Jay-Z enters elite hip hop pantheon

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Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter honed his business instincts as a teenager in the 1980s selling crack cocaine on the streets of Brooklyn, New York.

The 45-year-old, who is married to singer Beyoncé, now ranks as one of the most successful artists of all time, having sold more than 100m records including the hits “99 Problems” and “Empire State of Mind”.

The rapper has an estimated net worth of $520m according to Forbes, putting him in a pantheon of wealthy hip-hop entrepreneurs including Sean “P Diddy” Combs, Russell Simmons, and Dr Dre (real name Andre Young).

Born in a housing project in Brooklyn, Jay-Z started his business empire by selling records from the back of his car in the early 1990s.

He created the influential label Roc-A-Fella Records in 1996, where he released his first major hit “Hard Knock Life”. Roc-A-Fella is now a subsidiary of Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company.

The rapper moved into the world of clothing in 1999, founding Rocawear with Damon Dash. Just eight years later he sold the rights to the fashion brand to the Iconix Brand Group for $204m.

In 2006, Jay-Z was named a co-brand director for Budweiser Select — providing advice on marketing and advertising techniques.

He also owns the 40/40 Club, a sports bar in New York that has since expanded to other cities, was a part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets NBA team before relinquishing his stake, and has invested heavily in real estate.

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