1) Shawn Corey Carter or more commonly known as Jay-Z was born on 4 December 1969.
He was the youngest of four siblings and was therefore the favorite one of his mother.
At the age of 11, his father left the family and Gloria Carter was left alone with the burden of raising four children.
2) He grew up in the drug-infested area of Brooklyn which is known as the Marcy Projects; his early life and schooling period is filled with drugs and violence including the use of guns etc.
He has mentioned his rough childhood in a number of his rap songs, blaming his inner demons for it.
3) In the high school, he was class fellows and friends with B.I.G, the notorious rap legend who was martyred later on.
His childhood memories have a lot of scars and hardships including negative emotions for his father for abandoning the family, which are prominent in his rapping.
4) Jay-Z became interested in rapping at a very young age; in 1989, he worked with an old rapper Jaz-O to record a song called The Originator.
Jaz-O acted as his mentor throughout his career and was one of those few people that Jay-Z took advice from throughout his career beginning.
5) The first song by Carter and Jaz-O was so good that it earned them a place in Yo! MTV Raps; it was at this time that Carter decided to change his name to Jazzy to pay homage to his mentor.
It was also a reference to a subway station J/Z near his home in Brooklyn, which goes to show that Shawn Corey Carter likes sticking to his roots.
6) Despite getting a place in the MTV show, Jazzy remained pretty anonymous in the music industry.
He then decided to get together with two of his friends, Kareem Burke and Damon Dash to open up their own record label by the name of Roc-A-Fella Records in early 1996.
The same year Jazzy released his debut album by the name of Reasonable Doubt.
7) Probably because he was still emerging in the music industry, the album did not make it able number 23 in the billboard charts initially.
However, as Jay-Z got fame and became known in the circuit, the album was revisited by a number of Jay-Z fans and was appreciated later on.
8) The album had classic hip-hop songs like Can’t Hustle A Knock and Brooklyn Finest which was sung in collaboration with the Notorious B.I.G.
Apart from this, it also featured Mary J. Blige which was enough to establish Jay-Z as a promising and innovative singer/rapper.
9) Almost two years after the release of the first album, Jay-Z released his second album by the name of Hard Rock Life, which became an instant hit and opened ways to a successful career for him.
The title track of the album was based on the chorus of the famous Broadway musical Annie and it is still considered as the best song of Jay-Z so far.
The same song also won him a Grammy award.
10) After his successful album, he released a number of hit singles but a major shock to his fans came in 2003 when Jay Z released his album named The Black Album.
Upon release, he announced that this was going to be his last solo album.
11) When asked about his sudden withdrawal from the singing industry, he stated that he used to gain inspiration through competition but lately “the game ain’t hot” i.e. he has gotten bored to producing music without any competition.
12) While announcing retirement from the singing side of the music, Jay Z became active on the business side of the music industry.
He became president of the Def Jam Recordings and introduced a number of new singers including Rihanna, Ne Yo and the young Jazzy.
Not only this, he also played a major role in turning Kanye West from a producer to an award-winning artist.
13) However, he eventually faced a lot of resistance about making changes in the business model of Def Jam Recordings because of which he decided to resign as the president in 2007.
14) In 2006, Jay Z took back his retirement from rapping and released a new album called Kingdom Come.
Following this, two new albums were released; American Gangster in 2007 and Blueprint 3 in 2010.
All three albums were a great hit, showing that Jay-Z was still needed in the industry.
15) All the albums that he produced after taking back his retirement were based on real life events like the Hurricane Katrina, Elections of 2008 and the general stories of fame and fortune.
16) He is currently operating two business ventures; Roca-A-Fella films and a modern cloth line called Roca Wear.
In addition, he also owns a sports bar called 40/40 club in New York and Atlantic City and is also a partner of the New Jersey basketball franchise.
17) His net worth is said to be more than150 million dollars according to the statistics of 2010
18) In an interview, Jay Z stated that he wants his music to influence the people of his age to stand up and make a change in their lives.
For this reason, he has started mentioning wars, disasters and other human suffering in his rap songs.
He also wants to inspire more people to come in the music especially rapping industry.
19) In 2008, he signed a concert contract with the Live Nation company which earned him around 150 million dollars.
He has recently started working in collaboration with Kayne West to produce a new album Watch the Throne.
20) Jay Z is very protective about his personal life; he married Beyoncé in 2004 in the presence of just 40 people, keeping all media away from their special event.
Their first child (a daughter) was born in January 2012; to keep his privacy, he rented the entire hospital before the birth and installed extra guards on the hospital doors to ensure no media people were allowed in.