Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), better known as his stage name, Jay-Z, is an American hip hop artist and businessman. He is the former CEO of Def Jam Recordings and Roc-A-Fella Records. He co-owns The 40/40 Club and the New Jersey Nets. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America, having sold over 26 million units in the United States and receiving several Grammy Awards for his musical work. Along with his financial and musical success, Jay-Z is known for being involved in many quarrels with other artist in the rap industry, the most well known being between him and fellow New York rapper Nas, which was eventually settled in 2005.
Jay-Z's debut album, Reasonable Doubt, is ranked by Rolling Stone as #248 on its "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". His critically acclaimed album, The Blueprint, was written in only two days. After announcing his retirement from recording music in 2003, he returned in late 2006 with the album Kingdom Come, which sold 680,000 copies in its first week, Jay-Z's highest-selling album in a one-week period. MTV named him number one on their list of the greatest MCs of all time. In April 2008, Jay-Z was reportedly on the verge of a partnership with Live Nation for $150 million—among the most expensive contracts ever awarded to a musician.
Carter married Beyoncé Knowles on April 4, 2008.