10 Things You Didn’t Know About Jay Z
Shawn Carter, better known as Jay Z, is ranked as one of the most successful rappers in the world. He’s one of the best selling artists of all time with 100 million record sales to his name and a whopping 21 Grammy Awards under his belt. But that’s not all. He’s also an extremely successful investor and businessman who’s a co-owner of the New York 40/40 Club, the clothing line Rocawear and is the former president of Def Jam Recordings, co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records and founder of Roc Nation. On top of all this, he’s also a certified NBA and MLB sports agent. The fiercely private and humble rapper is married to fellow superstar Beyonce, making them one of the biggest powerhouse couples. Despite his widespread fame — not much is known about the rapper. Here’s a look at 10 things you probably didn’t know about Jay Z!
Born Shawn Corey Carter, Jay Z had a troubled childhood and his family struggled a lot growing up. He was raised by his mother, Gloria Carter, with his three siblings in Marcy Houses, a housing project in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. “We were living in a tough situation, but my mother managed; she juggled. Sometimes we’d pay the light bill, sometimes we paid the phone, sometimes the gas went off. We weren’t starving — we were eating, we were O.K. But it was things like you didn’t want to be embarrassed when you went to school; you didn’t want to have dirty sneakers or wear the same clothes over again,” he said.
Jay Z’s father, Adnes Reeves, walked out when he was 11-years-old. He moved in with his mother, 10 minutes away from his children, but never bothered to visit them, not even on their birthdays. Jay Z was left with a lot of anger and resentment towards his father growing up until they reconciled shortly before his death in 2003. Jay Z said his father offered him an explanation as to why he left. “When I was 9, my dad’s brother got stabbed, and my dad went looking for the guy who did it. People would call in the middle of the night and tell him, ‘So-and-so is out here.’ So my dad would get up, get his gun, and go outside to look for the guy. After a while, my mom was like, ‘Hey, this is your family now. You can’t do that.’ But this was my dad’s baby brother. And my dad was in so much pain that he started using drugs and became a different person.”