Hip Hop -An Escape
Born as Shawn Corey Carter, Jay-Z was raised singlehandedly by his mother in Brooklyn. While growing up, the rapper faced enormous hardships. He dealt with serious issues like drugs and gun violence. His sufferings during adolescence reflect upon his many autobiographical songs. The music which was initiated as an escape and a means of venting out personal emotions was destined to become Jay’s career. When the rapper joined hands with another performer, (the Jaz) in 1989, the duo came up with the hit number ‘The Originators.’ It won them an appearance at the popular TV show ‘Yo! MTV Rags.’ The track and the TV episode brought the artist into the limelight and subsequently he took on the stage name Jay-Z, which now has become a hip hop brand in itself.
The Record Producer
Having a strong fan following under his stage name, Jay-Z chose to keep his original identity a mystery. He remained anonymous until the launch of his own label, Roc-A-Fella Records in 1996. Subsequently, he released his first record by the name of ‘Reasonable Doubt.’ Its most popular tracks are ‘Can’t knock the Hustle’ and ‘Brooklyn’s Finest.’
A couple of years later, Jay-Z came up with the hit record ‘Vol 2… Hard Knock Life,’ the title song of which earned him his very first Grammy nomination. In the following years, the rapper produced a number of classic hip hop beats. Among them are ‘I Just Wanna Love you,’ ‘Big Pimpin,’ ‘Can I Get A …’ and the famous duet with Beyonce Knowles, ‘03 Bonnie & Clyde.’
The album ‘The Blueprint’ further gained Jay-Z appreciation from the music critics and the record eventually landed on the lists of Best Albums of the Decade.
Departure and Return to Hip Hop
In 2003 Jay-Z left the music fans in shock when he announced that ‘The Black Album’ would be his last record before retirement. He turned his focus to the business side of music making, taking up the position of the president of Def Jam Recordings. As president of the label, he signed popular acts like Kanye West, Rihanna and Ne-Yo.
He also involved himself with other business ventures such as the popular clothing line Rocawear and film producing label, Roc-A-Fella Films. Besides Jay-Z also owns the upscale 40/40 Club for sports and has a share in the ownership of the New Jersey Nets basketball franchise.
Having achieved success as a businessman, Jay-Z decided to make a comeback as a music artist by releasing the album ‘Kingdom Come’ in 2006. Following albums by the musician include ‘American Gangster,’ ‘Blueprint 3,’ and the very recent ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail.’
The performer has headlined the biggest rock festivals around the country and added life to the already grand parties of the business magnet Warren Buffet. His upcoming concerts are expected to rocking and most likely sold out, considering the huge demand of Jay-Z tickets.