How Jay-Z's Net Worth Made Him Hip-Hop's First Billionaire (2024)

Though it’s commonly believed that Dr. Dre is hip-hop’s first billionaire, that title actually goes to Jay-Z.

The misconception about Dre’s billionaire status came shortly after the rapper-turned-music producer sold Beats by Dre to Apple. The tech giant snapped up the headphones in a 2014 deal that, at that time, was worth close to $3 billion.

But a subsequent investigation by Forbes refuted the claim — and it was ultimately revealed that while Dre certainly wasn’t on food stamps with an $800 million net worth, he didn’t quite hit billionaire status once all the debts were settled.

“Forbes still doesn’t agree with the assessment made in the wake of Apple’s $3 billion 2014 purchase of his Beats By Dr. Dre headphone line,”they wrote.“The superproducer owned an estimated 20%-25% of the company at the time; of the $2.6 billion Apple paid upfront in cash, another $295 million wasearmarkedto cover debt payments, leaving Dre with a little over $500 million.”

While Forbes was busy counting Dre’s coins, Jay-Z was making money moves of his own. He first started aiming for billionaire status shortly after he married Beyoncé in 2014. At the time, the couple’s combined net worth was $1 billion, though Jay-Z individually brought $600 million to the table. Again, nothing to sneeze at, but nowhere near the billion-dollar net worth mark.

The game changed completely in 2019.

How Much Is Jay-Z Worth Today?

According to Forbes, Jay-Z is worth $1.4 billion. He became hip-hop’s first billionaire in 2019 thanks to the sale of two very strategic businesses.

First, he sold a majority share of Tidal to ex-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (and, more specifically, to his company, Square) for $297 million. Then, he sold half of the company that manufactures the $300-per-bottle Armand de Brignac to LVMH. Freeing up this liquid cash turned Jay-Z into a billionaire, and it’s with this money that he founded Marcy Venture Partners.

Marcy Venture Partners’ last investment was in September 2021, when they invested in the Series A round for MERIT Beauty. In the past, they’ve invested in companies likeWyze,Savage X Fenty, and Misha’s Kind Beauty. According to Crunchbase, the fund has raised more than$97 millionacross two funds.

Hova has also invested in Black-owned businessesthrough Roc Nation, which has morphed from a record & entertainment label into a full-service sports management, entertainment management, and investment firm.

Hova By The Numbers

To get a better idea of what Jay-Z and his billion-dollar net worth looks like by the numbers, consider these stats, courtesy of Parade Magazine.

  1. When he actually tours, he makes close to $400 million per tour, and this is *JUST* from the touring — it factors no other numbers into it. This means that after all the expenses are met, Hova’s paycheck has an awful lot of zeros at the end of it all.
  2. His music catalogue is worth over $100 million, and that’s by a conservative estimate. Assuming nothing ever gets licensed out from that catalogue (and, really, how many times has “Empire State of Mind” been licensed out to sell everything from tourism to cream cheese?), it’s worth several hundred million.
  3. While he and Beyoncé are rumored to own billions of dollars in properties, their verifiable real estate portfolio is worth north of $100 million as well. To further break it down by the numbers: the couple’s most expensive piece of property is a $90 million compound in Bel Air, CA. At the time, the couple took out a mortgage worth more than $50 million just to bridge the gap between the cash they put down and the actual price of the compound. Every month, the couple writes a check for more than $250,000 to cover the mortgage just on that property. They also own a home in the Hamptons, NY, and a private island in the Bahamas (which they bought shortly after Blue Ivy was born — and paid a measly $360,000 for).
  4. On the years that Jay-Z does not tour, he brings home a yearly paycheck of $500 million every year thanks to his investments. And with investments in such companies as Sweetgreen, Oatly, and Perch Credit — plus a branch-out into the cannabis world (as evidenced by his investment in the Josephine & Billie’s cannabis speakeasy in Los Angeles), that number can only go up year-over-year.
  5. Jay-Z is also one of the few Black stars to have an equity stake in a sports team. “Jay-Z bought stakes in the then-New Jersey Nets in 2003, eventually bringing the team back to his hometown of Brooklyn. He also owned stakes in the Barclays Center, the arena where the team holds court. In 2013, to prevent a conflict of interest with his Roc Nation Sports agency venture, he sold all of his stakes in both the team and the arena, netting an estimated $1.5 million,” reports Parade.

So, the next time someone asks you if you want $500,000 or dinner with Jay-Z, we’re here to tell you to take the money. After all, it’s what Hova did — and that’s what made him a billionaire. In 2005 he laid down the now prophetic lyric, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” And to his undying credit, he lived up to every word of that lyric.

How Jay-Z's Net Worth Made Him Hip-Hop's First Billionaire (2024)


How Jay-Z's Net Worth Made Him Hip-Hop's First Billionaire? ›

How Jay-Z, hip-hop's first billionaire, makes and spends his money. Jay-Z has a net worth of $2.5 billion, according to Forbes. The rap mogul has built a fortune through his music and several business ventures. It includes a clothing line, the music streaming service tidal, and liquor business.

How did Jay-Z become a billionaire? ›

His wealth has ballooned in recent years thanks in part to the growth of his entertainment company Roc Nation, his sale of the streaming service Tidal as well as numerous investments in companies including Uber.

Why is Jay-Z's net worth so high? ›

How is Jay-Z worth $2.5 billion? Jigga Man's net worth isn't just due to stellar record sales, but largely due to savvy business dealings. His ownership stakes through the years in everything from the Barclays Center to Roc Nation, Roc Nation Sports and Armand de Brignac have made him a very, very rich man.

Who is the first billionaire musician? ›

Paul McCartney is Britain's first billionaire musician – and the first billionaire Beatle.

Who was the first billionaire? ›

The world got its first billionaire by measurable dollars in 1916 when John D Rockefeller achieved the status. Mr Rockefeller used his keen business sense to establish Standard Oil Company, a move that made him one of the wealthiest men in the world.

Who was the first black billionaire? ›

Bob Johnson, the first US Black billionaire, also represents a US trend where most Black billionaires stem from the entertainment industry.

Who's worth more, Jay-Z or Beyoncé? ›

Beyonce's net worth is $500 million dollars as of 2020. Jay Z's net worth as of 2020 is estimated to be more than $1 billion as of June 2020. Therefore we can conclude that between the two of them, Jay Z is richer.

Who discovered Jay-Z? ›

The Diary Of A CEO with Steven Bartlett. Dame Dash is the co-founder of Roc-A-Fella records and the producer who discovered Jay-Z and Kanye West.

Why Jay-Z named his son sir? ›

In regards to naming his son, Sir, JAY Z said the two agreed on the name after he was born. "Sir was like, man, come out the gate. He carries himself like that. He just came out, like, Sir," the father of three said.

What does Jay-Z stand for? ›

His firsthand experience with illicit drug dealing would inform his lyrics when he began rapping under the stage name Jazzy, soon shortened to Jay-Z (a name that may also have been derived from the proximity of the J and Z subway lines to the Marcy Projects).

Why is Jay-Z the best rapper? ›

He is widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time, with a catalog of over 20 albums, including “Reasonable Doubt,” “The Blueprint,” “American Gangster,” and “4:44.” With over 100 million records sold worldwide, 21 Grammy Awards, and 14 number one album on the Billboard 200 chart, it's clear that Jay-Z's ...

Who is the #1 selling artist of all time? ›

The Beatles are the best selling artist of all-time with over 420 million equivalent album sales. More than 85 million sales behind, Michael Jackson is runner up ahead of Elvis Presley.

How rich is Taylor Swift? ›

And now, as of February 2024? Bloomberg reported that Taylor's net worth is officially $1.1 billion.

When did Jay-Z first become a millionaire? ›

To put this perspective, Jay Z's net worth was estimated to be $52 million in 1998. By 2004, his net worth had skyrocketed to 284 million. A little over ten years later, by 2016, Jay Z officially became a billionaire.

Are Jay-Z and Beyoncé both billionaires? ›

Both Jay-Z and Beyoncé are estimated to be billionaires. They do not need institutional support the way others do, and in fact have received an exceptional amount.


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