The Brooklyn born rapper stepped onto the hip-hop scene in 1989, when he joined rapper Jaz-O—an older performer who served as his mentor—to record a song called “The Originators.” The song won the pair an appearance on an episode of “Yo! MTV Raps.”
In 1996, HOV founded Roc-A-Fella Records with friends Damon Dash and Kareem Burke, and released his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, later that year. Since then, Jay has released a slew of No.1 singles including “Can I Get A …”, “Big Pimpin’”, “I Just Wanna Love U”, and “Izzo (H.O.V.A.).”
Jay took a hiatus from rap in 2003 when he claimed he was “Retiring because the game ain’t hot.” During this time he became the president of Def Jam Recordings and focused on his other acts, including Rihanna and Kanye West. He resigned from Def Jam four years later and worked on his music and other business ventures such as the expansion of his 40/40 Club, his Rocawear clothing line and the Nets basketball franchise, which he is part owner of.
He also found time to marry his girlfriend, Beyonce Knowles, in 2008. The couple had a baby girl named Blue Ivy in 2012. Jay is currently focusing on his family, business ventures and collaborative album Watch the Throne 2 with West. The sequel to ‘Watch The Throne’ is set to be released in 2013. —Anastasia Williams @AAAAAnastasia