Shawn Corey Carter aka Jay-Z has gone from a street hustler to a world famous entertainer and businessman. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America, having a net worth of over $610 million as of May 2016.
His earnings according to Forbes.com, 2016: $53.5 million, 2015: $56 million, 2014: $60 million, 2013: $43 million, 2012: $38 million, 2011: $37 million, 2010: $63 million.
Jay-Z is founder of Roc Nation, created out of a $150 million, 10-year, profit-sharing deal with concert giant Live Nation. He was previously CEO of Def Jam/Roc-a-fella records from 2005 to 2007. He was a co-founders of the Roc-A-Fella empire, which includes Roc-A-Fella Records, Roc-La-Familia, Roc-A-Fella Films and Rocawear.
In 2015 he bought Swedish tech company Aspiro for $56 million in cash. Aspiro operates the streaming service Tidal. With 3 million paid subscribers, it’s now worth an estimated three times its $56 million purchase price.
On November 5, 2014, it was announced that Mr. Carter had acquired additional interest in Armand de Brignac ("Ace of Spades") Champagne brand from Sovereign Brands.
He was a part owner of the New Jersey Nets, paying a reported $1 million for one-fifteenth of one percent of the team. His influence on the project has been wildly disproportionate to his ownership stake and so is the money he stands to make from it. The Net's new arena, Barclays Center, will open with eight sold out Jay-Z concerts. The arena's most exclusive "Vault" suites, for which fans will have to shell out $550,000 a year to have access to, will offer patrons Armand de Brignac champagne. Jay-Z "promotes" and "holds a financial interest" in Armand de Brignac. His 40/40 sports bar/club will open a new location at the Barclays Center. Rocawear, his clothing line, will have a store at the arena. The Nets will employ advertising agency, Translation, which is half-owned by Jay-Z.
He is a co-own of The 40/40 Club, an upscale sports bar with locations in New York City, Atlantic City and Las Vegas. He also has ownership stakes in a Greenwich Village bistro, the Spotted Pig; creative and operational control of the Rocawear clothing line which he bought from his founding partners then sold in 2007 for $204 million; and the Carol's Daughter a beauty line he co-owns.
"My goal was to have one gold album and that was it," says JAY Z in a recent Rocawear commercial. "And then it became, I want to show that an artist can ascend to the executive ranks."
Jay is the youngest of four kids brought up by a single mother, in Brooklyn's notorious Marcy projects. "When I left the block, everyone was saying I was crazy, I was doing well for myself on the streets, and cats around me were like, These rappers are ho's. They just record, tour, and get separated from their families, while some white person takes all their money. I was determined to do it differently," he said in a New York Metro interview.
Jay-Z topped the Forbes magazine first-ever list of hip-hop Cash Kings, the top money makers in hip-hop with an estimated $34 million in 2006 earning. In 2010 Forbes put him on the cover of it's 400 "Richest People in America" issue, even though at $450 million he was only "on his way" to cracking the list where a $1 billion network minimum was required. Microsoft put up about $1 million for the marketing of his first book, "Decoded," published Nov. 16, 2010.
He married American R&B superstar Beyonce Knowles on April 4, 2008. On December 11, 2009, Jay-Z was ranked as the 10th most successful artist of the 2000 to 2009 decade by Billboard Magazine and ranking as the 5th top solo male artist and as the 4th top rapper behind Eminem, Nelly, and 50 Cent.