Jay-Z: Early Years (03:35)
Rapper Sean Carter was born in Brooklyn New York in 1969 and grew up in the dangerous Marcy projects. The bright, shy child was devastated at age 11 when his father left the family.
Jay-Z: Influences (02:33)
Music was important to Jay-z’s single, working mother, who owned an encyclopedic record collection. Filmmaker Barry Michael Cooper notes that drug dealing partially taught Jay the skills of entrepreneurship.
Jay-Z: First Album (03:43)
Starting Roc-a-Fella records at age 24, Jay-Z’s debut album "Reasonable Doubt" sold 500,000 copies in 3 months. When his high school classmate Christopher Wallace aka Notorious B.I.G. was murdered in Los Angeles, Jay became the most prominent rapper in America.
Jay-Z: Def Jam Records (03:22)
Def Jam acquired Roc-a-Fella for $1.5 Million and equity. The second album, "Hard Knock Life," was a cross-over hit that earned Jay-Z a Grammy in 1999.
Jay-Z: Arrest and Retirement (03:11)
After stabbing Lance “Un” Rivera in a crowded nightclub Jay-Z was given three years of probation. In 2003, the rapper retired from music, selling out his farewell Madison Square Garden show in one day.
Jay-Z: Selling Roc-a-Fella (02:01)
Def Jam Records bought out Roc-a-Fella for $10 million in 2004. After partner selling Roca Wear to Iconix for $204 million, Jay-Z concentrated on philanthropy.
Jay-Z: Continued Success (03:46)
Jay-Z has surpassed Elvis with eleven Number 1 songs. A powerful celebrity brand-maker, Jay turned his outlaw persona into a mass entertainer with a thoughtful and ambitious business strategy.
Credits: Jay-Z (00:41)
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