Name at birth: Shawn CarterJay-Z is one of the great rap performers and moguls of the 21st century, known for his many hits, his street-hustler background, his self-created label Roc-A-Fella Records, and for his high-profile marriage to superstar Beyoncé. Jay-Z released his debut album Reasonable Doubt in 1996. His breakthrough 1998 album Vol. 2 Hard Knock Life included the huge hits "Can I Get A..." and "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)," the latter featuring a chorus sampled from the Broadway show Annie. The album won a Grammy for best rap album, and Jay-Z's Hard Knock Life Tour cemented his stardom. Jay-Z launched his own record label, Roc-A-Fella, in 1996 for his debut album; after various ups and downs, it ceased business in 2013. He collaborated with DMX, Foxy Brown, Memphis Bleek and others; his follow-up albums included Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter (1999) and The Blueprint (2001, with producer Kanye West). In 2004, Jay-Z announced his retirement from recording, and in 2005 he was made the chief executive officer of Def Jam Records, but in 2009 he left the position to get back to recording music. In the meantime he had joined superstar singer and performer Beyoncé in a marriage of musical royalty on April 4, 2008. Jay-Z's other records as a performer include "Numb/Encore," a 2006 Grammy winner with the rock band Linkin Park, the full-length 2006 "comeback" album Kingdom Come, 2007's American Gangster, Magna Carta... Holy Grail (2013), and 4:44 (2017). His ode to New York, "Empire State of Mind" (sung with Alicia Keys), was one of the biggest hits of 2009.
Jay-Z’s name is a shortened version of an early nickname, “Jazzy”… Another popular nickname for Jay-Z is “Jiggy”… In 2005 he announced he wanted to be known by his real name, Shawn Carter, but he has remained most widely known by his nickname… Jay-Z and Beyoncé have a daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, born on January 7, 2012, and twins born in June of 2017. In an Instagram post on July 14, 2017, Beyoncé said the twins were “1 month today” and gave their names as Sir Carter and Rumi… Jay-Z became a part-owner of the NBA team the New Jersey Nets in 2004, though his ownership stake was less than 1% of the team; they later became the Brooklyn Nets, and Jay-Z sold his stake in 2013.