Published: Tue, June 04, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Jay-Z Is Officially The First Hip-Hop Billionaire

Jay-Z Is Officially The First Hip-Hop Billionaire

Crucially, he realized that he should build his own brands rather than promote someone else's: the clothing line Rocawear, started in 1999 (sold for $204 million to Iconix in 2007); D'Ussé, a cognac he co-owns with Bacardi; and Tidal, a music-streaming service.

According to Forbes, the hip-hop impresario has accumulated a fortune that conservatively totals $1 billion, making him the first rapper to do so. They then verified the numbers "with a roster of outside experts to ensure these estimates were fair and conservative".

In addition, the "Empire State of Mind" rapper, 49, has invested $70 million in his art collection, which includes Basquiat's "Mecca", which he reportedly purchased for $4.5 million in 2013.

Jay-Z might have 99 problems, but a fortune ain't one: The rap mogul is now considered a billionaire.

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His meteoric rise to billionaire status has been described as quite impressive given where he started: Brooklyn's notorious Marcy housing projects. With all that, he still found time to tour the world with his wife, Beyoncé (worth an estimated $355 million herself).

Kasseem "Swizz Beatz" Dean, the producer behind some of Jay-Z's biggest hits, told Forbes that the rapper's success is "bigger than hip-hop".

"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. His business savvy could be traced back to the launch of his Roc-A-Fella record label to release his 1996 debut album "Reasonable Doubt".

"If he's a billionaire now, imagine what he's about to be", Dean added. "Because he's only just starting".

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