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Jay Z

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Shawn Corey Carter was born 4 December 1969 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. Raised in Brooklyn, Carter was a school friend of The Notorious B.I.G.. He first started releasing records in the late 1980s. In 1990, he appeared on records by his close friend, Jaz ("The Originators") and Original Flavor ("Can I Get Open"), and later scored an underground hit single with 1995's "In My Lifetime". Drawing on Jaz's dealings with mercenary labels, Jay-Z set up his own Roc-A-Fella imprint in 1996 with entrepreneur 'Damon Dash' and 'Kareem 'Biggs' Burke'. His debut set, "Reasonable Doubt", which reached US number 23 in July, attracted fans with a mixture of hard-hitting street lyrics and rhymes, epitomized by the collaboration with The Notorious B.I.G. on "Brooklyn's Finest". The follow-up, "In My Lifetime, Vol. 1", was released in the aftermath of The Notorious B.I.G.'s murder, and debuted at US number 3 in November 1997. Featuring guest appearances from Sean Combs (aka "Puff Daddy"), Lil' Kim, Too $hort, Blackstreet and DJ Premier, this sombre and intensely personal album included the stand-out tracks, "You Must Love Me" and "Where I'm From". Although in demand as a guest artist, Jay-Z found the time to write, produce, and direct the semi-autobiographical short, "Streets is Watching". The gold-selling soundtrack introduced several of Roc-A-Fella's rising stars, including Memphis Bleek, Rell and Diamonds N' Ruff, and featured the hit single, "It's Alright". Jay-Z then became a major star with the hit singles, "Can I Get A ... " and "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)", the latter built around a line from the musical, "Annie". One of the more bizarre samples to be used on a hip-hop track, the single nevertheless became an international hit (UK number 2, December 1998/US number 15, March 1999). The album of the same name featured hotshot producer Tim Mosley (aka "Timbaland"), in addition to the usual team of Ski and DJ Premier. Guest rappers included DMX, Foxy Brown and Too $hort, on a package that diluted Jay-Z's hard-hitting lyrical edge in an attempt to corner the crossover market. "Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life" easily succeeded in its aim, staying at US number 1 for five weeks, before finally being deposed by Alanis Morissette's new album. Despite a hectic schedule as a guest producer/writer and rapper, Jay-Z still found the time to enter the studio and record tracks for his new album. Released in December 1999, "Vol. 3: The Life and Times Of S. Carter" confirmed his status as one of hip-hop's most popular artists when it topped the album charts the following month. The following year's "The Dynasty: Roc La Familia 2000", another US chart-topper, was originally planned as a supergroup collaboration with fellow Roc-A-Fella rappers Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek and Amil.  See full bio on IMDb »

LATEST STORIES
  
Beyonce and Jay Z Go Above and Beyond To Hide Her Baby Bump at Nobu (PHOTO + VIDEO)

Jay Z & Beyonce
Jumping Through Hoops To Hide Baby Bump

Jay Z and Beyonce have a carefully orchestrated escape plan to hide her baby bump whenever they're in public, and they rolled it out after dinner in Malibu. The couple slipped out of Nobu… READ MORE >

Lil Wayne Repeats His Roc Nation Allegiance, 'Jay's Helping Me Any Way He Can' (VIDEO)

Lil Wayne
I Swear, I'm Roc Nation Now ... Jay's Helping Me Out Any Way He Can

Lil Wayne is insisting he's with Jay Z's Roc Nation now, and no longer a part under Birdman's umbrella ... despite his unsettled legal war to flee Cash Money. Wayne sat down for an… READ MORE >

- 5 days ago
Rudy Gay Welcomes Lil Wayne To The Roc ... But Still Likes Jay Z More (VIDEO)

Rudy Gay
Welcome To The Squad, Lil Wayne ... But Jay's Still #1 Rapper At Roc Nation

Rudy Gay is taking Jay Z all the way in a lyrical battle of the Carters ... telling TMZ Sports even though Lil Wayne is part of the Roc Nation family now ... Hov is still the best lyricist… READ MORE >

- 11 days ago
Jason Derulo says Jay Z's Trayvon Martin Film Will Tug at the Heart Strings (VIDEO)

Jason Derulo
Jay Z's Trayvon Martin Film It'll Tug at the Heart Strings

Jason Derulo's already giving Jay Z mad props for his upcoming film on Trayvon Martin ... long before it hits the big screen. Jason was arriving at LAX Friday when we asked about the rapper's… READ MORE >

- 33 days ago
Jay Z Is So GOAT, He Sips Wine Wherever He Wants (PHOTO)

Jay Z
Life Is a Cabernet ... It's a GOAT Thing

If you're wondering why Jay Z can drink wine on the streets of NYC ... his shirt kinda says it all. Jay stepped out of his chauffeur driven ride Tuesday night -- glass of red in hand, pinky finger… READ MORE >

- 49 days ago
Beyonce, Jay Z and Solange Party Together in New Orleans (PHOTO GALLERY)

Bey, Jay & Solange
Family Party Time, the NOLA Way ... No Drama

Beyonce, Jay Z and Solange reunited in New Orleans -- Mardi Gras style -- and this time it was a family friendly affair. Jay and Bey were on Solange's home turf Sunday ... taking in a parade… READ MORE >

- 66 days ago
Jay Z Squashed Beef with Jim Jones Mob Style (VIDEO)

Jay Z
Squashed Jim Jones Beef Mob Style ... Music Collabo Next?

Jim Jones and Jay Z may have called a truce in their 13 year war -- now that Jim's signed with Roc Nation -- but they still haven't met face-to-face. We talked to Jim Wednesday about… READ MORE >

- 77 days ago
Jay Z and Jim Jones Squash Beef, Jones Signs with Roc Nation

Jay Z & Jim Jones
Epic Beef Is Over ... JJ Signs with the Roc!

Jay Z and Jim Jones just put together the hip-hop deal they said would never happen -- Jim's now part of Jay's Roc Nation empire, which officially squashes a nearly 13 year beef.… READ MORE >

- 78 days ago
Antonio Cromartie's Advice to Jay and Bey ... Have More Kids!! (VIDEO)

Jay Z & Beyonce
Advice From NFL'S Antonio Cromartie ... HAVE MORE KIDS!

Jay Z is about to get some daddy advice from a member of the reproductive Hall of Fame ... Antonio Cromartie, who says when it comes to kids, THE MORE THE MERRIER!  Cromartie… READ MORE >

- 82 days ago
Jay Z Hits the Studio After Beyonce's Pregnancy Announcement (VIDEO)

Jay Z
My Wife's Pregnant ... What Can I Say?

Jay Z was broing down Wednesday night after his wife told the world they were expecting twins. Jay was leaving United Recording studio in L.A. when our photog offered best wishes, but Beyonce's… READ MORE >

- 83 days ago