iTunes Store eleven days later. The song's existence, along with several other tracks from the album, was confirmed during a listening session hosted by Jay-Z. The album was first released on the iTunes Store, five days prior to it being released in physical format, a strategy Jay-Z later said was used to block an internet leak. It debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes Store in 23 countries. It also broke Coldplay's record for most albums sold in one week on the online retailer, selling 290,000 copies on iTunes alone. It held that record, until Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV was released twenty-one days later, selling only 10,000 copies more. It debuted on the US Billboard 200 chart at No. 1, selling 436,000 copies in its first week. The album received generally positive reviews. Jay-Z and West later gave a surprise performance of "Otis" at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. In April 2011, Jay-Z launched a blog-like, lifestyle website by the name of Life + Times. It covers everything from music, to fashion, to technology, to sports. The site is curated based on Jay-Z's interests, and he himself works with a small staff to produce every single piece of content.
Jay-Z collaborated with M.I.A on her single "XXXO", which achieved a fair level of success and went on to become remixed by several producers worldwide. In May 2012, Jay-Z and Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced Jay-Z as the curator and the headliner for the first annual "Budweiser Made in America" festival at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia on September 1 and 2, 2012. The performance was produced by Live Nation and assembled an eclectic lineup of "rock, hip hop, R&B, Latin music and dance" musicians. Jay-Z and Rihanna were the two main headlining acts for BBC Radio 1's 2012 Hackney Weekend music festival on June 23 to 24. Jay-Z opened his set with an appearance from Rihanna, they performed "Run this Town". On September 6, "Clique" was released, a single from the album "Cruel Summer", by GOOD Music. Kanye West and Big Sean starred alongside Jay-Z on the track. Jay-Z took the subway to his sold out show at The Barclays Center on October 6, 2012. On November 12, 2012, Coldplay announced that they will be playing with Jay-Z at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on December 31.
On September 23, 2010, Q-Tip confirmed working on Jay-Z's follow up album to The Blueprint 3, saying the album was to hit stores by spring 2011. In May 2012 it was reported that Jay-Z would work on new music with Roc Nation producer Jahlil Beats. Beats told XXL: "Me and Jay-Z been going back and forth. He picked a couple of my joints that he's working on. I don't even wanna say too much about Jay, but we definitely working on some stuff. I haven't even sent him a bunch of beats. I sent him my favorite stuff. He hit me right back like, 'Yo, I'ma go in on this,' or, 'I like this.'" The album has been named one of the most anticipated albums of 2013 by Complex Magazine, MTV, and XXL Magazine. Production will come from Jahlil Beats, Kanye West, Rick Rubin, Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, and Pharrell Williams. Jay-Z also made an appearance on Justin Timberlake's comeback single "Suit & Tie" from his third studio album The 20/20 Experience, the song itself was produced by both Jay-Z and Timberlake's mutual friend, Timbaland. Timberlake and Jay-Z embarked on the co-headlining Legends of the Summer Stadium Tour. During the fifth game of the 2013 NBA Finals, Carter announced his twelfth studio album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, and was released on July 4, 2013. Not long after, Jay-Z confirmed that the hyphen in his stage name would be left out and officially stylized in all capital letters Magna Carta Holy Grail debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold 528,000 copies in its first week, which bypassed its predicted debut in the range of 350,000 to 400,000. In December 2013, it was announced that Jay-Z had received nine nominations at the 2014 Grammy Awards, more than any other artist. Jay-Z appeared on his wife Beyoncé's self-titled fifth studio album, Beyoncé, with a feature on the song "Drunk in Love". They performed this song together at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards opening. The song and its accompanying album would later win three Grammy Awards including Best R&B Performance at the 2015 ceremony.
In early June 2017, posters were displayed in New York City and Los Angeles, as well as banner ads on the Internet promoting a Tidal-related project titled 4:44. A teaser ad was aired during the NBA Finals on June 7 featuring actors Mahershala Ali, Lupita Nyong'o and Danny Glover in a one-minute video, ending in "4:44 – 6.30.17, Exclusively on Tidal". On June 18, the project was confirmed to be a new Jay-Z album, and a clip featuring a song titled "Adnis" was posted on Sprint's YouTube page.
4:44 was released through Roc Nation and Universal Music Group, as an exclusive to Sprint and Tidal customers. The album is the first in a planned series of music exclusives from the Sprint–Tidal partnership. For a short time, on July 2, the album was made available for free digital download in Tidal's site. A physical edition was released on July 7, including three additional tracks. On the same day, the album was made available to other streaming platforms, such as Apple Music, Google Play Music and Amazon Music.
The album received widespread acclaim from critics, who praised its emotional and personal content. On July 5, the album was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), in recognition of one million copies purchased by Sprint and offered to consumers as free downloads. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, making it Jay-Z's 13th consecutive studio album to top the chart. The album spawned two singles, the title track "4:44" and "Bam", as well as several music videos, directed by a variety of high-profile collaborators. The album received a Grammy Award nomination for Album of the Year, while the title track was nominated for Song of the Year and "The Story of O.J." was nominated for Record of the Year at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.
On June 6, 2018, Jay-Z and Beyoncé kicked-off the On the Run II Tour in Cardiff, United Kingdom. Ten days later, at their final London performance, the pair unveiled Everything Is Love, their much-awaited joint studio album, credited under the name The Carters. The pair also released the video for the album's lead single, "Apeshit", on Beyoncé's official YouTube channel. The song won two awards from eight nominations at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards.
Jay-Z says his earliest exposure to music was through his parents' record collection, which was mostly of soul artists such as Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway. He says "I grew up around music, listening to all types of people... I'm into music that has soul in it, whether it be rap, R&B, pop music, whatever. As long as I can feel their soul through the wax, that's what I really listen to." He often uses excerpts from these artists as samples in his work, particularly in the Kanye West-productions included on The Blueprint.
Royce da 5'9" and Fredro Starr of Onyx both describe Jay-Z's emphasis on flow in the book How to Rap – Starr says that Jay-Z is "a master of the flow—he can flow fast, he can flow slow". The book describes how Jay-Z uses 'rests' to provide structure to a verse and how he uses 'partial linking' to add more rhymes to a verse. Jay-Z's early style is described by Vibe as "a distinctly Das EFX-type, stiggety style" on his 12" single "Can't Get With That", referring to the fast rhythms and vocal delivery of the group Das EFX. He is also known to write lyrics in his head, as described by Pusha T of Clipse in How to Rap, a style popular with many MCs such as The Notorious B.I.G., Everlast, Bobby Creekwater and Guerilla Black. Shock G of Digital Underground describes Jay-Z's performance style, saying he "rarely breaks a sweat, and instead uses smoothness and clever wordplay to keep the audience interested and entertained".
Jay-Z appeared in a 2003 Reebok collection advertising his S. Carter Collection.
Jay-Z has also established himself as a successful entrepreneur with a business empire spanning a variety of industries from clothing lines, beverages, real estate, sport teams, and record labels. In an interview, he stated that "my brands are an extension of me. They're close to me. It's not like running GM, where there's no emotional attachment." Jay-Z and Damon Dash are the founders of the urban clothing brand Rocawear. Rocawear has clothing lines and accessories for men, women and children. The line was taken over by Jay-Z in early 2006 following a falling out with Dash. In March 2007, Jay-Z sold the rights to the Rocawear brand to Iconix Brand Group, for $204 million. He retains his stake in the company and continues to oversee the marketing, licensing and product development. He also co-owns the 40/40 Club, an upscale sports bar that started in New York City and has since expanded to Atlantic City and Chicago. In 2008, the 40/40 club in Las Vegas was closed down and bought back by the hotel after attendance steadily declined. In 2005, Jay-Z became an investor in Carol's Daughter, a line of beauty products, including products for hair, skin, and hands. In September 2013, his stake in Barclays Center was sold for $1.5 million.
Jay-Z serves as co-brand director for Budweiser Select and collaborates with the company on strategic marketing programs and creative ad development. He provides direction on brand programs and ads that appear on TV, radio, print, and high-profile events. He is also yet to expand his 40/40 Club sports bar in as many as 20 airports, as he makes deals with his business partners, Juan and Desiree Perez. He is a part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets NBA team, having paid a reported $4.5 million for his share, which declined in value to $350,000 in April 2013. He encouraged the team's relocation to Brooklyn's Barclays Center (from New Jersey) in the 2012–2013 season, at which point the team took on the Brooklyn Nets moniker. In October 2005, he was reported in English media as considering buying a stake of Arsenal F.C., an English soccer team. He has also invested in a real estate development venture called J Hotels which recently acquired a $66 million mid-block parcel in Chelsea, New York. Jay-Z and his partners are contemplating constructing a high-end hotel or an art gallery building on the newly acquired site which has the potential to go up about twelve stories. Through his conglomerate company Gain Global Investments Network LLC, he had an interest estimated between 2 and 7% in the Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG) consortium, which in January 2010 was awarded a contract to operate a 4,500 slot machine racino at the Aqueduct Race Track. Jay-Z became interested in the project after New York Governor David Paterson who awarded the contract said there had to be an affirmative action component to the ownership. Jay-Z initially approached by casino mogul Steve Wynn who was also bidding on the contract. On March 9, 2010, Jay-Z and Flake withdrew from the project and Paterson recused himself from further involvement.
On April 2, 2013, ESPN Jay-Z launched his own sports agency, Roc Nation Sports, with a focus on the representations of various professional athletes. The sport management group will work as partners with Creative Artists Agency. In conjunction with the agency's launch, New York Yankees's second baseman Robinson Canó left agent Scott Boras to sign with the company. Sources have mentioned that Jay-Z himself is planning to be a certified sports agent, first in baseball and eventually in basketball and football. In order to represent clients in basketball, he would have to give up his small share of the Brooklyn Nets. On April 18, 2013, Jay-Z officially announced through his Life + Times website in a press release that he will be relinquishing his ownership in the Brooklyn Nets. The shares were eventually sold to singer, rapper, actor and entrepreneur Will Pan, making Wilber the first American of Taiwanese descent to own a US professional sports franchise. Jay-Z's cited Wilber's athletic background (he was a team captain of his high school basketball team and played in college), his multitude of musical styles, his influence in the Taiwanese American community, and his business acumen and portfolio (including being the founder and chief executive of software company Camigo Media and a co-founder of streetwear boutique N.P.C [New Project Center]), as reasons why his bid was successful.
In 2014, Jay-Z invested $200 million in Armand de Brignac champagne owned Sovereign Brands, a New York-based wine and spirits company for a 100 percent stake, making it the second alcoholic product acquisition in his financial investment portfolio. The brand is known for its popularity with high-profile artists as being the gold bottles often referred to in media. His ties to the company date back to 2006, and he received millions of dollars per year for his association with Armand de Brignac before he bought the entire company.
In March 2015, Jay-Z completed the $56 million acquisition of Aspiro, a Norwegian media technology company that operates the subscription-based music streaming service Tidal, which has been in operation since October 2014. The music service was acquired through his company Project Panther Bidco Ltd. (an entity indirectly owned by Jay-Z's S. Carter Enterprises a company holding interests in leading international music, media and entertainment companies). The acquisition was completed with the help of Mooreland Partners, a leading global technology-focused M&A advisory firm, which acted as financial advisor to Aspiro. The music service combines lossless audio and high definition music videos with curated editorial. The main idea of the service is to bring major revenue streams back to the music artists themselves as the idea of an artist-owned streaming platform was stated as to "restore the value to music by launching a service owned by artists." Jay-Z currently is a major shareholder in the company.
Parlux fragrances sued Jay-Z for $18 million for the failure of his cologne, Gold. They claim the cologne's failure is due to Jay-Z not doing social media posts and interviews about the cologne. Parlux claims they projected selling $15 million the first year, and $35 million the second, and subsequent years after the launch. The fragrance sold $14 million the first year and $6.1 million the second. Parlux supposedly lost money on the venture and have had constant returns of unsold inventory.
In July 2015, Carter made a significant investment to JetSmarter, an app helping people book private executive plane flights. The app was built by Sergey Petrossov. Jay-Z collaborated with Cohiba to launch his own cigars.
In 2016, he signed a two-year exclusive film and TV Deal with Weinstein Company and with the deal gives them first-look options to create scripted and unscripted TV projects and film projects, and those projects were in works. As part of his deal with Weinstein company, he produced a documentary series on the life of Kalief Browder who was imprisoned for three years and committed suicide upon his release. He also addressed racial profiling and police brutality in a conscious manner.
Jay-Z is married to American singer Beyoncé. In 2002, Jay-Z and Beyoncé collaborated for the song "'03 Bonnie & Clyde". Jay-Z also appeared on Beyoncé's hit single "Crazy in Love" as well as "That's How You Like It" from her debut album Dangerously in Love. On her second album, B'Day, he made appearances on the 2006 hits, "Déjà Vu" and "Upgrade U". In the video for the latter song, she comically imitates his appearance. The couple generally avoids discussing their relationship. Beyoncé has stated that she believes that not publicly discussing their relationship has helped them. Jay-Z said in a People article, "We don't play with our relationship." They kept a low profile while dating, and married in April 2008. It became a matter of public record on April 22, 2008, but Beyoncé did not publicly debut her $5 million Lorraine Schwartz-designed wedding ring until the Fashion Rocks concert on September 5, 2008, in New York City.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z were listed as the most powerful couple for TIME magazine's 100 most influential people of 2006. In January 2009, Forbes ranked them as Hollywood's top-earning couple, with a combined total of $162 million. They made it to the top of the list the following year, with a combined total of $122 million between June 2008 and June 2009.
At the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, Beyoncé revealed that she was pregnant with their first child and on January 7, 2012, she gave birth to their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. On January 9, 2012, Jay-Z released "Glory", a song dedicated to their child, on his social website LifeandTimes.com. The song detailed the couple's pregnancy struggles, including a miscarriage Beyoncé suffered before becoming pregnant with their daughter. Because Blue's cries were included at the end of the song and she was officially credited on the song as "B.I.C", at two days old she became the youngest person ever to appear on a Billboard chart when "Glory" debuted on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at number 74. On June 18, 2017, Beyoncé's father Mathew Knowles confirmed that she had given birth to twins with Jay-Z, a daughter, Rumi, and a son, Sir.
On December 1, 1999, Jay-Z, who had come to believe that record executive Lance "Un" Rivera was behind the bootlegging of Vol. 3..., allegedly stabbed Rivera at the release party for Q-Tip's album Amplified at the Kit Kat Klub, a now-defunct night club in Times Square, New York City. Jay-Z's associates at the party were accused of causing a commotion within the club, which Jay-Z allegedly used as cover when he supposedly stabbed Rivera in the stomach with a five-inch (127 mm) blade. He surrendered to police the following evening and was placed under arrest, although he was soon released on $50,000 bail. When he was indicted in Manhattan Criminal Court in late January 2000, he pleaded not guilty; he and his lawyers contended that they had witnesses and videotapes proving he had been nowhere near Rivera during the incident. Nevertheless, he later pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and accepted a three-year probation sentence.
Jay-Z later addressed the case in his 2010 book Decoded:
One night I went to Q-Tip's solo album release party and at some point in the night, I ran into the guy everyone's been telling me is behind the bootleg. So I approached him. When I told him what I suspected, to my surprise, he got real loud with me right there in the middle of the club. It was strange. We separated and I went over to the bar. I was sitting there like, "No the fuck this nigga did not....." I was talking to people, but I was really talking to myself out loud, just in a state of shock. Before I even realized what I was doing, I headed back over to him, but this time I was blacking out with anger. The next thing I knew, all hell had broken loose in the club. That night the guy went straight to the police and I was indicted...
There was no reason to put my life on the line, and the lives of everyone who depends on me, because of a momentary loss of control..... I vowed to never allow myself to be in a situation like that again.
During his retirement, Jay-Z also became involved in philanthropic activity. In 2003, Jay-Z, together with his mother, founded The Shawn Carter Foundation, which has assisted eligible students facing socio-economic hardships through college. On August 9, 2006, he met with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan at the organization's headquarters in New York City. The rapper pledged to use his upcoming world tour to raise awareness of and combat global water shortage. Already on the look-out for a way to, in his own words, "become helpful", he had been made aware of this issue during a visit to Africa by Bono from the rock group U2. The effort took place in partnership with the UN, as well as MTV, which produced a documentary entitled Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Life, first airing in November 2006. Along with Sean "Diddy" Combs, Jay-Z pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross' relief effort after Hurricane Katrina. Jay-Z stated his support for Kanye West after the latter's outburst against President Bush during a live Katrina charity telethon. He also addressed the issue of the Katrina disaster, and the government's response, in his one verse song "Minority Report".
Jay-Z has previously stated in a song that "the greatest form of giving is anonymous to anonymous" and, in 2013, it was revealed by author dream hampton, who co-wrote Jay-Z's book Decoded, that he quietly established a trust fund for Sean Bell's children.
In 2006, Jay-Z appeared with Russell Simmons in a PSA combatting racism and anti-Semitism organized by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. By 2008, Jay-Z was actively involved in the 2008 presidential campaign, where he supported increased voter participation and helped send voters to polling stations. He was an early supporter for the candidacy of Illinois senator and subsequent U.S. president Barack Obama, performing for free in voter-drive concerts financed by the Democrats' campaign. He also became acquainted with Obama himself, who stated "Every time I talk to Jay-Z, who is a brilliant talent and a good guy, I enjoy how he thinks. That's somebody who is going to start branching out and can help shape attitudes in a real positive way." During the 2010 mid-term elections' campaign, Jay-Z appeared, along with other artists, in an ad prepared by the HeadCount organization, urging voters, and especially younger ones, to register and vote. In May 2012, Jay-Z announced his endorsement of President Obama's support of same-sex marriage and participated in his re-election campaign.
Musician and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte has been openly critical of Jay-Z and Beyoncé in their relatively safe political stances, saying that they "have turned their back on social responsibility" in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. A Syracuse University finance professor also gave similar opinions, pointing to Jay-Z's only giving $6,000 to charity after making $63 million in 2012. He also voiced that the hip-hop mogul likely would never have come out in support of gay marriage had President Obama not first taken the initiative.
In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Jay-Z and Beyoncé supported presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at her rally in Cleveland. Clinton praised Jay-Z for addressing racism, oppression, and the criminal justice system.
Jay Z and Beyonce purchased a 30,000-square-foot mansion in Los Angeles' Bel Air neighborhood for $88 million.
After debuting in the late '90s with Reasonable Doubt and In My Lifetime, Vol 1, he began a chart run that notched over a dozen number one albums spread over two decades, including the multiplatinum, Grammy-winning Vol. 2...Hard Knock Life (1999), the Blueprint series ('01, '02, '09), and The Black Album (2003).
Jay-Z's ambitious entrance into the streaming music business, which came as a surprise to industry observers, debuted Monday (March 30) at an event at New York's James A. Farley Post Office in Herald Square.
American Gangster is the tenth studio album by American rapper Jay-Z. It was conceived as a concept album—inspired by the 2007 film of the same name—and released on November 6 of that year by Roc-A-Fella Records. The album features production from Diddy & The Hitmen, Just Blaze, and The Neptunes, among others. Guest appearances include Beanie Sigel, Lil Wayne, Pharrell and Nas.
American Gangster was released to commercial success, despite being pulled from the iTunes Store at Jay-Z's request, at the time of its initial release. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 425,861 copies in its first week, while tying Elvis Presley for the second most American number-one albums. American Gangster received widespread critical acclaim and was viewed by critics as a return to form for Jay-Z after the 2006 album Kingdom Come.Beyoncé
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter (; born September 4, 1981) is an American singer-songwriter. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Beyoncé performed in various singing and dancing competitions as a child. She rose to fame in the late 1990s as lead singer of the R&B girl-group Destiny's Child. Managed by her father, Mathew Knowles, the group became one of the best-selling girl groups in history. Their hiatus saw Beyoncé's theatrical film debut in Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002), and the release of her first solo album, Dangerously in Love (2003). The album established her as a solo artist worldwide, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart and earned her five Grammy Awards. The album also featured the Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles, "Crazy in Love" and "Baby Boy".
Following the break-up of Destiny's Child in 2006, she had released her second solo album, B'Day, which contained her fourth number-one single, "Irreplaceable", as well as the top ten singles, "Déjà Vu", and "Beautiful Liar". Beyoncé also continued her acting career, with starring roles in The Pink Panther (2006), Dreamgirls (2006), and Obsessed (2009). Her marriage to rapper Jay-Z and her portrayal of Etta James in Cadillac Records (2008), influenced her third album, I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008), which saw the introduction of her alter-ego, Sasha Fierce and earned a record-setting six Grammy Awards in 2010, including Song of the Year for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)". Beyoncé took a hiatus from music in 2010 and took over management of her career; her fourth album, 4 (2011), was subsequently mellower in tone, exploring 1970s funk, 1980s pop, and 1990s soul. Her critically acclaimed eponymous album, released in 2013 with no prior announcement, was distinguished from previous releases by its experimental production and exploration of darker themes. Her sixth album, Lemonade (2016), also received widespread critical acclaim, with many referring to it as her most personal and political work to date, and subsequently became the best-selling album of 2016. In 2018, she released Everything Is Love, a collaborative album with her husband Jay-Z, as The Carters.
Throughout her career, Beyoncé has sold over 100 million records worldwide as a solo artist,and is still selling. With further 60 million records with Destiny's Child, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She is a multi-platinum, Grammy-Award-winning recording artist, who is acclaimed for her thrilling vocals, videos, and live concert shows. The Recording Industry Association of America recognized Beyoncé as the Top Certified Artist in America during the 2000s decade. In 2009, Billboard named her the Top Radio Songs Artist of the Decade and the Top Female Artist of the 2000s decade. Among numerous awards and accolades, Beyoncé has won 23 Grammy Awards and is the most nominated woman in the award's history. She is also the most awarded artist at the MTV Video Music Awards, with 24 wins, including the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. In 2008, she was awarded the Legend Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts at the World Music Awards. In 2011, Beyoncé was presented with the inaugural Millennium Award at the Billboard Music Awards. In 2014, she became the highest-paid black musician in history and was listed among Time's 100 most influential people in the world for a second year in a row. Forbes ranked her as the most powerful female in entertainment on their 2015 and 2017 lists, and in 2016, she occupied the sixth place for Time's Person of the Year. In 2016, she was awarded the Fashion Icon lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. With the release of Lemonade, Beyoncé became the first and only musical act in Billboard chart history to debut at number one with their first six solo studio albums.Empire State of Mind
"Empire State of Mind" is a song performed by American rapper Jay-Z featuring vocals by American singer Alicia Keys, from Jay-Z's 11th studio album, The Blueprint 3 (2009). Produced by Al Shux and co-produced by Angela Hunte and Jane't Sewell-Ulepic, the song features a music sample of "Love on a Two-Way Street" performed by The Moments. It was originally written by Hunte and Sewell-Ulepic as a tribute to their hometown, New York City. The following month, they submitted it to Jay-Z's label Roc Nation, whose reviews were a discouragement. They later took the suggestion of an associate of EMI Music Publishing and resubmitted it to Jay-Z, who kept the "New York" singing part on the hook, changed the verses, and recorded it.
The song originally featured Hunte on the hook, but when Hunte and Sewell-Ulepic were asked if they thought anyone else would be more appropriate for the chorus, Hunte suggested Keys. Mary J. Blige was also considered for the part, but Keys was chosen after Jay-Z heard the song's piano loop. "Empire State of Mind" contains songwriting contributions from Keys and Shux. The song was described by critics as an "orchestral rap ballad" with "crashing piano chords" and a "soaring" hook. It contains references to various locations in New York and its famous residents, while describing the city's essence. Profanity is present throughout the song and, although it is usually included during live performances, it was omitted during the performance at Game 2 of the 2009 World Series.
A critical success, "Empire State of Mind" was included in multiple critics' top 10 list of the best songs of 2009, including Rolling Stone magazine and The New York Times. It was also nominated for three Grammy Awards, winning Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. The song achieved commercial success worldwide. It peaked within the top 10 in many countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Italy and Sweden. In the US, the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks, becoming Jay-Z's first number-one single on the chart as a lead artist. It appeared in 2009 year-end charts in Italy, Australia and the US, where it was also the last number one hit of the 2000s. As of June 2014, the single has sold over 5.5 million copies in the United States.In the song's music video, which is primarily in black-and-white, Jay-Z and Keys are shown performing the song in various locations in New York. "Empire State of Mind" was released as the third single from The Blueprint 3 in October 2009. It has been performed by Jay-Z and Keys multiple times, including during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and the 2009 American Music Awards. Usually when the duo performs the song, an overhead screen shows images of places in New York. Keys recorded a sequel entitled "Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down", which is featured on her fourth studio album The Element of Freedom (2009). Her version was positively received by critics, reached the Top 10 in the UK, the Netherlands and Ireland charts, and peaked at number fifty-five on the Billboard Hot 100 without an official release. Keys said that she chose to record her own version of "Empire State of Mind" because she wanted to express her own personal feelings about New York.Everything Is Love
Everything is Love is a collaborative studio album by American singer Beyoncé and rapper Jay-Z, billed as the Carters, their surnames by marriage. It was released on June 16, 2018, by Parkwood Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment, S.C Enterprises, and Roc Nation.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z produced the album alongside a variety of collaborators, including Cool & Dre, Boi-1da, and Pharrell Williams. Additional vocalists recorded for the album include Williams, Quavo, Offset, and Ty Dolla Sign, among others. The hip hop and R&B album explores themes of romantic love, fame, wealth, and black pride.
The album was not made public until its release was announced by Beyonce and Jay-Z while onstage at a London concert for their On the Run II Tour and later through their social media accounts. It was originally exclusive to the music distribution service Tidal, before given a wider release on June 18, 2018. In its first week, Everything Is Love debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, recording 123,000 album-equivalent units, of which 70,000 were pure album sales. At the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, the album won for Best Urban Contemporary Album, and was nominated Best Music Video for "Apeshit" and Best R&B Performance for "Summer".Jay-Z albums discography
American rapper Jay-Z has released thirteen solo studio albums, four collaboration albums, one live album, five compilation albums, one soundtrack album, two extended plays, one hundred and fifteen singles (including forty-five as a featured artist), nine promotional singles and eighty-two music videos. As of December 2014, Jay-Z sold 55 million studio albums worldwide.Jay-Z began his music career in the 1980s, building a reputation as a fledgling rapper in his hometown of Brooklyn and collaborating with his mentor and fellow rapper Jaz-O. Jay-Z later founded Roc-A-Fella Records with close friends Damon Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke and released his debut studio album Reasonable Doubt in June 1996. The album peaked at number twenty-three on the United States Billboard 200 record chart and has since been recognized as a seminal work of the hip hop genre. Its singles included "Dead Presidents", "Ain't No Nigga" and "Can't Knock the Hustle", all of which reached the top ten on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart. In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997), which saw Jay-Z collaborating with producers such as Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs and Teddy Riley, peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and earned a platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life was released in September 1998 and became his first number-one album in the United States. The album featured the international hits "Can I Get A..." and "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)", which both reached top twenty of the Billboard Hot 100. Vol. 2 was certified five times platinum by the RIAA and won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album in 1999. Two more chart-topping albums – Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter and The Dynasty: Roc La Familia – followed in December 1999 and October 2000 respectively. The albums included hit singles such as "Big Pimpin'" and "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)" and featured several guest appearances from artists signed to Roc-A-Fella Records.Jay-Z's sixth studio album The Blueprint, released in September 2001, became controversial for including lyrics attacking other New York City rappers. Nonetheless, The Blueprint topped the Billboard 200 and produced Jay-Z's first Billboard Hot 100 top ten single, "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)". The Blueprint is critically reviewed as his best album. The Best of Both Worlds, a collaboration with American R&B singer R. Kelly, and The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse were both released the following year. The latter album peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and featured the top ten singles "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" and "Excuse Me Miss". The Black Album, released in November 2003, was intended by Jay-Z to be his final studio album and features his impending retirement as a recurring theme. The album performed well commercially and was later certified three times platinum by the RIAA.Following a period of dormancy, Jay-Z became president of Def Jam Recordings in December 2004 and resumed his rap career two years later with the release of Kingdom Come, which peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 and was certified two times platinum from the RIAA. The concept album American Gangster followed in 2007 and continued his streak of number-one albums in the United States. With the release of The Blueprint 3 in September 2009, Jay-Z surpassed Elvis Presley as the solo artist with the most number-one albums on the Billboard 200. The album included the international hits "Run This Town", "Empire State of Mind" and "Young Forever". Watch the Throne, a collaborative album with American rapper Kanye West, followed in August 2011 and became Jay-Z's eleventh number-one album in the United States. His album Magna Carta Holy Grail was released in July 2013 to great commercial success, topping the Billboard 200 and having the second-biggest sales week for 2013 at the time of its release.Magna Carta Holy Grail
Magna Carta Holy Grail (alternatively written and stylized as Magna Carta... Holy Grail) is the twelfth studio album by American rapper Jay-Z. It was made available for free digital download for Samsung customers via the Jay-Z Magna Carta app on July 4, 2013. It was released for retail sale on July 8, 2013, by Roc-A-Fella, Roc Nation, and Universal Music Distribution. The album features guest appearances by Justin Timberlake, Nas, Rick Ross, Frank Ocean and Beyoncé. Most of the album was produced by Timbaland and Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon, while other producers included Boi-1da, Mike Will Made It, Hit-Boy, Mike Dean, No I.D., The-Dream, Swizz Beatz, and Pharrell Williams among others. The album was promoted through various commercials presented by Samsung and was not preceded by any retail singles.
Upon its release, Magna Carta Holy Grail was met with mixed reviews from music critics. Some complimented the album's production and composition, while others were disappointed with its overall theme and found many songs repetitive. On the day of its physical release in the United States, the album was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of 1,000,000 copies. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 528,000 copies in its first week, making it Jay-Z's 13th consecutive studio album to top the chart. On September 2, 2013, it was announced that Magna Carta Holy Grail was certified double Platinum by the RIAA, for shipments of two million copies in the United States. The album was nominated in six categories at the 2014 Grammy Awards winning the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration trophy for "Holy Grail" featuring Justin Timberlake.
The album spawned three successful singles, "Holy Grail", "Tom Ford" and "Part II (On the Run)" featuring Beyoncé. Multiple other songs on the album achieved chart success including, "FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt", "Oceans", "Heaven" and "Picasso Baby". Additionally, the album was supported by three concert tours: Legends of the Summer (co-headlined with Justin Timberlake), Magna Carter World Tour and On the Run Tour (co-headlined with his wife Beyoncé).Monster (Kanye West song)
"Monster" is a song by American hip hop recording artist Kanye West, released as the third single from his fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010). The track features rappers Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Trinidadian-American rapper Nicki Minaj, and singer Justin Vernon of indie folk group Bon Iver. All five credited performers have writing credits on the posse cut, with the production handled by West and Mike Dean. Lyrically, the song expresses often disturbing, horror film-influenced concepts, with some comparing the track's eerie aesthetic to the Michael Jackson song "Thriller". The song contains an atmospheric, drum-heavy composition, notable for featuring no samples.
Originally released through West's GOOD Friday initiative, a weekly free music giveaway he started to promote My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, the song was later confirmed to be featured on the album, and was released as a digital download on October 23. The song was listed amongst the best tracks of 2010 by publications, with NME placing it at number 53 on its list of the "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".
The song debuted and peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at position 18. The track was promoted with a music video directed by Jake Nava. The music video had several references to horror films and featured extensive horror imagery, with zombies, decapitated corpses and heavily atmospheric cinematography. The music video was widely controversial, being banned from MTV. The video has been criticized for its portrayal of women, and the content of the video was described as weird and disturbing in nature.Nas
Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones (; born September 14, 1973), known professionally as Nas (), is an American rapper, songwriter, entrepreneur and investor. The son of jazz musician Olu Dara, Nas has released eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums and has sold over 30 million records worldwide. He is also an entrepreneur through his own record label; he serves as associate publisher of Mass Appeal magazine and the co-founder of Mass Appeal Records.
His musical career began in 1991, as a featured artist on Main Source's "Live at the Barbeque". His debut album Illmatic (1994) received universal acclaim from both critics and the hip-hop community and is frequently ranked as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. Nas's follow-up It Was Written debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, stayed on top for four consecutive weeks, went Double Platinum in two months, and made Nas internationally known. From 2001 to 2005, Nas was involved in a highly publicized feud with Jay-Z, popularized by the diss track "Ether". Nas signed to Def Jam in 2006. In 2010, he released Distant Relatives, a collaboration album with Damian Marley, donating all royalties to charities active in Africa. His 11th studio album, Life Is Good (2012) was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.
Nas has been considered as one of the best rappers of all time. MTV ranked him at #5 on their list of "The Greatest MCs of All Time". In 2012, The Source ranked him #2 on their list of the "Top 50 Lyricists of All Time". In 2013, Nas was ranked 4th on MTV's "Hottest MCs in the Game" list. About.com ranked him first on their list of the "50 Greatest MCs of All Time" in 2014, and a year later, Nas was featured on "The 10 Best Rappers of All Time" list by Billboard. Nas has released eight consecutive platinum albums and has sold over 30 million records worldwide.Niggas in Paris
"Niggas in Paris" (edited for radio as "In Paris" or simply "Paris"; censored on the album as "Ni**as in Paris") is a song by American rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West from their collaborative album Watch the Throne (2011). The song is built around a synth bell loop from the Dirty South Bangaz music library and also contains samples from "Baptizing Scene" by Reverend W.A. Donaldson, "Victory" by Puff Daddy featuring The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes, and dialogue from DreamWorks Pictures' 2007 film Blades of Glory. On the week of the album's release the song debuted at number 75 on the US Billboard Hot 100 eventually peaking at number 5. As of 2018, it has sold 6 million archetype digital units in the United States. The single won Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.Renegade (Jay-Z song)
"Renegade" is a song by rapper Jay-Z, which appears as the 12th track on his sixth album The Blueprint. The song is written by Jay-Z, Eminem, and Luis Resto and produced by and features Eminem, who is the only guest appearance on the album with rap verses. It was originally a collaboration between Eminem and Royce da 5'9" as part of the Bad Meets Evil series, but Royce was later replaced by Jay-Z. The original can be found on mixtapes and has been leaked onto the internet.
The Jay-Z version of the song, released in 2001 as featured on The Blueprint, was later included as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Eminem's 2005 greatest hits album, Curtain Call: The Hits.Roc-A-Fella Records
Roc-A-Fella Records was an American record label founded by Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Damon "Dame" Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke in 1995. It was operated as a division of Def Jam Recordings.Roc Nation
Roc Nation, LLC is an American entertainment company founded by Jay-Z in 2008. The company has offices in New York City, London, Nashville, Austin, and Los Angeles. The full-service entertainment company houses a record label, talent agency, touring and concert production company, music, film, philanthropy and other business activities.The Black Album (Jay-Z album)
The Black Album is the eighth studio album by American rapper Jay-Z, released on November 14, 2003, by Roc-A-Fella Records. It was advertised as his final album before retiring, which is also a recurring theme throughout the songs, although Jay-Z resumed his recording career in 2006. For the album, Jay-Z wanted to enlist a different producer for each song, working with Just Blaze, Kanye West, The Neptunes, DJ Quik, Timbaland, 9th Wonder and Rick Rubin, among others.
When The Black Album was released, it received widespread acclaim from critics. In its first week, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 463,000 copies in the United States. It became Jay-Z's top selling record of the 2000s decade, and by July 2013, it had sold 3,516,000 copies in the US. The Black Album was promoted with a retirement tour by Jay-Z and three singles that also achieved Billboard chart success, including the top-ten hits "Change Clothes" and "Dirt off Your Shoulder".The Blueprint 3
The Blueprint 3 is the eleventh studio album by American rapper Jay-Z, released September 8, 2009, on Roc Nation, through distribution from Atlantic Records. It is the third Blueprint album, preceded by The Blueprint (2001) and The Blueprint2: The Gift & The Curse (2002). Production for the album took place during 2008 to 2009 at several recording studios and was handled by Kanye West, No I.D., The Neptunes, Jeff Bhasker, Al Shux, Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon, The Inkredibles, Swizz Beatz, and Timbaland. This is the first Jay-Z album since Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter (1999) to not feature production from Just Blaze.
The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 476,000 copies in its first week. It became Jay-Z's eleventh US number-one album, breaking the record he had previously shared with Elvis Presley, and produced five singles that achieved chart success. Upon its release, The Blueprint 3 received generally positive reviews from music critics.Tidal (service)
Tidal (stylized as TIDAL) is a subscription-based music, podcast and video streaming service that combines lossless audio and high-definition music videos with exclusive content and special features on music. Tidal was launched in 2014 by Norwegian public company Aspiro.
With distribution agreements with all three major labels and many indies, Tidal claims to offer access to more than 60 million tracks and 240,000 music videos. It offers two levels of service: Tidal Premium (lossy quality) and Tidal HiFi (lossless CD quality – FLAC-based 16-Bit/44.1 kHz – and MQA). Tidal claims to pay the highest percentage of royalties to music artists and songwriters within the music streaming market.In March 2015, Aspiro was acquired by Jay-Z's Project Panther Bidco Ltd., which relaunched the service with a mass-marketing campaign. Some music artists changed their social media profile's design to blue and posted the phrase "#TIDALforAll" on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. A press conference on March 30, 2015, included Jay-Z and 15 other musicians who were co-owners and stakeholders in Tidal. The service was promoted as being the first artist-owned streaming service.
While some observers praised the impressive high fidelity, lossless (except MQA) audio quality, and higher subscription fees which would result in higher royalties to the artists and songwriters, others felt the high subscription fees and exclusive Tidal content from the artists involved could lead to more music piracy. Tidal has claimed to have over 3 million subscribers, although the veracity of those claims as well as their reported streaming numbers have been questioned. As of December 2018, Tidal operated in 53 countries.
On January 23, 2017, Sprint Corporation bought 33% of Tidal for a reported $200 million.Top Off
"Top Off" is a song recorded by American record producer DJ Khaled, featuring guest vocals from American rappers Jay-Z and Future and singer Beyoncé (credited as "B"). The artists co-wrote the song with Joe Zarrillo, who co-produced it with Khaled and Beyoncé. It was released on March 2, 2018, as the lead single from Khaled's eleventh studio album, Father of Asahd.Watch the Throne
Watch the Throne is a collaborative studio album by American rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West, released on August 8, 2011 by Roc-A-Fella Records, Roc Nation, and Def Jam Recordings. Before the album, Jay-Z and Kanye had collaborated on various singles, and with the latter as a producer on the former's work. They originally sought out to record a five-song EP together, but the project eventually evolved into a full-length album. The project features guest appearances from Frank Ocean, The-Dream, Beyoncé and Mr. Hudson, as well as posthumous vocals by Otis Redding and Curtis Mayfield. It also features vocal contributions from Kid Cudi, Seal, Justin Vernon, Elly Jackson, Connie Mitchell, Charlie Wilson and Pete Rock, among others.
Recording sessions took place at various locations and began in November 2010, with production on led by West and a variety of high-profile producers, including Mike Dean, Swizz Beatz, Tyler Pase, Jeff Bhasker, The Neptunes, and Q-Tip. Expanding on the dense production style of West's 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Watch the Throne incorporates orchestral and progressive rock influences, unconventional samples, and dramatic melodies in its sound. Its braggadocio lyrics exhibit themes of opulence, fame, materialism, power, and the burdens of success, as well as political and socioeconomic context. The album also expresses other topics, such as Jay-Z's thoughts on fatherhood, West's reflection on being deemed a social villain, and their success as performers. Many writers interpreted the subject matter to concern the rappers' plight as African Americans struggling with financial success in America.
The album produced seven singles, including "H•A•M", "Otis", "Lift Off", "No Church in the Wild", and the Billboard Hot 100 top five hit "Niggas in Paris", which all received music videos. Jay-Z and West promoted the album with the Watch the Throne Tour that spanned October 2011 to June 2012 and became the second highest grossing hip hop concert tour in history, after Drake's and Future's Summer Sixteen Tour. Watch the Throne debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 436,000 copies its first week. While some critics found its lyrical content uninspiring, its production and the rappers' performances were highly praised. Many critics and publications placed the album in their year-end best-of lists. It also earned Jay-Z and West seven Grammy Award nominations, and was certified platinum in the US.
|In My Lifetime, Vol. 1|
|Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life|
Life and Times of S. Carter
|The Dynasty: Roc La Familia|
|The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse|
|The Black Album|
|The Blueprint 3|
|Watch the Throne|
|Magna Carta Holy Grail|
|Everything Is Love|
Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter