Born December 4, 1969, Shawn Corey Carter — better known as Jay-Z — is a living legend in the hip-hop community. The Brooklyn native had a rough upbringing, as his father abandoned him at 12 years old and he never graduated high school.
To make his dream of becoming a successful rapper come true, he beat out LL Cool J in rap battles during the early 1990s. His first few CDs were received well by most critics, but his song “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” provided the crossover appeal he needed to become a household name. From there, he continued to release one multi-platinum album after another as his success grew even bigger.
Capitalizing on his success, he became a co-owner The 40/40 Club and the New Jersey Nets. In the meantime, he created Rocawear clothing line and became the CEO of Def Jam Recordings, where he signed artists like Rihanna.
Jay-Z has dated singer Beyoncé since working together in 2002, though the two famously avoid discussing their relationship. The rapper married the pop icon in a private ceremony in April 2008. They welcomed daughter Blue Ivy in January 2012, and twins Rumi and Sir in June 2017.