Jay-Z has officially become the first ever hip-hop billionaire, Forbes has declared, after building an empire based on music, property, fashion and investments.
The US-based magazine estimates that the 49-year-old, whose real name is Shawn Corey Carter, owns wealth that “conservatively totals” $1bn (£800m).
Forbes attributes the successful wealth creation to an active building of brands by the rapper, rather than just endorsing them.
Jay-Z rose to fame in 1996 with his debut album Reasonable Doubt. His 2001 album The Blueprint was in March added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry because it was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Forbes said it had estimated the rapper’s wealth by adding various assets and then “subtracting a healthy amount to account for a superstar lifestyle”.
Jay-Z’s superstar wife, RnB and fashion queen Beyonce, is reportedly worth about $335m.
The couple have had a joint net worth over $1bn for several years.
Jay-Z was a drug dealer before venturing into music and launching his own record label, Roc-A-Fella Records. Since his first album in 1996, the rapper has managed 14 No. 1 albums, 22 Grammy awards and over $500 million in pretax earnings in a decade.
In a previous interview with Forbes, business mogul Warren Buffet said: “Jay is teaching in a lot bigger classroom than I’ll ever teach in. For a young person growing up, he’s the guy to learn from.”