Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), known professionally by his stage name Jay-Z, is an American rapper, record producer, businessman, and media mogul. Perhaps one of the most recognizable faces in all of entertainment, Jay-Z’s rise from the Brooklyn projects to international stardom is a bonafide hip-hop legend. He got his start selling CDs out of his car before securing a distribution deal for his debut album Reasonable Doubt (1996). The album received critical acclaim and a fair amount of commercial success, peaking at No. 23 on the Billboard 200 chart. He went on to release a string of critically and commercially successful albums, including Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life (1998), which won the 1999 Grammy for Best Rap Album and featured the Annie-sampling hit single “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem).”
After dropping his eighth studio album The Black Album in 2003, Jay-Z briefly retired from music. Despite retiring, Jay-Z continued to release various side projects, including the fan-favorite collaborative remix EP Collision Course (2004) with rock group Linkin Park. In 2006, Carter returned in full-form with his comeback studio album Kingdom Come. Since then, he has consistently put out new projects, including 2011’s collaborative effort Watch the Throne (2011) with Kanye West and 2017’s critically lauded 4:44. Over his now 25-year long career, Jay-Z has won over 20 Grammy awards and sold over 100 million records. He was also the first rapper to be elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2017.
Carter is also famous for his high-profile marriage to singer Beyoncé -- with whom he released the highly-anticipated joint studio album Everything is Love (2018) -- as well as his business acumen. He has a foothold in the clothing, food, and film industries, to list just a few, and in 2015 acquired the hi-fidelity music streaming platform Tidal. In 2019, Carter became the first “hip-hop billionaire” and the wealthiest American musician of all time.