Shawn Corey Knowles-Carter (born December 4, 1969), better known by his stage name Jay-Z (sometimes stylized JAY Z), is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. He is one of the most financially successful hip-hop artists and entrepreneurs in America. In 2012, Forbes estimated Carter's net worth at nearly $500 million. He has sold approximately 50 million albums worldwide, while receiving seventeen Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations. Consistently ranked as one of the greatest rappers of all-time, he was ranked #1 by MTV in their list of The Greatest MCs of All-Time in 2006. Two of his albums, Reasonable Doubt (1996) and The Blueprint (2001), are considered landmarks in the genre with both of them being ranked in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Jay-Z co-owns the 40/40 Club, is part-owner of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets and is also co-creator of the line Rocawear. He is the former CEO of Def Jam Recordings, co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records, and the founder of Roc Nation. As an artist, he holds the record for most number one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard 200 with twelve. Jay-Z also has had four number ones on the Billboard Hot 100, one as lead artist. On December 11, 2009, Jay-Z was ranked as the 10th-most successful artist of the 2000s by Billboard and ranking as the 5th top solo male artist and as the 4th top rapper behind Eminem, Nelly, and 50 Cent. He was also ranked the 88th-greatest artist of all time by Rolling Stone. He married American R&B singer Beyoncé Knowles in 2008. They have one daughter named Blue Ivy Carter, born in January 2012.
Early liferight Shawn Carter is originally from Marcy Houses, a housing project in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City. He and his three siblings were raised by their mother, Gloria Carter, after their father abandoned the family. He claims in his lyrics that in 1982, at the age of 12, he shot his older brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry. Carter attended Eli Whitney High School in Brooklyn, along with future rapper AZ, until it was closed down. After that he attended George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School in Downtown Brooklyn, with fellow future rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes, and Trenton Central High School in Trenton, New Jersey, but did not graduate. In his music he refers to having been involved in selling crack cocaine. He has also said he had been shot at three times during this time in his life.
According to his mother, Carter used to wake his siblings up at night banging out drum patterns on the kitchen table. Eventually, she bought him a boom box for his birthday, sparking his interest in music. He began freestyling, writing lyrics, and followed the music of many artists popular at the time. In his neighborhood, Carter was known as "Jazzy", a nickname that eventually developed into his showbiz/stage name, "Jay-Z". The moniker is also an homage to his musical mentor, Jaz-O, as well as to the J/Z subway lines that have a stop at Marcy Avenue in Brooklyn.
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