Jay-Z becomes hip-hop’s first billionaire

Rapper Jay-Z is officially hip hop’s first billionaire, Forbes said on Monday, founding his kingdom on entertainment but also reaping earnings from liquor, art and real estate.

The rapper born Shawn Carter, who grew up in one of Brooklyn’s most notorious housing projects, “has accumulated a fortune that conservatively totals $1 billion, making him one of only a handful of entertainers to become a billionaire – and the first hip-hop artist to do so,” the magazine said in a new cover story.

His fortune includes stakes in Armand de Brignac champagne and D’Usse cognac – worth $310 million and $100 million respectively – as well as $220 million in cash and investments that includes a stake in Uber worth an estimated $70 million.

The 49-year-old also boasts a $75 million music catalogue, $75 million from the entertainment company Roc Nation and $100 million from streaming service Tidal.

In addition to his penthouse in New York’s upmarket Tribeca neighborhood, Jay-Z and his superstar wife Beyonce own mansions in East Hampton, New York and Los Angeles’ Bel Air neighborhood – real estate holdings adding some $50 million to the rapper’s name, Forbes said.

In 2017 Forbes said the music power couple had officially amassed a joint billion-dollar worth.

It had been widely assumed that hip hop mogul Dr. Dre had already achieved billionaire status but according to Forbes’ 2018 ranking his personal wealth is closer to $770 million, despite selling his company Beats by Dre to Apple for $3 billion.

Fellow rap titan Diddy is worth $825 million, according to that same list. He along with Dre and Jay are not only the wealthiest hip hop artists, but the richest American musicians of any genre.

Swizz Beatz, the producer behind a number of Jay-Z’s megahits, told Forbes the rapper has created “the blueprint for our culture.”

“A guy that looks like us, sounds like us, loves us, made it to something that we always felt that was above us,” he said. “If he’s a billionaire now, imagine what he’s about to be.”

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