Beyoncé and Jay-Z first met in 2000 but did not begin dating until 2001. Little is known about their initial encounter and early relationship, although Beyoncé once revealed that the two met when she was just 18 years old.
Hip-hop icon Jay-Z has seen a remarkable journey of meteoric success in music, fashion, and business. From growing up in the Marcy Houses, to becoming one of the wealthiest and most influential figures in the entertainment world, he has the distinct honor of being the first rapper to become a billionaire. Here are 10 fascinating facts about the man himself.
1. Although born Shawn Carter, he was nicknamed “Jazzy” by his grandmother
His grandmother gave him the name because of his love of music. Not long after, he began calling himself Jay, and after a stint as Young Jaz, he eventually settled on Jay-Z.
2. He was part of the stage show Up Against The World
Jay-Z was actually the opening act for the controversial stage show Up Against The World, which featured poetry and hip hop performances. The show received much attention for its gritty and often dark themes, although he soon moved away from that material after the show’s conclusion.
3. His first album Reasonable Doubt sold only 60,000 copies
Though it’s now considered a classic, Reasonable Doubt wasn’t an instant success. It actually sold only a meager 60,000 copies and was definitely not on the top charts. It was a slow-burning success, eventually gaining traction and going on to be one of his greatest works.
4. He released a collaboration album with Linkin Park
The unlikely pairing of Jay-Z and Linkin Park released a collaborative album called Collision Course in 2004, which included blendings of their respective songs. It was a critical success and was certified 2x platinum.
5. He was a co-owner of the New Jersey Nets
In addition to his musical success, Jay-Z also briefly tried his hand in the sports world, becoming an official minority owner of the New Jersey Nets in 2004. He later resigned after a little under a year with the team.
6. He is the father of three children
In 2017, Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce welcomed their first child, Blue Ivy, into the world. Later, the couple had two more children, Sir and Rumi. The family of five divides their time between New York, Los Angeles, and the United Kingdom.
7. He owns a stake in an NBA team
In a literal and figurative sense, Jay-Z has taken his connection with the basketball world full circle, becoming a part owner of the Brooklyn Nets in 2019. He currently owns a little over 1 percent of the team and also possesses a role as an adviser.
8. He has an enviable art collection
From Pablo Picasso to Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jay-Z has an impressive art collection that he’s been showcasing for the world to enjoy. He’s had exhibits both at the Pace Gallery and the Pace Prints Gallery in his hometown of Brooklyn.
9. He has won 22 Grammy Awards
Though he’s been eligible for a total of 74 Grammy awards, Jay-Z has snagged 22 of them. His win for the Best Rap/Sung Performance (a collaboration with wife Beyoncé) at the 2020 awards marked his 22nd Grammy, tying him with squire Quincy Jones.
10. He’s one of the ten wealthiest musicians in America
In 2020, Forbes estimated Jay-Z’s net worth at $1 billion, making him one of only ten musicians in the country to reach this level of wealth. Music doesn’t get any more successful than that.
The story of Jay-Z is one of the most quintessential American rags-to-riches tales. He has had a remarkable career, and there is no denying the artistic brilliance and entrepreneurial success that he has achieved. Though there are still plenty of chapters left to write in Jay-Z’s story, there’s no denying that he holds an iconic position in both hip-hop and the wider music industry.