Shawn Carter AKA Jay Z was born on December 4th 1969, The world over was not prepared for the entity that had been born on that day. Quite possibly one of the greatest minds hip-hop has ever known, with a career now spanning almost two decades and doesn’t seem to be letting up.
Jay Z started off rapping with Jaz-O and made his presence known in the rap industry by making appearances on songs garnering a buzz for himself. In 1996 Jay released his debut album Reasonable Doubt, an album that is now revered as one of the best hip hop albums of all time as well as his first platinum album. He followed up in 1997 with In My Lifetime, Vol.1 the album was released after the passing of fellow rapper and close friend The Notorious B.I.G, once again reaching platinum in the U.S.
Jay started off 1998 by releasing his third album Vol.2…Hard Knock Life which went platinum five times thanks to hits such as ‘Can I Get A…’featuring Ja Rule and Amil and ‘Nigga What, Nigga Who’ featuring Amil. Apart from that signing artists to his already growing Roc-A-Fella Records. Jay continued his streak of releasing annual albums with Vol3… Life and Times of S.Carter, once again earning a number one spot on the charts with one of his biggest hits ‘Big Pimpin’ featuring UGK.
The new Millennium was no different as Jay yet again released another album, The Dynasty: Roc La Familia’ and another number one spot with another major hit ‘I Just Wanna Love U’. Jay Z entered 2001 not only with his next number one album but a rap beef that people still debate till this very day. Jay Z performed his song ‘Takeover’ at Hot 97’s Summer Jam, the song took aim at Prodigy of Mobb Deep for comments he made about Jay Z previously while posting pictures of a young prodigy dressed up as Michael Jackson from his days as a dancer. Nas caught wind of the verses from ‘Takeover’ and released his response to Jay Z entitled ‘Ether’. This marked the beginning of a very nasty beef that many thought couldn’t be resolved. All this was happening while Jay Z released his next album called The Blueprint another one of his landmark albums and another number one.
2002 saw the release of The Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse his next number one and first double disc album. Hov continued his streak in 2003 when he released The Black Album one of his biggest albums to date thanks to the throng of singles that were on it, such as ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulders’ and ’99 Problems’. This also marked Jay’s supposed retirement from rap.
Apart from being one of the most influential rappers of his time Jay was/is a successful business man entering several ventures, whether it was his label Roc-A-Fella Records, his clothing line RocaWear, even his club The 40/40 he was seeing success like no other.
Whether the man was retired or not he still made waves in 2004 by becoming president of Def Jam records, creating a rift between him and business associate Dame Dash. in ’05 Jay headlined the Powerhouse concert for New York Radio station Power 105, calling it the ‘I Declare War’ concert. after having several artists performed he invited rival Nas to the stage and the two repaired their fractured relationship.
In 2006 we saw the return of Hova, with his album Kingdom Come, his short retirement proved to be nothing but a hiccup as he was still able to make a chart topping album with the help of singles such as ‘Show Me What You Got’ and ‘Lost Ones’. The King was back and his presence was felt everywhere once again, in 2007 Jay released American Gangster and for the ninth time released a number one album.
2008 saw the revival of The Blueprint series with The Blueprint 3 and the creation of RocNation. Jay was determined to take over the industry once more with his new found record label which houses artists such as J.Cole and Jay Electronica. In 2011 the monstrous collaboration between Jay Z and Kanye West entitled Watch The Throne was released and the two embarked on a tour to promote the album. 2013 saw the release of Magna Carta Holy Grail another number one and another notch on Hov’s belt.
Currently Hov is working on business ventures, his biggest one to date is Tidal, a streaming service that helps promote all RocNation managed artists and features exclusive content. With such a staggering discography it is no wonder why we all hold Jay Z to such high regard as one of the figure heads of today’s rap game. long live the dynasty.