Jay-Z’s music is only one part of the rap mogul’s legacy. In the words of Jay himself, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” He lives by those lyrics with all of his successful investments over the years. The crown of “Hip-Hop’s First Billionaire” was given to the Brooklyn native in 2019, according to Forbes, and he has not let up since.
As of this year, Jay-Z’s net worth is $2.5 billion, according to the finance publication. Jay, whose real name is Shawn Carter, started hustling as a drug dealer in his home city of Brooklyn. He created his first business venture in 1996 with Dame Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke, which was Roc-A-Fella Records. It was there that the hip-hop icon created his debut album, Reasonable Doubt. That album and the other 13 No. 1 albums solidified his place as a rap legend. However, unlike most artists who tend to go broke, Jay was able to capitalize off his music and create more business opportunities for himself.
His music catalog is worth $75 million, according to Forbes. Before being named president and CEO of Def Jam Recordings in 2004, he created a sweet deal for himself. He was able to get back his master recordings from the label. He also secured a separate deal with EMI to get his publishing rights.
Art is another way the Brooklyn native allowed himself to add to his fortune. “Yellow Basquiat in my kitchen corner / Go ‘head, lean on that s— Blue, you own it,” he raps in “Picasso Baby” from Magna Carta… Holy Grail referring to the late painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. Jay wasn’t joking either. His art collection is valued $70 million. He even posed with a never-before-seen Basquiat painting in his Tiffany’s promo with his wife Beyoncé in 2021, which caused some controversy.
Lastly, real estate is another investment type that Jay has plenty of. Jay and Beyoncé have an impressive real estate portfolio valued at $50 million. They bought a Tribeca penthouse in 2004 for $6.85 million and a $26 million East Hampton mansion. The powerhouse couple has a $88 million mansion in Bel Air, Calif., and closed on a $200 million Malibu property in May. The sale marks the most expensive residential real estate deal in California history.
Take a look at 11 businesses Hov has created or invested in to earn his billion-dollar status: