Jay-Z is the world’s first hip-hop billionaire

Giving back: Jay-Z and his mum started a charity to help poor, young people go to university.

Is hip-hop the most exciting style of music? Rap legend Jay-Z has been named the world’s first hip-hop billionaire. He started life in one of New York’s roughest neighbourhoods…

What’s happening

Jay-Z once rapped, “I’m not a businessman — I’m a business, man!” It turns out he was right.

He is already known for being one of the world’s best rappers. Now, he will go down in history as hip-hop’s first billionaire.

Find out more

According to the magazine Forbes, Jay-Z has made around $75 million from his music. This includes 14 number-one albums.

The rest of his money comes from the businesses he owns. These include the streaming company Tidal, gold bottles of champagne, and a stake in the taxi service Uber.

Jay-Z’s success is amazing considering where he came from.

He grew up in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in New York City. Before he was a rapper, he sold drugs and got into fights.

Now, he is a billionaire. Is hip-hop the most exciting music?

Some say…

No. It is loud, angry and not very easy to listen to. Jay-Z’s lyrics mostly involve boasting about how rich he is. He may be right — but that does not make it good music.

Others think…

This misses the point. Unlike most “easy” pop songs, hip-hop is all about the lyrics. The best rappers fill their songs with complex rhymes and double-meanings. It is musical poetry.

You Decide

  1. What is your favourite style of music and why?

Activities

  1. In groups, write your own rap song inspired by Jay-Z’s story.

Some People Say...

“Hip-hop has done more than any leader, politician — or anyone — to improve race relations.”

Jay-Z

What do you think?

Word Watch

Hip-hop
Also known as rap music. It was created by African-Americans in New York in the 1970s.
Billionaire
Someone with a billion dollars, euros or pounds. In this case, it is dollars.
Streaming
Playing music online.
Champagne
Fizzy, white wine made from grapes which are grown in Champagne, a part of France.
Stake
Owning part of a business.
Neighbourhoods
Communities within towns or cities.
Boasting
Showing off.
Lyrics
The words to a song.

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