A Huge Chunk of Jay-Z’s $1.3 Billion Fortune Has Nothing to Do With Music

Jay-Z started his music career as Shawn Corey Carter in the ’80s. He rapped to escape the poverty around him. Carter met his mentor Jaz-O and joined the older man in recording “The Originators.” The duo’s song earned them an appearance in Yo! MTV Raps.

This was the moment when Carter took up the name Jay-Z, paying homage to his mentor. The moniker punned on his childhood hood name, Jazzy. It also referred to the subway station near his home known as J/Z. Little did Jay-Z know it would become a household name.

In 1996, Jay-Z released his first album, Reasonable Doubt, when he and his friends founded a record label, Roc-A-Fella Records. The record reached No. 23 on the Billboard 200 and established Jay-Z as a rising star. The rest, as they say, is history.

Jay-Z’s fortune outside of music

Swizz Beatz, Jay Z, and 'OG' Juan Perez pose for photos at a D'USSE Cognac event in 2012
(L-R) Swizz Beatz, Jay Z, and Juan Perez at a 2012 D’USSE Cognac event | Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Most people don’t know Jay-Z’s massive fortune has little to do with music. According to Forbes, the rapper has made most of his wealth from the alcohol industry. He is a brilliant businessman who’s had nothing but the Midas touch in business.  

Jay-Z co-owns Armand de Brignac, a champagne company with Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton (LVMH). According to Forbes, Armand de Brignac is worth $310 million. In 2021, Jay-Z announced he would sell half of his champagne company, Ace of Spades, to LVMH. Forbes estimated that the gold-bottled champagne value stood at $640 million.

Another brilliant venture for Jay-Z is D’Usse Cognac, which he co-owns with Bacardi. D’Usse is worth over $100 million; it sells for $30 a bottle. In 2021, Sotheby’s had an exceptional 50 rare bottles of the brand. One of these rarities included a crystal, diamond-shaped decanter. The 50 bottles auctioned for approximately $24,000 to $75,000 per bottle.

The former rapper also owns stakes in Uber worth $70 million and $100 million in Tidal, a Scandinavian streaming service, according to Gem Tracks. The musician–turned–businessman has shares in Sweetgreen, a salad chain, and an insurance company, Ethos.

Jay-Z owns the master recordings and publishing rights to his music, worth approximately $95 million. The man owns several $50 million mansions and a massive art collection worth $70 million as of 2019. Roc Nation is Jay-Z’s entertainment company he started over 10 years ago with Live Nation. The company represents top stars via its sports agency and record label.

Hollywood’s A-list billionaires

On the Forbes‘ World’s Billionaire List, 2,668 billionaires made it. Only eight from Hollywood made it to this list.

1. Steven Spielberg

The Shindler’s List film director has amassed a fortune of $3.7 billion. This wealth is from producing major blockbusters like Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and Saving Private Ryan. He also earned most of his fortune via project fees.

2. Oprah Winfrey

The talk show host was named the first black female billionaire in 2003. Her net worth is $2.6 billion. Oprah made most of her money from her ownership of the talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show. She’s also made over $427 million from her share in the weight loss company, Weight Watchers International.

3. Kanye West

Despite his many controversies, Kanye West has won 24 Grammies and sold more than 160 million records. West is famous for his fashion wear, including the much-loved label Yeezy. According to Forbes, West made most of his money from Yeezy, which has earned him $1.5 billion. Kanye West’s net worth is currently at $2 billion.

4. Kim Kardashian

The reality TV star’s net worth is $1.8 billion. Kardashian made her wealth by selling her 20% stake in KKW to Coty for $200 million.

5. Rihanna

Musician and cosmetics tycoon has a net worth of $1.7 billion. Most of her wealth is from Fenty Beauty. Her 50% stake in the company is worth $1.4 billion.

6. Peter Jackson 

Peter Jackson, a film director, has a net worth of $1.5 billion. He’s made his fortune from the sale of part of Weta Digital, a visual effects company. Jackson sold the firm to Unity Software for $1.6 billion. He and his partner own 60% of the company.

7. Jay-Z

The rapper/producer has a net worth of $1.3 billion.

8. Tyler Perry

Actor and film director Tyler Perry’s net worth is $1 billion. He made most of his wealth from owning the rights to the Madea franchises. Perry also has a 25% stake in BET+.

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