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For over 25 years, Jay-Z has been a respected rapper in the game with countless hit albums to his name. He’s expanded his empire far beyond the world of music with other business ventures, and has earned the love of fans around the world — and the title of the richest person in hip-hop. When fans approach Jay to sign copies of his albums, the mega-star usually has no problem giving out autographs. But in December 2022, he turned down a fan who presented him with a vinyl record for him to sign.

Jay-Z, who has signed countless autographs over the years, posing for a photo wearing a blue sweater
Jay-Z | Al Pereira/Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

Jay-Z has been making music for over 25 years

Jay-Z emerged on the hip-hop scene in 1996 with his debut album Reasonable Doubt. Over the next several years, he released successful albums such as In My Lifetime, Vol. 1; Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life; Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter; and The Dynasty: Roc La Familia.

In 2001, Jay-Z released the seminal album The Blueprint, regarded by many to be one of the greatest rap albums of all time. He solidified his spot as one of the biggest rappers in the world at the time, and followed it up a year later with The Blueprint2: The Gift & the Curse.

Jay-Z announced that his following album, 2003’s The Black Album, would be his last. Though his retirement would only last three years, The Black Album became revered solely for the fact that it was intended to be his final project.

Jay-Z turned down giving an autograph for an unauthorized copy of ‘The Black Album’

Jay-Z continued to cement his legacy over the following decade, and in the years since the release of his 2017 album 4:44, Jay has largely focused on his legacy rather than new music. Still, fans love him just as much as ever.

In December 2022, The Hollywood Fix captured Jay-Z leaving his office in New York City and being greeted by a crowd of fans holding up vinyl record copies of his albums, such as The Blueprint, The Black Album, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, and more.

One fan held up what Jay-Z deemed to be a bootleg and unauthorized project titled The Black Album Revisited. Not wanting to endorse a bootleg copy, Jay-Z turned down autographing the album. “That one ain’t even real,” he said.


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Jay-Z’s recent projects

Jay-Z continued to release music through the late 2010s with his personal 2017 album 4:44 and 2018’s Everything Is Love, a collaborative project with his wife Beyoncé. Since then, he’s focused on other endeavors.

In 2020, Roc Nation launched a partnership with Long Island University in Brooklyn to create a new school, the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & Entertainment.

In 2021, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with fellow rapper LL Cool J; he also appeared on the song “Jail” on Kanye West’s 2021 album Donda, which went on to win Grammy Award for Best Rap Song. In 2022, the “Brooklyn’s Finest” rapper was awarded the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Special (Live) as a producer for the Super Bowl LVI halftime show.