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Jay-Z has amassed a billion-dollar fortune that unseats Dr. Dre

Jay-Z has amassed a billion-dollar fortune that unseats Dr. Dre
Forbes estimates that hip-hop mogul Jay-Z is now a billionaire. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Jay-Z might have 99 problems, but a fortune ain’t one: The rap mogul is now considered a billionaire

The bona fide title comes by way of Forbes, the financial magazine known for its annual wealth rankings, which conservatively estimates a 10-figure fortune, accounting for his “superstar lifestyle.” Of equal note, the Brooklyn-bred rapper is reported to be the first hip-hop artist to reach billionaire status.

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That’s a title that could be contested by fellow mogul Dr. Dre, who declared himself “the first billionaire in hip-hop” back in 2014 around the time he cut an estimated $3.2-billion deal with Apple for Beats Electronics. However, at the time, Forbes estimated his value climbing to $800 million, which isn’t a figure to sneeze at.

Like Dre, though, Jay-Z’s fortune isn’t attributed to his musical success but is a consequence of the name recognition it afforded him. Forbes reported that his empire-building prowess came from recognizing “that he should build his own brands rather than promote someone else’s.”

Jay-Z, real name Sean Carter, got his start in the Brooklyn projects as a drug dealer, giving his rags-to-riches tale an ever-aspirational element. His business savvy could be traced back to the launch of his Roc-A-Fella record label to release his 1996 debut album “Reasonable Doubt.” Needless to say, several critically acclaimed albums followed (14 of which went No. 1), as well as 22 Grammy Awards and notice by the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

He’s also married to singer-turned-business shark Beyoncé, and together they’ve repeatedly topped the charts, not to mention lists for power couples. Together, they surpassed the billion-dollar mark in 2017.

Jay has since amassed his wealth through massive liquor, art and real-estate deals, by buying stakes in companies like Uber and starting up Tidal.

Forbes calculated his $1-billion net worth through stakes in Armand de Brignac champagne and D’Ussé cognac, which together earned him am estimated $410 million. Add to that $220 million from cash and investments, $100 million from streaming service Tidal, $75 million from his entertainment company Roc Nation, another $75 million from his music catalog, $70 million from his impressive art collection and $50 million from real estate deals that frequently make headlines.

That further proves another of his lyrics that he’s not a businessman: He’s a business, man.

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