The Billionaire Blueprint

Hip Hop is more about attaining wealth. People respect success. They respect big. They don’t even have to like your music. If you’re big enough, people are drawn to you.
— Shawn Carter
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

It’s official. Shawn Carter,better known as Jay Z, has reached billionaire status!  The music icon, innovator and investor is now among the wealthiest people in the America, according to Forbes.  The recent designation was announced by Forbes, making Shawn Carter only the fifth African American Billionaire in history. One of the hardest working people in the music industry.  Jay is a leader in many categories and has consistently reached new levels in his career while remaining relevant in his industry and expanded into broader territories.  From the days of the tilted brim to the double-breasted suits of today. Through the years, he has adapted, evolved and essentially created a new path for the next generation of entertainers and entrepreneurs to take and improve upon.  When you see him, you know something great is happening.  For over two decades, we've witnessed his elevation. Living up to his affirmation: “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business…man”. Proof.

“…bet before I go I put a billion on the board”

JAY-Z 4:44 - SMILE

Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

As anyone would imagine, it took a lot of hard work, dedication and resiliency to reach this level of success.  One of the many things that stand out about Jay Z is that he used his gift to get him to the next levels.  He did what he was good at and it put him in front of people that don't look like him.  He was able to form relationships with people that ordinarily would not have associated with him.  Its the perfect example of preparation meeting opportunity.  Interestingly enough, he's not even fifty years old...imagine what his success will look like in another ten years.  An admirable trait is how he manages to move in silence and get ish done.  We usually learn of the greatness that he is accomplishing well after the deeds are done and the records have been broken.  Yet another lesson.

"Who you know fresher than Hov?" 

Take a moment to salute the brother from Marcy who has had a hand in influencing fashion from the early days of career.  The man behind RocaWear jeans company and the creative genius behind the S. Carter sneaker, part of a multi-year signature sneaker and clothing line deal with Reebok.  The true evolution of his personal style was around the release of his eighth studio album, The Black Album, one of his many memorable music projects.  When it comes to making moves, he's in a league of his own.  Jay has historically always been "on to the next one" as he has ventured into multiple industries beyond his primary art form.  Years ago, rappers seldom reached significant levels of success outside of the hip hop arena.  It wasn't until artists such as Jay, and many other notable emcees challenged those limitations.  It's safe to say that his entire career has been a movement and he has laid the groundwork for what could be interpreted as the blueprint to success. Of his many firsts, he was a lifestyle, making it cool to be a rapper with a corporate edge. As he parlayed his success with music into ownership of everything from the very record company that released most of his hits, Def Jam, he was setting the example. Taking stake in the Nets basketball team and supporting the move of the franchise to Brooklyn, where he was born and raised. Investing in a the very things that he and his listeners enjoyed on the daily. Seeing the pattern here?   

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

What does success look like? 

You got to throw on your fine linens for this one.  Jay Z evolved from the simple tee and jeans with his customary Yankees  fitted cap to the urban gentleman that we see today.  He's not afraid to rock colors that aren't the traditional blue, black or grey.  In fact, he's taken risks in that category as well!  When HOV hits the red carpet, he's rightfully dapper.  His height allows him to sport different suit styles without flaw.  In the process of investing, he became more polished and exhibited a different level of panache, fitting of a wealthy man.  The man that we see standing next to one of the most beautiful women in the world, has to stay fresh and know your way around your wardrobe.  He's been seen in brands from Tom Ford to Givenchy and nails the look every time.  This isn't on accident.  He's still laying the blueprint.  You have to give him credit, he makes his suits look good.  Proper fitting garments will make a statement before a word is spoken.  He has definitely made it cool to dress up and be about business.  Being versatile is a bonus, especially in today's ever-changing business world.  Not every meeting will require a suit and tie, but when necessary, it helps to be able to change clothes and go.  One of challenges that many men face today when it comes to suit shopping is figuring out what looks best on them.  It's not as simple as trying to recreate the look you saw in a magazine.  Taking the time to work on your personal image and wardrobe can yield a great return.  Of course, you will need to have the tenacity and ambition to accomplish your goals but it doesn’t hurt to make it look good in the process. Details Matter.

Shawn Carter amassed his fortune through multiple streams of income, as he advises through much of his music over the last decade.  He's well-invested into various industries.   Ironically, much of his financial success is not directly tied to his rap career.

If you're not celebrating yet, go shuffle the entire Jay Z discography, grab a gold bottle and toast to opportunities, success and breakthroughs.

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

Jay Z Studio Album discography

  1. Reasonable Doubt (1996, Roc-A-Fella) LP, RIAA - Platinum

  2. In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 [1997, Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam] LP, RIAA - Platinum

  3. Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life [1998, Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam] LP, RIAA - 5x Platinum

  4. Vol. 3…Life & Times of S. Carter [1999, Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG] LP, RIAA - 3x Platinum

  5. The Dynasty: Roc La Familia [2000, Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam,/IDJMG] LP, RIAA - 2x Platinum

  6. The Blueprint [2001, Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG] LP, RIAA - 2x Platinum

  7. The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse [2002, Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG] LP, RIAA - 3x Platinum

  8. The Black Album [2003, Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG] LP, RIAA - 3x Platinum

  9. Kingdom Come [2006, Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG] LP, RIAA - 2x Platinum

  10. American Gangster [2007, Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG] LP, RIAA - Platinum

  11. The Blueprint 3 [2009, Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG] LP, RIAA - Platinum

  12. Magna Carta…Holy Grail [2013, Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG] LP, RIAA - 2x Platinum

  13. 4:44 [2017, Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG] LP, RIAA - Platinum


From the breakdown provided by Zack O'Malley Greenburg of Forbes, Jay's valuations from his major investments, aside from money in the bank:

Armand de Brignac - 'Ace of Spades' Champagne
Valued at $310MM

D'Usse - Cognac, Joint with Bacardi
Valued at $100MM

Tidal - Music streaming platform
Valued at $100MM

Roc Nation - entertainment company, joint with Live Nation
Valued at $75MM, 

Art Collection
Valued at $70MM, 

Real Estate - Portfolio 
Valued at $50MM

WEALTH STATS  via FORBES / Zack O’malley Greenburg