Jay-Z is first hip-hop billionaire

LOS ANGELES • The next time you take an Uber ride, you help drive up rapper Jay-Z's wealth. He has a stake in the ride-hailing company that is worth an estimated US$70 million (S$96 million).

But that investment is only one small part of his empire, said Forbes, which declared the 49-year-old as hip-hop's first billionaire on Monday.

The rapper, who grew up in one of Brooklyn's most notorious housing projects, "has accumulated a fortune that conservatively totals US$1 billion, making him one of only a handful of entertainers to become a billionaire - and the first hip-hop artist to do so", the magazine said in a new cover story.

The house that Jay-Z built includes stakes in Armand de Brignac champagne and D'Usse cognac - worth US$310 million and US$100 million respectively.

He also boasts a US$75-million music catalogue, US$75 million from entertainment company Roc Nation and US$100 million from streaming service Tidal.

Besides his penthouse in New York's posh Tribeca neighbourhood, Jay-Z and his superstar wife Beyonce, 37, own mansions in East Hampton, New York and Los Angeles' swank Bel Air district - real-estate holdings adding some US$50 million to the rapper's name.

In 2017, Forbes said music's first couple had officially amassed a joint billion-dollar worth.

It was widely assumed that hip-hop mogul Dr Dre had achieved billionaire status, especially after he anointed himself as such in 2014.

But according to Forbes' ranking last year, his personal wealth is closer to US$770 million, despite selling his company, Beats By Dre, to Apple for US$3 billion.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2019, with the headline 'Jay-Z is first hip-hop billionaire'. Print Edition | Subscribe