Thanks to his wise investments over the course of his 20-year career, Jay-Z has reportedly become the first billionaire hip hop performer.
The mogul’s apparently new financial status was reported by Forbes magazine Monday after the publication reviewed Jay’s financial dealings with companies like Armand de Brignac champagne and his D’Ussé cognac joint venture with Bacardi. After applying its “customary discount to private firms,” the magazine totaled up the rapper’s income. Then, Forbes subtracted “a healthy amount to account for a superstar lifestyle” and verified the calculations with “a roster of outside experts to ensure these estimates were fair and conservative.”
Indeed, Jay has come a long way from the drug dealer he once was when he emerged from violent surroundings in Brooklyn’s Marcy housing project. Among some of the biggest money-making efforts the 49-year-old has ventured into, the magazine reported Jay-Z earned $310 million from Armand de Brignac, which goes for $300 per gold bottle.
The next big earner is cash and investments, from which Jay reportedly earned $220 million. His wide-ranging investment portfolio includes an estimated $70 million stake in Uber, despite his failure to increase his reported initial $2 million purchase of holdings from founder Travis Kalanick by another $5 million.
A third top income generator is D’Ussé, which sells about 200,000 cases a year and has reportedly grown 80 percent each year to the tune of $100 million added to Jay’s bottom line.
The MC hasn’t left music out of his income pursuits, either. He’s earned $100 million from Tidal, which he bought from the Scandinavian streaming service’s parent company for just under $60 million in 2015. Roc Nation, the entertainment company he launched in 2008, generated $75 million and another $75 million has been made from Jay’s music catalog. He smartly negotiated eventual ownership of his master recordings from Def Jam, his label. Jay also earned back his publishing rights in a separate deal with EMI.
Ever the art collector, buying works by the late neo-expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat has put $70 million in the rapper’s pocket. And Jay-Z’s real estate with wife Beyoncé — a $26 million East Hampton, New York, mansion and an $88 million Bel-Air estate — are among the properties helping the entrepreneur add another $50 million to his net worth.
Despite his wealth, Jay-Z knows that true happiness cannot be bought. Speaking to The New York Times Style Magazine in 2017 he said having the most money and homes is “not the endgame.”
And while he said people should “buy what you want”, he cautioned, “don’t forget what’s important. Without people, being rich would be very boring.”