Here's How Much Jay-Z Is Really Worth - Nicki Swift (2024)

Music

Here's How Much Jay-Z Is Really Worth - Nicki Swift (1)

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ByDaryl Nelson/

"What More Can I Say" is not only the title of thethird track on Jay-Z's 2003 album,but seems to be a fair question. Why? Because by then, he'd been releasing solo albums for seven years and had opened up about his upbringing and accomplishments repeatedly. Plus, countless music writers wrote about his life throughout those years, while singing praises about his albums. So really, what more can be said about Jay after all of that?Well, when it comes to his net worth, which Celebrity Net Worth puts at $1.3 billion, we feel there's a lot to get into.

Jay-Z is from Brooklyn, New York,and grew up in Marcy Houses, a public housing development in Brooklyn. The rapper was raised in a single-parent household after his father Adnes Reeves left the family when he was a youngster. Yes, Jay had it rough as a child, which he's often rapped about, but he seemingly used that tough upbringing as inspiration to turn his life and finances around. As of 2022, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee isn't only considered a rap legend, he's one of the most successful rappers ever. He's raked in millions, thanks to lucrative deals including but not limited to a $150 million deal with Live Nation,owns a number of businesses like his bar chain 40/40 Club, and so much more.So sit back, relax and check out what else Jay did to accumulate all of that dough.

He has a drug dealing past

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Jay-Z has rapped and talked about it many times:He was a drug dealer before being a rapper, starting at 13 years old during the '80s crack epidemic. Looking back at that era of his life in a 2009interview withOprah Winfrey, Jay shared that hedidn't sell drugs because he was eager to get into the business, but he associated it with surviving his impoverished conditions. Sadly, it's a path that many inner-city youthsfeel they have to take.

"On the streets, you had to operate with integrity," said the "The Blueprint" creator of his hometown. "If you broke your word to someone, he wasn't going to take you to court, he was going to deal with you himself. So it was here in the projects that I learned loyalty."

But it's not like Jay feels good about his drug-dealing past, as he talked about the regrets he developed over time. "Not until later [did I realize I was contributing to the '80s drug problem]," he told Vanity Fair in 2013. "When I realized the effects on the community, I started looking at the community on the whole. But in the beginning, no. I was thinking about surviving. I was thinking about improving my situation. I was thinking about buying clothes."

Jay-Z started out with Jaz-O

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Long before the billion-dollar bank account and way before being considered by many to be the greatest rapper of all time, a young Jay-Z was seen in a video for a song called "Hawaiian Sophie," made by fellow Brooklyn rapper Jaz-O. The single spent 10 weeks on Billboard's Hot Rap Songs chart, peaking at 18.

The video was the first time rap fans became familiar with Jay-Z, seeing that was his very first video, which Jaz-O confirmed in a 2020 interview with "Drink Champs."The song was released in 1989 by EMI and the way it seemed, the record label wanted to mimic the success of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince's "Parents Just Don't Understand," since both cuts have the same kind of PG-rated storytelling.

Jaz-O told the "Drink Champs" hosts that he met Jay-Z at a rap battlewhere they faced each other.In the end, the older rapper was impressed with the talented up-and-comer and they became a team of sorts. "He was the first person that I ever heard rhyme [that reminded me of me]," said Jaz-O. "So, I was like, yeah, I got to keep an eye on him." Years later, Jaz-O and Jay-Z had a falling out but theyeventually made up.

He created Roc-A-Fella Records

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By the time the '90s were underway, there were some rappers who realized getting a record deal wasn't the end all be all. New Orleans' Master P is a prime example: After being turned down by multiple labels, he began selling his CDs out of his car. Then, hestarted his own label, No Limit Records and secured major distribution with Priority.Jay-Z also took that path. When label after label refused to sign him, he created Roc-A-Fella Records in 1994 with friends Damon Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke.

"The genius thing that we did was we didn't give up," he said in a 2010 chat with Steve Forbes and Warren Buffett for Forbes. "We used that 'what do they know?' approach. We didn't give up at that point. I think that was the genius thing we did. We started selling our own CDs and we built our own buzz and then the record company came back to us. So now we had a different negotiation."

After starting the label, Jay and his partners signed artists like Beanie Sigel and Freeway, as well as a guy from Chicago you've maybe heard of named Kanye West.

The rapper launched Rocawear

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One day when Jay-Z was performing on stage, he had an epiphany about fashion, which would eventually make him millions."I would be on stage performing, and I noticed that all the kids were wearing Iceberg jeans, the same jeans that I would wear," he told Women's Wear Daily. "So we thought, 'Why should we let Iceberg get all this business when we can do it ourselves?"

So in 1999, Jay and his partners launched Rocawear, and the company eventually reached annual sales of $700 million.But Jay and company didn't start Rocawear right off, they first went to Iceberg to see if the company was interested in cutting a deal."We went in there with a plan to have our own line with them," Jay explained to WWD. "We were going to bring them into this culture, which was on the rise. But in the end, it didn't work out. We were naïve and were asking for way too much."

After Rocawear was launched, it was commonplace to see both urban and non-urban consumers sporting the brand. Rocawear also made it to the runways of Milan, New York, London, and Paris, as its website points out.Then in 2007, The New York Times reported that brand management company Iconix purchased Rocawear for a cool $204 million.

He sold Roc-A-Fella Records

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It really can't be debated that Jay-Z, Damon Dash, and Kareem "Biggs" Burke made an impact on both hip-hop and pop culture by starting Roc-A-Fella Records. Not only have they released manyhit records, but they've givenother artists who are interested in starting their own label a blueprint of sorts. But besides the impact, the trio made a good deal of money when they sold the label to Island Def Jam in 2004 for $10 million, per MTV News.

But Jay got even more out of the deal since was made CEO of Def Jam Records, while still handling business at Roc-A-Fella. So not only did the "Run This Town" rapper earn millions from the label sale, he scored himself a CEO salary.

"After 10 years of successfully running Roc-a-Fella, Shawn has proven himself to be an astute businessman, in addition to the brilliant artistic talent that the world sees and hears," said Antonio "LA" Reid in a statement, who was Island Def Jam Music Group's chairman at the time. But three years later, Jay left the CEO position, saying in a statement that he wanted to take on new challenges.

Jay-Z made a killing off Ace of Spades

Here's How Much Jay-Z Is Really Worth - Nicki Swift (7)

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AsBillboard reportedin 2014, a company led by Jay-Z bought the French champagne Armand de Brignac, aka "Ace of Spades." The details of the sale were not made public, but there's no doubt it cost a pretty penny.

Then almost immediately, Jay started championing the brand in songs and videos, like he did in the visuals for his 2006 single "Show Me What You Got."The clip, which features the Brooklynite turning down a bottle of Cristal champagne, debuted a few months after Cristal's managing director Frederic Rouzaud shared his thoughts on the hip-hop community being huge consumers of his champagne. "What can we do? We can't forbid people from buying it," Rouzaud told The Economist. "I'm sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business."

Understandably, these remarks did not go over well.Per Spin, Jay said in a statement, "I view his comments as racist and will no longer support any of his products through any of my various brands including the 40/40 Club nor in my personal life."So from that point, it was Ace of Spades for mogul, although he sold a 50 percent stake of it to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2021. According toForbes,Jay pocketed $300 million from that deal.

He started a Tidal wave

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InMarch 2015, something took place in New York City that seemed to suggest a huge shift in the music industry was happening. It was an event that featured A-listerslike Alicia Keys, Madonna, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, and Beyoncé. So, what was it for? It was to launch Tidal, a streaming service that Jay-Z bought in January of that year for $56 million from Swedish tech company Aspiro, per Variety.

"Our goal is simple," said Keys at the launch event. "We want to create a better service and a better experience for both fans and artists ... We believe that it is in everyone's interests — fans, artists, and the industry as a whole — to preserve the value of music, and to ensure a healthy and robust industry for years to come."

Tidal was the first-ever artist-owned music streaming service, as other musicians besides Jay had a stake in the company. The digital platform also charged a monthly premium of $9.99 a month for basic service, different from free streaming sites like Spotify.In 2021, Jay-Z sold Tidal to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and his company Square for $302 million, as TMZ reported. To say that Jay made a nice profit from the deal would be one of the biggest understatements in the history of understatements.

The rapper married Beyoncé

Here's How Much Jay-Z Is Really Worth - Nicki Swift (9)

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Jay-Z and Beyoncé kept their relationship under wraps for years before acknowledging it to the public, so when they tied the knot it wasn't surprising that they tried to keep it from the public. They weren't successful, however, because in 2008,reports started rolling in that they exchanged vows at Jay's New York City apartment with family and friends in attendance.

The marriage immediately changed a few things for Jay. For one, he was suddenly a husband, which was a stark contrast to the partying playboy he rapped about in some of his songs. Two, he officially took Beyoncé off the singles market, a woman who's been considered the world's biggest pop star and sex symbols for many years. And three, the rapper added to his income since Bey was raking in millions on her own.

In fact, Forbes reported that she earned more than Jay each year that they were together up until 2011. As of 2022,Celebrity Net Worth shows the "Lemonade" singer is worth $500 million. Bey's half a billion added to her husband's $1.3 billion equals the kind of wealth that most dream about.

Jay-Z has a long list of investments

Here's How Much Jay-Z Is Really Worth - Nicki Swift (10)

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Jay-Z's got a bunch of investments to his name. In 2021, AfroTech said he shelled out cash on about 100 different companies, including Sweetgreen, Rihanna's Savage X Fenty, Epic Games, and Oatly. He also invested $19 million in Flowhub, a system that weed dispensaries use for payments.

The "Reasonable Doubt" writer co-founded an investment firm called Marcy Venture Partners in 2018. Other companies Jay and his partners invested in includethe online sneaker store StockX and Simulate, a company that makes plant-based foods. He also threw some money into Partake Foods, an outfit that makes products for people with food allergies. There's a bitcoin investment in Jay's portfolio as well.

In June of 2022, Jay and Jack Dorsey put some money into The Bitcoin Academy at Marcy Houses, where Jay used to live. TechCrunch shows the academy will offer financial and bitcoin classes to those who live in the housing development. "The simple goal is to provide people tools to build independence for themselves and then the community around them," wrote Jay in a tweet about the venture.

He racked up on real estate

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So after making music, touring, running businesses, and investing, Jay-Z needs a comfy place to put his feet up at day's end. Perhaps not surprisingly, he can do that in multiple homes since he and Beyoncé own property in various parts of the United States. Per Architectural Digest, Jay and Bey plunked down $26 million for a mansion in East Hampton, New York, and $88 million for a mansion in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel-Air. And those were just the purchases they made in 2017 alone.

Other real estate investments include a New York City penthouse for $6.5 million, as well as a mansion in New Orleans that went for $2.6 million. Plus, as Complex details, the Grammy-winning rapper and his Grammy-winning wife bought a home in Indian Creek, Florida, for $9,300,000.

The thing is, though, Jay and Bey don't really talk about their real estate purchases with the press or show photos of their homes on Instagram, which is consistent with the level of privacy they've worked to maintain. So, for all we know, they could own even more properties than what's been reported.

Jay-Z has a weed brand

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As mentioned, Jay-Z invested in Flowhub, a payment system for weed dispensaries. But that wasn't the only money he's thrown into the ever-growing legal cannabis business. Asreported by Forbes at the time, Jay launched hisown cannabis brand called Monogram in 2020. The brand is considered high-end and hand-rolled joints dubbed the "OG Handroll" sold for double the price of what other brands offered them for. Plus, it's said the "Marcy Me" rhymer is hands-on with Monogram and isn't just lending his name. "He's a real executive, he's not some ancillary ambassador who says something nice about us once a year," said Michael Auerbach, owner of Subversive Capital Acquisition Corp, who worked with Jay. "He's the tip of our spear who's building out our house of brands like he has done with Aces of Spades and D'Ussé.

What's more, through his outfit The Parent Company, Jay-Z invested in the cannabis company Glass House, but the deal was taken off the table in 2021.

The rapper owns some pricey art

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Jay-Z has always rapped about his pricey possessions, but his 2009 song "Off That"was the first time he referencedhis art collection. Then on his2013 album "Magna Carta... Holy Grail," he rapped in detail about his paintings and his love for high-ticket art pieces. Take"Picasso Baby,"for example. He not only name-drops famous artists throughout the track, but he paired itwith a videoshotinside New York City's Pace Gallery.

"I just want a Picasso in my casa ... Jeff Koons balloons, I just wanna blow up / Condos in my condos, I wanna row of / Christie's with my missy, live at the MoMA," raps Jay in"Picasso Baby." The Native New Yorker also mentions The Louvre and the Tate Modern in the cut, located in Paris and the UK respectively.Forbes estimates that his art collection is worth $70 million.

Some of Jay's pieces include a 1982 painting from late New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat called "Mecca" that he bought for $4.2 million. He owns several creations from English artist Damien Hirst to boot. Clearly, Jay sees his art purchases as investments that his kids will one day benefit from."I bought some artwork for one million / Two years later, that sh** worth two million / Few years later, that sh** worth eight million / I can't wait to give this sh** to my children," raps Jay on 2017's "The Story of O.J."

He's given back in a major way

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Jay-Z has involved himself in a slew of causes throughout his storied career. In 2013, he started the Shawn Carter Foundation. As noted on the organization's website, "The mission of the Shawn Carter Foundation is to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships further their education at post secondary institutions."He's also given to organizations like Global Citizen, GLAAD, Keep A Child Alive, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Robin Hood, and the United Way. On top of that, he started Team Roc, which works "to effect positive change in the communities that we touch around the world," per its website.

Jay has donated to social justice causes as well, bailing people out of jail inFerguson, Missouri, who protested a Black 18-year-old namedMichael Brown being shot and killed by a white police officer in 2014. Then one year later, Jay and Beyoncé bailed out protesters in Baltimore, Maryland, who marched after Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man, died mysteriously in police custody.

There's more, too. In 2019 the "Song Cry" creator helped to startThe Reform Alliance, an organization that deals with prison and probation reform. "I'm from Marcy projects, I'm from Brooklyn, and this has been a part of my life. This is communities that we grow up in," said Jay at a press conference. "We're all prisoners to this because until everyone is free no one is free." As noted by Vulture, Jay and the other founders pledged $50 million to The Reform Alliance.

Jay-Z has many luxury vehicles

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Look, even rappers who are considered far less successful and rich than Jay-Z have a luxury car collection. So imagine what his fleet of vehicles must look like. Per Highsnobiety, Jay's purchased a Maybach Exelero, as well as a 1957 Corvette C1, a Pagani Zonda F, and a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport. Oh, and during a trip to Milan in 2016, he scooped up an Alfa Romeo Spider. Now, that is a souvenir.

But the celebrated rapper doesn't just buy super expensive cars for himself. said that he gifted Beyoncé a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud for one of her birthdays, spending a reported $1 million for the sky-blue vehicle. Other cars the rapping entrepreneur owns, according to The Sun, include a Maybach Exelero, a Maybach 62S, a Rolls Royce Phantom VIII, and a Dartz Prombron — considered to be the most expensive SUV on earth.

What's more, in 2021, The Telegraph reported Jay-Z and Beyoncé apparently shelled out big bucksfor a customRolls-Royce Boat Tail, valued at $28 million at the time. That's some serious wheel estate.

Here's How Much Jay-Z Is Really Worth - Nicki Swift (2024)
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