As we celebrate Black History Month, Cheddar is highlighting prominent Black Americans who are carving their own historic paths and trailblazing in their industries. While Black History Month has become synonymous with reflecting on past achievements of Black Americans, it is important that we acknowledge today's historic feats as they happen.
Inductee Jay-Z speaks onstage during the 36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on October 30, 2021, in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kevin Kane/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame )
Hip hop has been long considered a "young man's" game, and that's in part because the genre is turning a mere 49 years old. When compared to other genres of music, hip hop might still be considered in its infancy. But iconic figures like Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter are proof that there is room to age gracefully.
Just in 2021, he made history becoming the most nominated artist in Recording Academy history with 83 total Grammy nods. So far, he's racked up 23 of the gilded gramophones, the most of any rap artist, and currently sits at ninth on the all-time list of winners.
Former President Barack Obama even introduced Jay-Z during his induction to the 36th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class. In just his first year of eligibility for the honor, he became the only living solo rap artist to be inducted into the hall.
"Thank you, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, for this incredible honor. You know, growing up, we didn't think we could be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame," he said during his acceptance speech. "We were told hip hop was a fad, and much like punk rock, it gave us this anti-culture, this subgenre, and there were heroes in it."
Jay-Z performs onstage during the 'On The Run II' Tour at Rose Bowl on September 22, 2018, in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/PW18/Getty Images for Parkwood Entertainment)
And outside of his legendary music career, his moves in the business world have landed him in a more-than-comfortable financial position. While the billion-dollar race between Hov (another Jay-Z alias) and Dr. Dre seemed to end after the $3 billion sale of Beats by Dre to Apple, Forbes officially named Jay-Z hip hop's first billionaire in 2019. Dre fell just short of the threshold despite the deal. Meanwhile, the financial publication reported that a number of deals helped push Jay-Z's net worth to land "conservatively" at $1 billion.
Since then, after purchasing the music streaming platform Tidal for $56 million in 2015, he sold the company to former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for nearly $300 million last year, and luxury giant LVMH entered a business deal with the rap mogul in 2021, purchasing a 50 percent stake in his Armand de Brignac champagne brand, also known as Ace of Spades, adding to his growing wealth.