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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.

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LATEST STORIES
  
Jay Z & Solange -- Elevator Fight Was Both Our Faults ... 'Families Have Problems'

Jay Z & Solange
Elevator Fight Was Both Our Faults 'Families Have Problems'

Jay Z and Solange are finally addressing the infamous elevator fight video ... saying BOTH sides are to blame for the violence that unfolded. Jay Z, Solange, and Beyonce released the joint… READ MORE >

Solange -- Beyonce Makes a Comeback on Her Instagram Page

Solange
Beyonce Makes a Comeback on Her Instagram Page

Days after purging all Beyonce photos from her Instagram page (except for one), Solange posted a childhood photo of the two as part of Throwback Thursday.Beyonce started the Instagram… READ MORE >

- 72 days ago
Kanye West to Jay Z:  Hurry Up with My Prenup!

Kanye to Jay Z
Hurry Up with My Prenup!

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian can't get married just yet ... and the reason is all about Jay Z.Sources connected with the soon-to-be husband and wife tell TMZ ... they won't get married until the… READ MORE >

- 72 days ago
Jay Z and Solange -- Jewelry Shopping TOGETHER

Jay Z and Solange
Jewelry Shopping TOGETHER

7:10 AM PT -- Solange's rep says she wasn't in NYC. However, we were told by Mr. Flawless himself that he personally waited on Jay Z and Solange ... and was specific as to how long they were… READ MORE >

- 73 days ago
Beyonce -- Team Solange

Beyonce
Team Solange

If a picture says a thousand words, what do four pictures say?In the first "response" of any kind since the blowout fight between Solange and Jay Z, Beyonce posted four photos of her with her… READ MORE >

- 73 days ago
Jay Z -- LAPD Kills Extortion Investigation Over $20 Million Master Recordings

Jay Z
LAPD Kills Extortion Investigation Over $20 Mil Masters

Solange isn't the only person Jay Z's tired of fighting -- outside court anyway -- TMZ has learned, the rapper's camp is no longer pursuing criminal extortion charges over $20 million worth of Jay… READ MORE >

- 73 days ago
Jay Z and Solange Fight -- Solange 'Explanation' Tweet Is Fake!

Jay Z/Solange Fight
Solange 'Explanation' Tweet Is Fake!

The Internet thinks it has solved the mystery of the Solange Knowles/Jay Z elevator fight, but TMZ has learned the tweet is a fraud.Shortly after TMZ posted the insane video of Solange losing… READ MORE >

- 74 days ago
'The Talk' Ladies -- Jay Z/Solange Fight Fans!

'The Talk' Ladies
Jay Z/Solange Fight Fans!

The women of "The Talk" are just like everyone else ... they could not stop talking about TMZ's video of Solange attacking Jay Z ... and Sharon Osbourne finds the fight awesome and comforting.Our… READ MORE >

- 74 days ago
Jay Z & Beyonce -- UNITED FRONT ... at Brooklyn Nets Game

Jay Z & Beyonce
UNITED FRONT At Brooklyn Nets Game

Jay Z and Beyonce are sitting courtside TOGETHER at the Brooklyn Nets playoff game in NYC tonight ... clearly sending a message they're still on the same team after the big elevator fight with B's… READ MORE >

- 74 days ago
Ken Shamrock -- Jay Z's Bodyguard Sucks ... He Failed In the Elevator

Ken Shamrock
Jay Z's Bodyguard Sucks He Failed In the Elevator

Beyonce's sister should never have ever come CLOSE to attacking Jay Z in that hotel elevator ... because the bodyguard could have prevented the attack ... so says a guy who would know, Ken… READ MORE >

- 74 days ago

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