QUICK FACTS NAME: Jay-Z OCCUPATION: Entrepreneur, Music Producer , Rapper BIRTH DATE: December 04 , 1969 (Age: 43) PLACE OF BIRTH: Brooklyn, New York ORIGINALLY: Shawn Corey Carter ZODIAC SIGN: Sagittarius BEST KNOWN FOR Rapper and hip-hop entrepreneur Jay-Z has won Grammy Awards, helmed Def Jam Records, created a clothing line, and married Beyoncé Knowles. Jay-Z biography SYNOPSIS
Born Shawn Corey Carter on December 4, 1969, Jay-Z grew up in Brooklyn's drug-infested Marcy Projects. He used rap as an escape, and appeared on Yo! MTV Raps in 1989. After selling millions of records with his own Roc-A-Fella label, Jay-Z then created his own clothing line. EARLY LIFE Jay-Z was born Shawn Corey Carter on December 4, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York. "He was the last of my four children," Jay- Z's mother later recalled, "the only one who didn't give me any pain when I gave birth to him, and that's how I knew he was a special child." Jay-Z's father, Adnes Reeves, left the family when Jay-Z was only 11 years old. The young rapper was raised by his mother, Gloria Carter, in Brooklyn's drug-infested Marcy Projects. During a rough adolescence, detailed in many of his autobiographical songs, Shawn Carter dealt drugs and flirted with gun violence. He attended Eli Whitney High School in Brooklyn, where he was a classmate of the soon-to-be-martyred rap legend Notorious B.I.G. As Jay-Z later remembered his childhood in one of his songs ("December 4th"), "I went to school, got good grades, could behave when I wanted/ But I had demons deep inside that would raise when confronted." RISE TO HOP-HOP FAME Two years later, Jay-Z achieved even broader success with the 1998 album Vol. 2 ... Hard Knock Life . The title track, which famously sampled its chorus from the Broadway musical Annie , became Jay-Z's most popular single to date and won him his first Grammy nomination. "Hard Knock Life" marked the beginning of a fruitful period in which Jay-Z would become the biggest name in hip-hop. Over the span of those years, the rapper released a slew of No. 1 albums and hit singles. His most popular songs from this period include "Can I Get A ...", "Big Pimpin'", "I Just Wanna Love U", "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" and "03 Bonnie & Clyde", a duet with future bride Beyoncé Knowles . Jay-Z's most acclaimed album of this period was The Blueprint (2001), which would later land on many music critics' lists of the best albums of the decade. EXPANDING EMPIRE In 2003, Jay-Z shocked the hip-hop world by releasing The Black Album and announcing that it would be his last solo record before retirement. Asked to explain his sudden exit from rap, Jay-Z said that he once derived inspiration from trying to outshine other great MCs, but had simply gotten bored due to a lack of competition. "The game ain't hot," he said. "I love when someone makes a hot album and then you've got to make a hot album. I love that. But it ain't hot." During his hiatus from rapping, Jay-Z turned his attention to the business side of music, becoming president of Def Jam Recordings. As president of Def Jam, Jay-Z signed such popular acts as Rihanna
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