Jay-Z Net Worth
How Much is Jay-Z Worth?
Can someone raised in a New York housing project by a single mother ever hope to accumulate great wealth? Absolutely! In fact, rapper Jay-Z has done exactly that. While some may believe that his current net worth, which exceeds $1 billion according to most estimates, is due mainly to his incredible talent, Jay-Z has not rested on his musical laurels. Hard work and savvy investments have played a major role in earning him a place on the current list of the wealthiest Americans.
Jay-Z’s birthname is Shawn Corey Carter. The famous rapper was born on December 4, 1969, in New York City to Adnis Reeves and Gloria Carter and grew up in Marcy Houses, a Brooklyn public housing project. When Shawn was 11, Gloria was left alone to raise Shawn and his three siblings after Reeves deserted them. He attended Eli Whitney High School, a Brooklyn vocational high school, until it closed in 1986 after years of underperformance. He then transferred to George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School and later attended Trenton Central High School in Trenton, New Jersey, but never earned his high school diploma although he encourages others to take advantage of their educational opportunities today.
The poverty-stricken neighborhood in which Shawn grew up was infested with drugs and violence, and it seemed like almost everyone around him was either using or peddling drugs. Shawn never became a user himself, but he starting selling crack cocaine at a young age to help support the family. His interest in music is probably what saved him.
He began by drumming out patterns on the kitchen table. After his mother purchased him a boombox for his 12th birthday, he started giving freestyle rapping a try, earning the nickname “Jazzy.” Serendipitously, three other big-name-rappers-to-be attended George Westinghouse high school at the same time as Shawn: The Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, and DMX, and the four honed their skills by rapping together and also competing against one another.
Shawn’s big break came when he met Jonathan Burks, better known as Jaz-O, an older rapper who became his mentor. Deciding he needed a stage name, too, Shawn shortened his childhood nickname to Jay-Z. He later dropped the hyphen to become simply “Jay Z.” His voice can be heard on some of Jaz-O’s earlier recordings.
His first official rap single was titled, “In My Lifetime,” which he released in 1995. In that same year, he co-founded Roc-A-Fella Records with Damon Dash and Kareem Burke, and a year later released his debut studio album, Reasonable Doubt. The album reached No. 23 on the Billboard 200 that year. Two years later, his third album, Hard Knock Life, released in 1998 by Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings, earned him a 1999 Grammy and superstar status. Jay-Z has since released an additional 18 solo albums, including 4:44, which was released in 2017.
Over the course of his career, Jay-Z has also collaborated on songs and albums with other artists, most momentously with the woman who would become his wife—singer Beyoncé. The two collaborated on the song “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” in 2002. He also participated in Beyoncé’s, “Crazy in Love” and had a role in “That’s How You Like It,” a song on her debut album, Dangerously in Love. He participated in a couple of her hit songs on her second album, B’Day, as well. The two were married on April 4, 2008 and have three children. Their daughter, Blue Ivy, was born in 2012, and in 2017, Beyoncé gave birth to twins: daughter Rumi and son Sir.
Other notable collaborations include Watch the Throne with Kanye West in 2011 and Everything is Love in 2018 with Beyoncé. He co-wrote Rihanna’s single “Umbrella,” which reached number one on the charts and won the two artists a Grammy in 2008 for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. He has won a total of 23 Grammy Awards to date as well as numerous other awards. He became the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2017 and was honored with the “Salute to Industry Icons” award at the 60th Grammy Awards ceremony in 2018. He won three Tony Awards in 2010 for the Broadway musical Fela!, which he co-produced with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. And his 2011 Superbowl half-time show earned him a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Music, Composition, Direction and Lyrics. Both Billboard and Rolling Stone have him ranked as one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Other Business Ventures and Investments
As mentioned in the introduction, Jay-Z has not rested on his musical laurels. He has also invested in numerous business ventures in varied industries. In 1999, he co-founded Rocawear, a clothing retailer, with Damon Dash. In 2003, he opened an upscale sports bar chain, the 40/40 Club. Both became multi-million-dollar companies, and Jay Z used some of the profits from them to fund Roc Nation, an entertainment company he founded in 2008. In 2003, he became part-owner of the New Jersey Nets NBA team and was instrumental in relocating the team to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, making them the current-day Brooklyn Nets. He sold his interest in both the team and Barclays Center in 2013. He bought a 100% stake in Armand de Brignac champagne, a wine and spirits company, and also owns cognac brand D’Ussé. He bought tech company Aspiro in 2015 and took over its media streaming service, Tidal.
In addition to founding companies and acquiring them outright, Jay-Z also owns stakes in many more, including Carol’s Daughter, a multi-cultural beauty brand; JetSmarter, a private plane booking app; Uber; and SpaceX. He has also launched his own cigar brand, Comador, in partnership with cigar-maker Cohiba. Most recently, in 2020, he established the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports, & Entertainment in partnership with Long Island University in Brooklyn and introduced a new cannabis brand, which he named Monogram.
Jay-Z owns an extensive art collection, estimated to be worth around $70 million. He also has a real estate portfolio valued at over $100 million, including the $88 million Bel Air California property that he and Beyoncé call home; a $6.8 million penthouse in New York City; a $26 million mansion in East Hampton; New York; and a $2.6 million New Orleans mansion.
Income and Expenditures
Proving himself to be an astute businessman, Jay-Z owns both his masters and the publishing rights to his music. His first album, Reasonable Doubt, generates $100,000 annually by itself, and his entire musical catalog earns him $5 million a year. While it took a lot of ACTIVE effort to produce all the singles and albums in his catalog, he now enjoys the PASSIVE income it provides him.
His tours also produce substantial income. His two tours—On the Run and On the Run II—with Beyoncé grossed $364 million. Obviously, these tours require an active effort on his part, but they keep him in the limelight, which, no doubt, increases record sales.
His business ventures outside the world of music generate passive income for him—a lot of it in the form of capital gain income, which is taxed at a lesser rate than ordinary income under current tax laws. He sold his stake in Rocawear in 2007 for $204 million, and he sold his interests in both the Brooklyn Nets and Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for $1.5 million in 2013. More recently, in 2021, he entered into a partnership with Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s founder, and sold a majority of the streaming service, Tidal, to Dorsey’s Square, Inc. for a combination of cash and $297 million in stock. He had paid $56 million for Tidal’s parent, Aspiro, in 2015. Also in 2021, he sold 50% of his Armand de Brignac champagne to Möet Hennessy for $320 million. In addition to earning capital gains when he sells part or all of his stake in a company, Jay Z participates in the profits generated by the sale of his products, e.g., his cigar and cannabis lines.
Bear in mind that even the PASSIVE income Jay-Z enjoys from his investments required some ACTIVE work, however. He had to do his research, which can involve reviewing documents, making phone calls, attending meetings, and networking.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé are known to spend lavishly. Her wedding ring, by designer Lorraine Schwartz, cost $5 million, and one Christmas Jay-Z dropped almost half a million dollars at Hermes on a gift for her. And that’s peanuts compared to the cost of other items he has purchased for her, including a vintage Rolls Royce and a yacht—and, of course, a private island to go with it. (She has also showered him with expensive gifts, but this article is about him.) Their daughter, Blue Ivy, has not been left out, either. She received a solid gold rocking horse and a diamond-encrusted pram when she was born, and the couple reportedly spent $10 million on items when their twins were born. Their list included diamond pacifiers.
Despite these over-the-top purchases, Jay-Z also spends money in order to make money such as the money he spends to purchase a business outright or invest in shares of a company. His real estate portfolio and art collection cost him a pretty penny as well.
And he gives back to the community, supporting a variety of causes involving education, LGBT rights, and black rights, among others. In 2003, Jay-Z and his mother founded the Shawn Carter Foundation, which has enabled some who otherwise couldn’t afford it get a college education. In 2006, he pledged to use his then-upcoming world tour to combat global water shortages. After Hurricane Katrina, he, together with Sean “Diddy” Combs, pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross to help with the relief efforts. In March 2020, his Shawn Carter Foundation donated $1 million to support the Covid-19 pandemic relief effort in New York, and in April 2020, he and rapper Meek Mill provided over 100,000 masks to protect prison inmates from the virus.
Jay-Z Net Worth
A person’s net worth is different from his income stream. Indeed, there are a lot of people who make a lot of money but have a very low, or even negative, net worth. Net worth is calculated as the market value of an individual’s assets minus the amount of debt the individual owes. While we don’t know the value of all of his assets, the market value of his real estate portfolio has been estimated at over $100 million, his art collection at $70 million, his remaining investment in Armand de Brignac champagne at $320 million, and his investment in D’Ussé cognac at $100 million. A recent estimate of the value of his musical catalog, which he owns outright, is estimated to be about another $100 million. As mentioned previously, he recently sold 50% of his Armand de Brignac champagne for $320 million and received both cash and $297 in stock when he sold Tidal to Square, Inc. This brings the total of the assets we know he owns to at least $1.3 billion, and we haven’t added in the value of any vehicles he owns. It is quite a collection and includes two Mercedes Benz; a Tesla Model S; a Cadillac Escalade; a Jeep Cherokee; a ’57 Chevy; a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport, which itself costs millions of dollars; and a Maybach Exelero, which is hard to put a price tag on since only one such vehicle has been made, and Jay-Z is its owner. We also haven’t included the value of any of his jewelry or other personal possessions. Thus, a low-ball estimate of the value of all his assets might be close to $2 billion.
In order to determine his net worth, however, we have to subtract any debt he might owe. That’s a harder task, but one report indicates that he and his wife used a $52 million mortgage to purchase their $88 million Bel Air mansion. Subtracting that from the $2 billion we estimate as the value of his assets, we are left with over $1.9 billion. No doubt he has other debts as well. Nevertheless, a recent article estimating Jay-Z net worth to be $1.4 billion seems very reasonable.
|Birthplace||Brooklyn, New York|
|Current location||Bel Air, California|
|Education||Eli Whitney High School, George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School, Trenton Central High School|
|Occupation||American rapper, record producer, businessman|
|Relationship status||Married to Beyoncé Knowles-Carter|
|Net worth||At least $1.4 billion|
|Last updated||May 13, 2021|