I’m sure Kanye West is marching around his house, scoffing at this news. “Billionaire? Pfft, whatever. I’m a Kawiillionaire in Genius Bucks, but you don’t see me bragging about it.” But we’re not talking about Kanye, we’re talking about Jay-Z, who has been named by Forbes as hip-hop’s first billionaire.
About a year ago, Forbes released a list of the five richest artists in hip-hop, and sitting at the top of the pile was Jay-Z with $900 million (the runner-ups were Dr. Dre, Diddy, Drake and Eminem). According to Forbes, Jay is no longer a millionaire, and they have reported that his current net worth “conservatively” totals $1 billion. Conservatively? Why be so modest. If it’s $1,000,000,036.45, then say so! Be proud of that thirty-six dollars.
Not only is Jay-Z hip-hop’s first billionaire, he’s also one of only a handful of entertainers to reach billionaire status. But unlike some of Forbes’ high-profile “self-made” billionaires, Jay-Z really is self-made. He reached the $1 billion mark through a combination of his career as an entertainer, and smart investments. He started a clothing line (Rocawear, which he sold for $204 million), invested in a booze line (Armand de Brignac champagne and D’Ussé cognac), he got into buying art and real estate, he was once part owner of the Brooklyn Nets, and once held a stake in the Barclays Center (which he sold for $1.5 million). He sold part of Tidal, and has stakes in companies like Uber and JetSmarter. Forbes broke it down as follows, and here’s what Jay-Z reportedly makes from what:
$310 million – Armand de Brignac
$200 million – Cash and investments
$100 million – D’Ussé
$100 million – Tidal
$75 million – Roc Nation
$75 million – His music catalogue
$70 million – His art collection
$50 million – His real estate collection
Swizz Beats said to Forbes: “If he’s a billionaire now, imagine what he’s about to be. Because he’s only just starting.” How do I go about passing myself off as a long-lost Carter cousin. It’s me, All-Y, your cousin from Canada. Oh, did I mention I need some cash for a new kidney? What do you mean, which one? There’s more than one?
I just can’t believe that the biggest percentage of Jay-Z’s billionaire earnings comes from Armand de Brignac, aka Ace of Spades Champagne. Who is buying that much champagne? I bet a pretty large chunk comes from Jay-Z and Beyoncé themselves. Remember, that’s only his net worth. Beyoncé is reportedly worth about $355 million. I can imagine they need an expensive drink to calm their throat every time they look at their bank balance and scream.