Jay-Z is not a businessman. He’s a business, man.
Since 1995, as one of the cofounders of Roc-A-Fella Records, along with Damon Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke, Hov has been a boss in the rap game. In his over 25-year career, the hip-hop mogul has maintained a successful trajectory both in music and business that only a few rap artists have accomplished.
Let’s begin with one of Jay’s biggest achievements: the first-ever billionaire in hip-hop (and no, it wasn’t Dr. Dre). But before that, the Brooklyn rhymer has been making boss moves in his career. One of his first was his appointment of president and CEO of Def Jam Recordings in 2003. Several years later, Jay secured a multimillion deal with Live Nation to form Roc Nation.
Hov also achieved success in the digital space. In 2013, he secured an unprecedented $5 million Samsung deal to release his album Magna Carta Holy Grail exclusively on their smartphones. Two years later, Jay threw his hat into the competitive streaming game with the launch of his streaming platform Tidal.
Musically, Jay also accomplished something that will undoubtedly continue to generate wealth for him—owning his master recordings. By owning his music catalog, the rap veteran can decide what he wants to do with music and profit from it.
Outside of his business dealings, Jay-Z has also put his time, money and energy in helping his fellow rappers with social causes. In February of 2019, Jay-Z provided an attorney for 21 Savage when he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for being an illegal immigrant. In that same year, he also assisted in Meek Mill’s crusade for criminal justice reform.
It’s clear Hov has accomplished a lot in his illustrious career. So XXL highlights Jay-Z’s biggest boss moves.