Yes, Jay-Z Made History As Hip-Hop's First Billionaire — But How'd He Get There?
Photo Credit: Axelle

Yes, Jay-Z Made History As Hip-Hop's First Billionaire — But How'd He Get There?

Jay-Z is more than just a rapper.

Just a quick perusal through all of his work that we here at AfroTech have reported on alone is indicative of a man that has earned every penny of his $1.4 billion net worth. He is one of the only men in Hip-Hop (outside of, most notably, Kanye West) to achieve a billion-dollar net worth and was the first rapper in history to do so.

Jay-Z is also one of the world’s few Black billionaires. Even in years that he doesn’t release music or go on tour, Jay-Z is good for about $500 million a year, by one estimate. And this is to say nothing of how his marriage to fellow icon Beyoncé has also increased his net worth.

In short, when it comes to money moves, S-Dot-Carter is second-to-none.

But more than investing in businesses, Jay-Z has also invested in Black-owned businesses. Crunchbase reports that Marcy Venture Partners, founded in 2019, is a venture capital firm that has invested in 24 companies — 11 of which are considered “diversity investments.” The term “diversity investments” includes women-owned companies, Latinx-owned companies, and Black-owned companies.

Marcy Venture Partners’ last investment was in September 2021, when they invested in the Series A round for MERIT Beauty. In the past, they’ve invested in companies like Wyze, Savage X Fenty, and Misha’s Kind Beauty. The fund has raised more than $97 million across two funds.

Hova has also invested in Black-owned businesses through Roc Nation, which has morphed from a record & entertainment label into a full-service sports management, entertainment management, and investment firm.

And this is just the beginning of Jay-Z’s journey. Let’s take a look at the myriad of ways that Jay-Z has earned his estimated $1.3 billion net worth — and the best part is, you won’t have to choose between $500,000 or dinner with Hova to get this knowledge.

Salary Highlights

Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur

To go over the list of Jay-Z’s extensive salary highlights would be a Herculean task in itself. So, we decided to condense his salary accomplishments into a top-five list, per Forbes.

  1. Before Jay-Z ever invested one dollar in a company that wasn’t his — be it through Marcy Venture Partners, Roc Nation, or Arrive (which is the investment arm of Roc Nation) — he made north of $750 million.
  2. Jay-Z first started brushing the billionaire status in 2014, when he married Beyoncé. At that time, their combined net worth was $1 billion, though individually, he was worth $600 million.
  3. Year over year, Jay-Z earns between $70 million and $80 million without ever going on tour or recording a note of music.
  4. His biggest financial windfall to date was in February 2021, when he sold 50 percent of Armand de Brignac to LVMH at a $640 million valuation, and sold TIDAL to Square for $300 million.
  5. Though he has no shortage of investments and other tangible valuables, he also has more than $220 million worth of cash and other liquid investments.

Hip-Hop's First Billionaire

Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta

In June 2019, Jay-Z became Hip-Hop’s first proven and viable billionaire, thanks to what Forbes called a “sprawling and diverse empire.” In addition to his liquid cash, his music catalog alone is worth at least $75 million. His investment in D’Usse is worth at least $100 million. And his deal with LiveNation is worth over $200 million.

Investments

Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur

One look at the CrunchBase profiles of Marcy Venture Partners, Arrive, and Roc Nation will prove that Jay-Z has made investments in nearly 100 different companies, including Savage X Fenty, Epic Games, Sweetgreen, Oatly, and Fanatics. As AfroTech previously reported, Marcy Venture Partners recently closed its second fund worth $325 million, and Hova has also started to expand his reach into the cannabis market with investments in the cannabis speakeasy Josephine & Billie’s (which is both Black-owned and woman-owned) and Flowhub (whose valuation is upwards of $200 million).

Art Collection

Courtesy of Tiffany & Co

Together with his wife, Beyoncé, Jay-Z owns an extensive art collection that is said to be worth millions. Word of the Carters’ extensive art collection first started hitting the wires in 2014, when ArtNet started remarking that Beyoncé’s single “7/11” featured artwork that was worth just a hair under $700,000. In 2018, ArtSpace did a round-up of Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s art collection that included the likes of Sadie Barnett, Richard Prince, and of course Jean-Michel Basquiat. The Carters’ Basquiat collection hit the mainstream news wires in August 2021, when they posed in their Tiffany & Co. campaign with a rare and heretofore-unseen artwork done by Basquiat, according to ArtNews.

Real Estate

Courtesy of Hilton & Hyland

Though Jay-Z and Beyoncé are said to own real estate all over the world, these are the properties we’ve been able to verify that they own for certain.

  • In 2006, the Carters bought an estate in the Indian Creek Island district of Southern Florida, just off the coast of Miami. The New York Post reports that they sold the property in 2010 to a Dutch businessman for $9.3 million.
  • In October 2021, the Carters listed their New Orleans mansion for $4.45 million. According to Dirt.com, the former church was built in the 1920s and boasts more than 13,000-square-feet.
  • In 2017, the Carters sold their New York City condo just 11 days after they listed it for a cool $9.95 million.
  • That same year, the Carters bought a Hamptons estate for just under $26 million, and a sprawling Paul McLean designed compound in Los Angeles for a gob-smacking $90 million.
  • According to GoBankingRates, in 2013, the Carters purchased a 360-acre private island in the Bahamas for the bargain-basement price of $3 million.
  • The couple’s most extravagant real estate purchase came in 2017 with their Bel Air, CA mansion worth $88 million.