JAY-Z has made history as hip-hop’s first official billionaire, according to Forbes magazine.
The Empire State of Mind rap mogul, real name Shawn Carter, has amassed the fortune thanks to his many savvy business endeavours, which includes partnerships with alcohol brands Armand de Brignac and D’Usse, respectively worth an estimated $310 million and $100 million, $100 million for his music streaming service Tidal, and $75 million each for his Roc Nation label and his own music catalogue.
The publication’s financial experts also take into account his private art collection, worth around $70 million, and the $50 million he owns in real estate.
In addition, JAY-Z boasts $220 million in cash and investments, including a $70 million stake in on-demand car service app Uber.
The overall figures have also been adjusted to account for the cost of his “superstar lifestyle”, and don’t include his pop icon wife Beyonce’s own finances, which previously made the couple worth more than a billion combined.
“Jay-Z has accumulated a fortune that conservatively totals $1 billion, making him one of only a handful of entertainers to become a billionaire – and the first hip-hop artist to do so,” journalist Zack O’Malley Greenburg writes.
Producer and close friend Swizz Beatz, who has worked closely with JAY-Z over the years, has hailed the 49 year old’s latest achievement as a big win for black culture.
“It’s bigger than hip-hop… it’s the blueprint for our culture,” he tells Forbes. “A guy that looks like us, sounds like us, loves us, made it to something that we always felt that was above us.”
“If he’s a billionaire now, imagine what he’s about to be, because he’s only just starting.”
The news emerges five years after fellow rap legend Dr. Dre claimed to have cracked the billion dollar mark after selling his Beats by Dre electronics brand to Apple bosses for more than $3 billion.
However, Forbes experts insist Dre’s fortune doesn’t quite compare, as his net worth is around $850 million.