In Numbers: The epic career of Jay-Z
(Credit: Wikimedia)


In Numbers: The epic career of Jay-Z

Jay-Z is the wealthiest man in hip hop (now that Kanye’s net worth has dropped), and since 1995, Hov has been bringing us quality music. From Reasonable Doubt to 4:44, the Brooklyn rapper has been around since the days of Big Daddy Kane and Biggie Smalls. As one of the first artists from the genre to achieve billionaire status, Hov (real name Shawn Carter) is considered to be one of the best rappers of all time. 

Born and raised in the drug-infested Marcy Projects, a public housing scheme located in Bedford-Stuyvesant of Brooklyn, Carter was raised by his mother. Brooklyn was a musical hotspot during the late 1980s and early 1990s, especially for hip hop. As an adolescent, Carter attended George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School along with rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes

Before Jay-Z exploded onto the scene in the late 1990s, he was an aspiring rapper who was just around. He was ubiquitous and persistent in his aim to prove that he was a certified rapper and did so by constantly adapting and affiliating himself with those more prominent than him.

In his quest to attain exposure, during the 1980’s Jay-Z affiliated himself with Jaz-O. Jaz-O (real name Jonathan Burks) was a Brooklyn rapper, born and raised in the same housing scheme as Jay-Z, the Marcy Houses. Burks knew Jay-Z from his area, and in a bid to help a young Jay-Z, Jaz-O allowed him to become part of his entourage.

In 1995 Jay-Z, along with Dame Dash, created Roc-A-Fella Records to release his debut album, Unreasonable Doubt, and since then, Jay-Z has dominated hip hop. With his final musical endeavour being his 2017 album, 4:44, Jay-Z’s rap career was around 22 years in length.

With his undeniably prolific career lasting over two decades. In this article, we’re going to break down the facts and figures to present you with Jay-Z’s epic career in numbers.

Jay-Z’s solo albums:

Across his 22-year career, Jay-Z has released 13 studio albums, one compilation album, one mixtape, five collaborative albums, two live albums and one soundtrack. Jay-Z began releasing albums every year. However, after his 2003 album The Black Album, the rapper began releasing more erratically.

Jay-Z’s highest-selling solo album is his 1998 album, Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life. This was his third full-length album and spawned an array of Top 40 hits, including ‘Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)’ and ‘Can I Get A…’. Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life boasted extensive production from the likes of Timbaland, Swizz Beatz and DJ Premier.

The album, to this day, is Carter’s most successful project and is certified 5× Platinum by the RIAA. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 upon its release and certified Jay-Z as a formidable artist during the late ’90s.

Jay-Z’s most streamed song:

As a lead artist, over his 22-year career span, Jay-Z has released a total of 119 singles. However, his most streamed song of all time on the prevalent music streaming service Spotify is ‘Empire State Of Mind’, the third single from his 2009 album The Blueprint 3. The single, as of 2022, has been streamed approximately 649.3 million times.

As a featured artist, Jay-Z’s most streamed song is ‘Ni**as In Paris’ by Kanye West. The 2011 track from the Watch The Throne album was a hip-hop hit and has been streamed approximately 1 billion times.

Jay-Z’s biggest video on YouTube:

Jay-Z’s most viewed video on YouTube as a lead artist is the music video for his track ‘The Story Of O.J.’, which was released as the second single for her 2017 album 4:44. Jay-Z’s most viewed video as a featured artist is the 2007 Rihanna music video for her track ‘Umbrella’. The video has been viewed over 858 million times.

Jay-Z’s net worth:

Jay-Z is currently the wealthiest man in hip-hop, and as of 2022, Jay-Z has a net worth of approximately $1.3 billion. Jay-Z has his own record label Roc Nation which has a vast array of artists on it, including J. Cole, Gucci Mane and Jess Glynne.

Jay also owned the music streaming service TIDAL but sold it. Jay-Z also has high stakes in Uber and owns two brands of high-end alcohol, Armand de Brignac and Dusse Champagne.