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MAIN Arrow to Art & Culture Art & ... Arrow to Pop Culture Pop Culture Arrow to Pop Music Pop Music Arrow to Jay-ZJay-Z

jay zBorn Shawn Corey Carter on December 4, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York, the rap star later rose to fame as the President and CEO of Def Jam Recordings.

He now looks to leave that position to sign with concert-promotions giant Live Nation for $150 million, one of the biggest contracts ever awarded in the music industry.

Jay-Z began his career as a teenager when he was said to have had an uncanny ability to commit to memory rhymes made up on the spot.

After several independent attempts at launching his music career, Jay-Z later co-founded Roc-a-Fella Records with Damon Dash, releasing his debut album, Reasonable Doubt and spinning off such hit singles as Ain't No Nigga with Foxy Brown and Can't Knock the Hustle with Mary J. Blige.

Since then, the rapper has followed success after success with such albums as In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 in 1997, Vol 2.: Hard Knock Life in 1998 - featuring the mega-hit singles Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem), Jigga What? and Money Ain't a Thang - and Vol. 3: Life and Times of S. Carter in 1999.

The Blueprint album, however, made the biggest impact with both critics and fans in 2001, containing the Top Ten hit, H to the Izzo and a collaboration with Eminem on Renegade. Most notably perhaps was the the track that directly insulted fellow rapper, Nas, which touched off a public feud that only ended in 2003.

Jay-Z released Collision Course, a collaboration with Linkin Park, which debuted at #1 in the US Billboard Album Charts in November, 2004. A month later, it was announced that while continuing to help oversee Roc-a-Fella Records, the one time street kid from Brooklyn would also take the helm of Def Jam Recordings beginning in January 2005.

In 2006, a notable TV performance opened the 2006 BET Awards in which he appeared with then-girlfriend Beyonce. His much-awaited comeback album, "Kingdom Come", was released several months later to great critical reviews and debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200.

Jay-Z held a place beside music legend Elvis Presley, tying him with a total of 10 chart toppers following the release of the soundtrack album to the film American Gangster in November 2007.

The following year, wedding rumors furiously circulated that Jay-Z and girlfriend Beyonce were about to marry which, indeed, culminated in a lavish wedding for the couple which took place in New York City in April 2008. (The couple later welcome their first baby, a girl named Blue Ivy, in January 2012.)

Meanwhile, another chart-busting hit, "Empire State of Mind", debuted in 2009 in a highly successfull collaboration with singer Alicia Keys receiving top honors at the 53rd Grammy Awards ceremony including Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song.

In 2011, Jay-Z and Kanye West collaborated on West-produced album, "Watch the Throne", which was first released on the Internet debuting at No. 1 on the iTunes Store in 23 countries. A sell-out nationwide tour followed with spins-offs of No. 1 hits such as "Otis" (featuring Otis Redding) and "Niggas in Paradise."

Magna Carta... Holy Grail is the rapper's latest studio album, (his 12th) first released online in July 2013 resulting in another chart topper with hit singles including "Holy Grail" and "Picasso Baby".

More about Jay-Z around the Web:

Life + Times - The official website including a variety of interactivve blog posts, photo galleries, and videos.

Jay-Z Online - Picture galleries, audio and video clips, lyrics, wallpapers, and message board, from the Rap Basement Network.

Jay-Z News - Links to recent headline news and feature stories from various sources around the Web.

Jay-Z - Complete Wikipedia profile featuring his early life and career, recent accomplishments, pictures, quotes, full biography, career overview, discography, with related links and references.


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