But just how did a former drug dealer become the first billionaire rapper? According to Forbes, Hov’s fortunes comes from a handful of ventures including art, real estate (homes in Los Angeles, the Hamptons, Tribeca) and stakes in companies like Uber.
To estimate JAY-Z’s net worth, the business magazine calculated the rapper’s stakes in companies like Armand de Brignac champagne ($310 million), his cash and investments worth an estimated $220 million, $100 million from his D’ Ussé cognac, a joint venture with beverage giant Barcadi, $100 million from Tidal, a streaming service company he purchased for $60 million back in 2015, $75 million from Roc Nation and another $75 million from his music catalog, $70 million in art collection and lastly, investments in real estate that total $50 million.
“It’s bigger than hip-hop … it’s the blueprint for our culture,” Swizz Beatz tells Forbes. “A guy that looks like us, sounds like us, loves us, made it to something that we always felt that was above us.”
“If he’s a billionaire now, imagine what he’s about to be,” he continued. “Because he’s only just starting.”
Dr. Dre was assumed to be rap’s first billionaire after selling his Beats headphone business to Apple for $1.1 billion in 2014. But last year Forbes put his personal wealth at about $770m. No thanks to Uncle Sam.