Entertainment Music JAY-Z Is the First Hip-Hop Artist to Become a Billionaire: Inside His Fortune According to Forbes, the rapper has amassed a billion-dollar fortune with his investments across liquor, art, real estate and companies like Uber By Brianne Tracy Brianne Tracy Instagram Twitter Brianne Tracy is a staff writer on the PEOPLE music team. She has been with the brand since starting as an intern nearly six years ago, covering all things entertainment across print and digital platforms. She earned her Bachelors in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Southern California and has been seen on Good Morning America. People Editorial Guidelines Published on December 4, 2019 01:00 PM Share Tweet Pin Email When JAY-Z rapped “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man” on Kanye West’s 2005 track “Diamonds From Sierra Leone,” he really meant it. According to a new report released by Forbes on Monday, the rapper turned mogul has become the first hip-hop artist to amass a billion-dollar fortune with his impressive investments across liquor, art, real estate and companies like Uber. Before becoming a musician, JAY-Z, 49, was a drug dealer in his hometown of Brooklyn. In 1996, he started his own label, Roc-A-Fella Records, to release his debut album, Reasonable Doubt. Since then, he has earned 14 No. 1 albums, 22 Grammy wins and a reported $500 million in pretax earnings, according to the outlet. In order to calculate JAY-Z’s net worth, Forbes says they first looked at his stakes in companies like Armand de Brignac champagne (which he owns 100% of) and applied their customary discount to private firms. They then added up his income and subtracted “a healthy amount to account for a superstar lifestyle.” Additionally, they say they ran the numbers with a roster of outside experts to ensure that the estimates were “fair and conservative.” Since its launch in 2006 in JAY-Z’s music video for “Show Me What You Got,” Armand de Brignac is estimated by Forbes to now be worth $310 million. JAY-Z’s cognac D’Ussé, which is a joint venture with Bacardi, is estimated to be worth $100 million. JAY-Z. Earl Gibson III/Getty JAY-Z is also estimated to have $220 million in cash and investments, including a stake in ride-share service Uber which is estimated to be worth $70 million itself. JAY-Z’s music-streaming service Tidal — which launched in 2015 with a number of celebrity investors including his wife, Beyoncé, Kanye West and Calvin Harris — is estimated to be worth $100 million. Beyoncé and JAY-Z Celebrate 11-Year Wedding Anniversary with ‘Romantic’ Trip to Mexico — Sans Kids! Roc Nation, which JAY-Z started over a decade ago as a joint venture with Live Nation and counts Rihanna and J. Cole among its roster of talent, is estimated to be worth $75 million. Additionally, JAY-Z’s own music catalog is estimated to be worth $75 million. For over a decade, JAY-Z has been scooping up masterpieces like artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Mecca,” which he purchased in 2013 for a reported $4.5 million. Forbes now estimates JAY-Z’s art collection to be worth $70 million. JAY-Z’s portfolio also includes an estimated $50 million in real estate. After welcoming their twins — Rumi and Sir — in June 2017, JAY-Z and Beyoncé bought a $26 million East Hampton mansion and an $88 million Bel Air estate. JAY-Z also owns a penthouse in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood, which he reportedly bought for $6.85 million in 2004.