How Jay-Z’s Net Worth Made Him Hip-Hop’s First Billionaire

How much is Jay-Z worth today?

Though it’s commonly believed that Dr. Dre is hip-hop’s first billionaire, that title actually goes to Jay-Z.

The misconception about Dre’s billionaire status came shortly after the rapper-turned-music producer sold Beats by Dre to Apple. The tech giant snapped up the headphones in a 2014 deal that, at that time, was worth close to $3 billion.

But a subsequent investigation by Forbes refuted the claim — and it was ultimately revealed that while Dre certainly wasn’t on food stamps with an $800 million net worth, he didn’t quite hit billionaire status once all the debts were settled.

“Forbes still doesn’t agree with the assessment made in the wake of Apple’s $3 billion 2014 purchase of his Beats By Dr. Dre headphone line,” they wrote. “The superproducer owned an estimated 20%-25% of the company at the time; of the $2.6 billion Apple paid upfront in cash, another $295 million was earmarked to cover debt payments, leaving Dre with a little over $500 million.”

While Forbes was busy counting Dre’s coins, Jay-Z was making money moves of his own. He first started aiming for billionaire status shortly after he married Beyoncé in 2014. At the time, the couple’s combined net worth was $1 billion, though Jay-Z individually brought $600 million to the table. Again, nothing to sneeze at, but nowhere near the billion-dollar net worth mark.

The game changed completely in 2019.

How Much Is Jay-Z Worth Today?

According to Forbes, Jay-Z is worth $1.4 billion. He became hip-hop’s first billionaire in 2019 thanks to the sale of two very strategic businesses.

First, he sold a majority share of Tidal to ex-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (and, more specifically, to his company, Square) for $297 million. Then, he sold half of the company that manufactures the $300-per-bottle Armand de Brignac to LVMH. Freeing up this liquid cash turned Jay-Z into a billionaire, and it’s with this money that he founded Marcy Venture Partners.

Marcy Venture Partners’ last investment was in September 2021, when they invested in the Series A round for MERIT Beauty. In the past, they’ve invested in companies like Wyze, Savage X Fenty, and Misha’s Kind Beauty. According to Crunchbase, the fund has raised more than $97 million across two funds.

Hova has also invested in Black-owned businesses through Roc Nation, which has morphed from a record & entertainment label into a full-service sports management, entertainment management, and investment firm.

Hova By The Numbers

To get a better idea of what Jay-Z and his billion-dollar net worth looks like by the numbers, consider these stats, courtesy of Parade Magazine.

  1. When he actually tours, he makes close to $400 million per tour, and this is *JUST* from the touring — it factors no other numbers into it. This means that after all the expenses are met, Hova’s paycheck has an awful lot of zeros at the end of it all.
  2. His music catalogue is worth over $100 million, and that’s by a conservative estimate. Assuming nothing ever gets licensed out from that catalogue (and, really, how many times has “Empire State of Mind” been licensed out to sell everything from tourism to cream cheese?), it’s worth several hundred million.
  3. While he and Beyoncé are rumored to own billions of dollars in properties, their verifiable real estate portfolio is worth north of $100 million as well. To further break it down by the numbers: the couple’s most expensive piece of property is a $90 million compound in Bel Air, CA. At the time, the couple took out a mortgage worth more than $50 million just to bridge the gap between the cash they put down and the actual price of the compound. Every month, the couple writes a check for more than $250,000 to cover the mortgage just on that property. They also own a home in the Hamptons, NY, and a private island in the Bahamas (which they bought shortly after Blue Ivy was born — and paid a measly $360,000 for).
  4. On the years that Jay-Z does not tour, he brings home a yearly paycheck of $500 million every year thanks to his investments. And with investments in such companies as Sweetgreen, Oatly, and Perch Credit — plus a branch-out into the cannabis world (as evidenced by his investment in the Josephine & Billie’s cannabis speakeasy in Los Angeles), that number can only go up year-over-year.
  5. Jay-Z is also one of the few Black stars to have an equity stake in a sports team. “Jay-Z bought stakes in the then-New Jersey Nets in 2003, eventually bringing the team back to his hometown of Brooklyn. He also owned stakes in the Barclays Center, the arena where the team holds court. In 2013, to prevent a conflict of interest with his Roc Nation Sports agency venture, he sold all of his stakes in both the team and the arena, netting an estimated $1.5 million,” reports Parade.

So, the next time someone asks you if you want $500,000 or dinner with Jay-Z, we’re here to tell you to take the money. After all, it’s what Hova did — and that’s what made him a billionaire. In 2005 he laid down the now prophetic lyric, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” And to his undying credit, he lived up to every word of that lyric.