- 12:10 PM, Aug 17
Born Shawn Corey Carter on April 12, 1969, Jay-Z grew up in drug-infested area, Marcy Projects, Brooklyn. He was raised only by his mother, Gloria Carter, after his dad abandoned him and his brothers. Growing up, he experienced the tough life on the streets of New York. He explored his rap skill when he briefly attended Eli Whitney High School with fellow rappers Notorious B.I.G and Busta Rhymes. Alongside his partners in his early group "Original Flavor", Jay-Z, Damon Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke co-founded an independent label called Roc-a-Fella Records in 1996. Later, Roc-a-Fella was folding into Def Jam Recordings.
Jay-Z could be considered as a person who could do almost everything. Beginning his career as a rapper and a businessman, he was holding an important position in Def Jam as the president and CEO. "I was forced to be an artist and a CEO from the beginning, so I was forced to be like a businessman because when I was trying to get a record deal, it was so hard to get a record deal on my own that it was either give up or create my own company," Jay-Z said.
As an artist, Jay-Z sold more than 18 million albums worldwide. Starting from his debut album "Reasonable Doubt" (1996), Jay-Z had collected many prestigious awards, including American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, BET Awards and Grammy Awards for his dedication in hip-hop
Aware of the hard days that he had been through to achieve success, Jay-Z published his autobiography entitled "The Black Book" along with the release of "The Black Album" in 2003. At that time, Jay-Z was romantically linked to former Destiny's Child singer Beyonce Knowles. The couple, who once were invited by Prince Charles to dine at Buckingham Palace, worked together on Beyonce's album "Crazy in Love". During an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Beyonce claimed that all the wedding reports were "big fat rumors," while revealing further that "one day I hope to be married with children."
In 1998, Jay-Z achieved a big success with "Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life". The title track was considered as the rapper's most successful commercial single until now. Jay-Z released "Vol. 3: Life and Times of S. Carter", which also received critical acclaim, in the following year. He released several albums from 2000 until 2003, before announcing that he would take a break from music industry.
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