Shawn Corey Carter is the real name of hip-hop superstar Jay-Z. It is debatable whether or not there is a more recognizable name in the history of hip-hop. Tupac may have been the most purely talented artist, Notorious B.I.G. may have set the rap world in a new direction, and Dr. Dre may have been the driving force behind the success of today’s best and brightest stars, but if based on success and cultural relevance, it is tough to make the case that any of those gentlemen could are at the same level with Jay-Z.
Part of what has Jay-Z such a successful artist is that he actually saw it fit to venture well beyond the rap game. He understood what rapping could do for his stardom, but he also knew that there were so many other ways for him to branch out into society. In pursuit of becoming a truly culturally relevant icon, Jay-Z began reaching into the fashion world where his brand Rocawear has turned into one of the most famous in hip-hop apparel. He has also been a very prominent figure in sports not just as an idol to many of the athletic world’s biggest stars, but also as a veritable force within the NBA. Jay-Z bought into the now Brooklyn Nets ownership group and he even helped influence the team’s move to its new arena back in 2012. He was even involved in the production and development of a popular basketball video game that has garnered critical acclaim from the gaming community. Despite the fact that he has truly transcended being just a rapper, Jay-Z still remains firmly in touch with what made him a household name in the first place.
Carter has undergone an evolution of sorts as an artist. Jay-Z got his rapping career off to a great start with his offering, “Reasonable Doubt”. The album gave him legitimacy as an artist, and it even managed to place in the Billboard 200 back when it was released. Jay-Z’s album, “Vol.2…Hard Knock Life”, contained some of the biggest hits of his career. The album featured songs like, “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)”, “Can I Get A…”, and several other notable hits. The success of the album helped turn him into a bigger star in the rap world. Since his brief pseudo retirement back in 2003, Jay-Z has proceeded to drastically alter the way hip-hop is being experienced in the mainstream. His collaborative efforts no longer included just him and another rapper; they began to include him and artists from other genres of music as well. Jay-Z truly reinvented the way rappers collaborated and it sent him even further out into superstardom.
Jay-Z has not slowed down one bit as he still continues to perform at various venues all over the world. It is a testament to the hard work that he has put in that he now stands as arguably the most influential rapper in history and he does not seem like he wants to stop anytime soon.
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