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How Jay Z’s entrepreneurial pursuits made him a billionaire

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Betty Allen
Betty Allen
I’m the Under 30 Editorial Community Lead at Restic Magazine. Previously, I directed marketing at a mobile app startup in New York. I’ve also worked at The New York Times and New York Observer. I attended the University of Pennsylvania where I studied English and creative writing.

Since the rapper mogul’s career took off in the early 1990s, his entrepreneurial vision has expanded exponentially. As a result, his growing wealth followed, making him hip hop’s first billionaire.

As his rap career developed, new opportunities presented themselves and Jay Z took them in stride, furthering his professional pursuits, foundings and partnerships.

From record companies to clothing labels to music streaming services, his pursuits know no bounds, just like his entrepreneurial spirit.

His first business pursuit was his founding of Roc-A-Fella Records.

Using the money from his signing a deal with Payday Records, he set up Roc-A-Fella with his former associate Damon Dash and Kareem Burke.

It started off in a small office space, and released Jay Z’s album Reasonable Doubt, to modest commercial success. It would go on to further release Kanye West’s first 6 albums, and every Jay Z album through to 2013.

In 1999, he founded Rocawear, which would have annual sales of $700 million during its peak in the early 2000s, later selling the company rights to Iconix Brand Group for $204 million in 2007.

In 2003, he opened the 40/40 Club, a high end sports bar which would become successful and expand into 5 new locations across the country, including Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Brooklyn and Atlanta International Airport.

He was the CEO and president of Def Jam Recordings, and using these skills he founded Roc Nation, an entertainment label which would initially sign Rihanna, then later on major names including Shakira, J. Cole, DJ Khaled, Big Sean and T.I.

Further on, he formed Roc Nation Sports in which he manages players such as Kevin Durant, Dez Bryant, Robinson Cano and Miguel Cotto.

Jay Z’s entrepreneurial spirit is contagious, and with so many different pursuits being successful, it’s easy to see how he became hip hop’s first billionaire.

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