Warren Buffett once called Jay-Z ‘the guy to learn from’. Now the rapper is worth $2.5 billion—here’s how he made his money

Jay-Z attends the Los Angeles Premiere of "The Harder They Fall" at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on October 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Jay-Z, pictured in 2021, has a net worth of $2.5 billion, according to Forbes.

Jay-Z’s wealth is going from strength to strength as his fortune continues to get a boost from his vast business empire.

According to the latest estimate from Forbes, Jay-Z now has a net worth of $2.5 billion.

The Brooklyn-born rapper, né Shawn Carter, was named the world’s first billionaire rapper by Forbes in 2019.

Since then, his fortune has continued to grow thanks to a string of smart investments and business ventures—which Forbes describes as “a sprawling and diversified empire.”

His vast wealth makes him the 1,205th richest person in the world, based on the publication’s Real-Time Billionaires ranking.

How did Jay-Z become so rich?

Jay-Z grew up in a housing project in Brooklyn, and sold drugs as a teen before he started selling CDs of his own music out of his car.

He went on to launch a stellar music career, which has seen him sell tens of millions of albums, win 24 Grammy awards, and rake in more than $250 million from his joint world tour with wife Beyoncé in 2018.

However, much of the hip-hop star’s wealth has been accumulated from endeavors outside of his rap career.

In 2021, Jay-Z’s streaming service Tidal was sold to Jack Dorsey’s Square for a reported $297 million. The rapper bought Tidal six years earlier for $56 million.

He also cashed in on another business venture, Rocawear clothing, which was launched with business partner Damon Dash in 1999. Eight years after establishing the brand, it was sold to Iconix Brand Group for a reported $204 million in a deal that allowed Jay-Z to maintain creative control.

The growth of Jay-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation, which was founded in 2008, has also helped boost his fortune.

Numerous investments in companies including Uber, as well as a portfolio of investment properties and stakes in Armand de Brignac Champagne and D’Ussé cognac have also contributed to Jay-Z’s billionaire status.

In a 2010 sit-down Forbes interview with investing legend Warren Buffett, Jay-Z said he had used “discipline” to forge a path to success.

“Music is like stocks,” he said. “There’s the hot thing of the moment. People tend to make emotional decisions based on that. They don’t stick with what they know, you know, ‘This is who I am. This is what I do.’ They jump on this next hot thing. And it’s not for you.”

Buffett, who is the sixth wealthiest person on earth, according to Forbes, described Jay-Z at the time as an inspiration to many.

“For a young person growing up he’s the guy to learn from,” Buffett said.

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