Jay-Z

Jay-Z Headshot

Rapper • Entrepreneur • Songwriter • Record Producer • Businessman

Birth Name: Shawn Corey Carter

Birth Date: December 4, 1969

Age: 54 years old

Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York

Spouses: Beyoncé Knowles

Children: Blue Ivy Carter

One of the most respected and influential musical artists of any genre, Jay-Z set the gold standard in rap music with his thought-provoking lyrics, powerful freestyle delivery, and entrepreneurial swagger. The rapper's 1996 debut album, Reasonable Doubt was considered an undisputed classic by music fans and critics. Throughout his career, Jay-Z released more No. 1 albums than Elvis Presley, discovered hit-making artists and producers, and built a one-man empire that included successful ventures in business, fashion and sports. If that were not enough, he also married pop princess Beyoncé Knowles.

After a two-year retirement from making music, Jay-Z returned with even more ambitious albums and collaborations that earned him a reputation as rap's elder statesman. In 2009, Jay-Z released "Empire State of Mind," a chart-topping song that celebrated his home state of New York, while also crowning the prolific and omnipresent rapper as his generation's hip-hop Frank Sinatra. Although Jay-Z later presented himself more as an entrepreneurial businessman than a hit recording artist, later albums such as Watch the Throne, a collaboration with Kanye West, and Magna Carta...Holy Grail were treated as major musical events.

Born Shawn Corey Carter on Dec. 4, 1969, the future star was raised in the Marcy Projects of Brooklyn, NY. Abandoned by his father by the time he was 12, Jay-Z transferred to different neighborhood schools, including George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School, where he met fellow future hit-makers The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes. He did not finish high school; instead dealt crack cocaine in the streets. Thankfully, his mother purchased a boom box for one of her wayward son's birthdays, setting off his possibly life-saving passion for music.

The young man who was nicknamed "Jazzy" by his friends began writing lyrics and freestyle rapping in his neighborhood. In the early 1990s, he competed in local rap battles, sometimes with another future superstar LL Cool J, and recorded guest vocals on Jaz-O and Big Daddy Kane's albums. Jay-Z released his first official single and music video in 1994 titled "I Can't Get Wit That." He then created Roc-a-Fella Records along with friends Damon Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke, a risky yet inspired move for an up-and-coming artist.

Jay-Z released his debut album, Reasonable Doubt in 1996, which barely missed the Top 20 on the Billboard 200 chart. However, the single "Ain't No Nigga," featuring female rapper Foxy Brown, received heavy airplay in his hip-hop loving hometown. Reasonable Doubt yielded several more successful singles, including "Dead Presidents" and the Mary J. Blige duet "Can't Knock the Hustle." A year later, Jay-Z released the follow-up, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. The rapper avoided the sophomore curse by watching it sell more copies than its freshman predecessor. The album featured collaborations with hit-making producers Puff Daddy and Teddy Riley, and prepped the once-underground rapper to test more mainstream waters.

He finally became a household name, crossing over to pop radio with the LP Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life (1998) along with the help of the catchy hooks and samples in the singles "Can I Get A " and "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)." In 1999, Vol. 2 earned the rapper his first Grammy for Best Rap Album.

Having proven his success as a recording artist, Jay-Z used his ever-increasing influence in the music industry by working with undiscovered yet talented producers the Neptunes and Kanye West on the album Vol. 3: Life and Times of S. Carter (1999). The Neptunes launched the career of Pharrell Williams shortly after, while West went on to become one of the most successful and provocative rappers in history. West was also a prominent producer on Jay-Z's sixth studio album, The Blueprint, which was unfortunately released on Sept. 11, 2001.

Even though its release coincided with the tragic terrorist attacks, The Blueprint went on to sell over three million copies and was considered an instant classic by music critics. However, not everyone was a Jay-Z fan, including fellow rapper Nas who had an ongoing feud with him. Both artists released "diss tracks," which referenced their mutual loathing. His 2002 single "03 Bonnie & Clyde" featured vocals from R&B/pop singer Beyoncé Knowles, whom Jay-Z began dating around the same time. They frequently collaborated on her records, including the hits "Crazy in Love" (2003) and "Déjà Vu" (2006).

However like many famous duos, the couple kept their personal relationship far away from the media spotlight in order to focus on their individual and collective bodies of work. On April 4, 2008, Jay-Z and Beyoncé finally tied the knot in New York City and instantly became the music world's hottest power couple, officially.

In 2003, following the release of The Black Album, Jay-Z made one of his more shocking moves when he announced that he would no longer record another album. His retirement allowed the rapper to assume the role of president at Def Jam Records, which was struggling at the time and needed someone as visionary as Jay-Z to get it back on track. His new position made Jay-Z one of very few African-American executives at a major record label. Among the artists he discovered as Def Jam president was a Barbados-born singer named Rihanna, who went on to top the charts with the singles "Umbrella" (2007) and "Disturbia" (2008).

Jay-Z also established himself as an entrepreneur, creating along with longtime friend Damon Dash, the fashion line Rocawear; opened the upscale 40/40 Club in New York; and became part owner of professional basketball team the New Jersey Nets. He also made lucrative investments in real estate, cosmetics, fine art and musical theater. Forbes magazine honored Jay-Z's entrepreneurial accomplishments by placing him on the cover of its September 2010 "Forbes 400 Summit" issue next to billionaire Warren Buffett.

In 2005, Jay-Z came out of retirement with a headlining performance in New York radio station Power 105.1's annual Powerhouse concert. The rapper also ended his longtime feud when Nas surprised the audience and joined him onstage for a mash-up performance of Jay-Z's "Dead Presidents" and Nas' "The World is Yours" (1994). His comeback album Kingdom Come was released in 2006, featuring collaborations with West and Coldplay vocalist Chris Martin. Jay-Z became the first hip-hop artist to headline the 2008 Glastonbury Festival in England, the largest open-air music and arts festival of its kind.

Because it was prominently known as a rock festival, the announcement of a rapper as headliner incited criticism and slow ticket sales. Noel Gallagher from the Brit-pop band Oasis even commented it was wrong to have hip-hop at Glastonbury. Tickets to the festival eventually sold out, while Jay-Z delivered a groundbreaking performance that proved rap music deserved a place at Glastonbury, opening his set with a cover of Oasis' 1995 landmark hit, "Wonderwall."

In 2009, Jay-Z surpassed Elvis Presley's record when he released The Blueprint 3 - his 11th album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The third single released, "Empire State of Mind," was Jay-Z's poignant ode to New York City and featured a catchy, operatic chorus sung by Alicia Keys. The track peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks, while critics compared its impact to Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" (1980) and Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" (1976).

In 2010, Jay-Z released his first book, Decoded, a narrative of the rapper's most famous lyrics as well as an in-depth look at his illustrious career. He also found time to co-headline along with Motown rapper Eminem - the only artist to challenge him in their respective fields - a massive stadium concert in both Eminem's Detroit and Jay-Z's NYC. It was a phenomenal success and a positive message of brotherhood to send to the sometimes less than harmonious rap music industry and its players.

A second collaboration, this time with artist and producer Kanye West, resulted in the mega-selling album Watch the Throne (2011), which received generally positive reviews despite some critical grousing that it seemed like neither participant was bringing his A game to the project. Two days after the birth of his first child, Blue Ivy Carter, on January 7, 2012, Jay-Z released a stand-alone single, "Glory," that sampled his newborn daughter's cries. While simultaneously pursuing a new career as a sports agent (whose high-profile clients included baseball player Robinson Cano), Jay-Z released his twelfth solo album, Magna Carta...Holy Grail, on July 4, 2013.

Credits

Piece by Piece

Voice
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2024

JAY-Z and Gayle King: Brooklyn's Own

Self
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2023

Exposing ParchmanStream

Actor
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2023

In Love: Beyonce v Jay Z

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2023

Couple Goals: Beyonce & Jay Z

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2023

The 65th Annual Grammy Awards

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2023

The Book of ClarenceStream

Producer
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2023
67%

The Murder Inc Story

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2022

Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye TrilogyStream

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2022
82%

Women of the MovementStream

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2022
91%

Let the World See

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2022

Vibe: 2000's Rap Hits

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2022

Top 10 Hits Turning 20

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2022

TAPE

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2022

CBS Mornings

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2021

Drake Feat. JAY-Z: Love All

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2021

Beyonce & Jay-Z: Power Love

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2021

DMX feat. JAY-Z & Nas: Bath Salts

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2021

DJ Khaled feat. Nas, JAY-Z & James Fauntleroy: SORRY NOT SORRY

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2021

Guest VJs: Avenue Beat

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2021

Rap Dads

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2021

HHRB Collabs: Then

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Halloween HHRB

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HBCU Band Brawl

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Thankful4HipHop

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LL Cool J & Jay Z

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American Music Awards: The Legends

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2021

Hip Hop Motivation

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2021

Hits!: Top 00s Love Songs

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2021

Essentials: Jay-Z

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2021

Perfect Together: Greatest Duets

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2021

The Harder They FallStream

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2021
88%

Pharrell Williams feat. JAY-Z: Entrepreneur

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2020

Isle of Wight Festival Greatest Hits

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Vibe: R&B Valentine

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2020

We Stand Together

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Vibe: A 90's Summer

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Top 10 Beyoncé Collaborations

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Vibe: Old School Back to School

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2020

Retro Halloween

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Y2K NYE

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Free Meek

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2019

Rick Ross: Maybach Music VI

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Homecoming: A Film by BeyoncéStream

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2019
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The Shop: Uninterrupted

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2019

Best Nina Simone

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00s CultureIcons

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20yrs of Hip-Hop

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Record Breakers

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So Icy Women

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March Madness

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All-Star 2K19

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Best of '00s R&B

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R&B Legends

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Wrtten By The Dream

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Woodstock HipHop

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The Blueprint

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Pharrell Hits

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Legendary Duets

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Can You Dig It

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Icons of Hip-Hop

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Icons of R&B

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Hip-Hop's Homage to Funk, Jazz & Soul

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Motivate ME!

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Rappers Delight

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The Blueprint 3

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Hip-Hop 2k

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Women In R&B

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Essentials: Rihanna

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New Year New U

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Perfect Together: 10 Best Pop Duets

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Vibe: R&B Essentials

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A Decade of Hits: Vol.II

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Vibe: Hip-Hop Spring Break

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Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story

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Chatter

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Official: Best 00s R'n'B Collabs

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Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G

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My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David LettermanStream

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2018

Jay-Z

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2018

Best of Jay-Z

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Top Producers

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Chester B Bday

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Flyest Fashion

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Spring Is Here!

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Spring Showers

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Play Hits - Rap and Black

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Best of Rihanna

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BBMA Top Rap

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BBMA 2018 Winners

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Straight Outta NY

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Black Music Idols

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Legends of HipHop

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Top Hip Hop

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'00s Summer Hits

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Rap Dads

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Summer Throwbacks

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The Carters Feat. Beyoncé, Jay-Z: APE...

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Best Rihanna

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BEST Swizz-BEATS

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Hip Hop Class of 00'

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Top Videos

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MC Max Mix

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Rappers Delight

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Black Music Month: Hip-Hop's Indelible Contribution

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Top Winners

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Best of Bey & Jay

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Hip Hop Majors

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Perfect Together: 10 Best Pop Duets

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Thankful4HipHop

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Best of HipHop '18

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Best of Jay-Z

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Best of RocNation

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Best Music Video

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Grammy Gold

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2018

JAY-Z: Family Feud in the Live Lounge

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2017

Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G.

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2017

Jay-Z: The 4:44 Footnotes

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2017

TIME: The Kalief Browder Story

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2017

TIME: The Kalief Browder Story

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2017

2 Chainz Mix

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2017

Jay-Z: The Story of O.J.

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2017

Jay-Z: 4:44

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2017

Jay-Z Feat. Damian Marley: Bam

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2017

Jay-Z: Kill Jay-Z

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2017

Jay-Z Feat. Damian Marley: Bam (Short Film)

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Jay-Z: Adnis

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Jay-Z: Moonlight

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2017

Jay-Z Feat. James Blake: MaNyfaCedGod

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2017

Hit List: October 2017

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2017

Jay-Z: Marcy Me

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2017

Jay-Z Feat. Gloria Carter: Smile

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2017

Jay-Z: Legacy

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2017

Jay-Z Feat. Beyonce: Family Feud

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2017

Jay-Z: Blue's Freestyle

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2017

I Am Jay-Z

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2016

J. Cole Forest Hills Drive: Homecoming

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2016

Pharrell Feat. Jay Z: Frontin'

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2016

DJ Khaled Feat. Jay-Z & Future: I Got the Keys

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2016

Pharrell Williams Feat. Jay Z: Frontin

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2016

Hip Hop: Superhits

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2016

DJ Khaled Feat. Jay-Z, Meek Mill, & Rick Ross: They Don't Love You No More

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2015

Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives

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2015

On the Run Tour: Beyoncé and Jay Z

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2014

Glastonbury

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2014

Money Power Respect

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2014

Soulpower

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2014

Beyoncé Feat. Jay-Z: Drunk In Love

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2014

Beyoncé Part. Jay-Z: Upgrade U

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2014

Jay-Z Feat. Beyoncé: Part II (On the Run) (Trailer)

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2014

Jay-Z Feat. Beyonce: Run (Trailer)

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2014

AnnieStream

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2014
29%

Rick Ross feat. JAY-Z: The Devil Is A Lie

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2013

Radio 1 Live Lounge

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2013

Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film

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2013

The Women's Concert for Change: Live From London

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2013

Justin Timberlake Part. Jay Z: Suit & Tie

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2013

Beyonce: Baby and Beyond

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2013

Jay-Z Feat. Justin Timberlake: Holy Grail

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2013

Beyonce Feat. Jay-Z: Drunk in Love

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2013

Jay-Z: Encore

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2013

Jay-Z: Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film

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2013

Justin Timberlake Feat. Jay-Z: Suit & Tie

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2013

Just Blaze Feat. Baauer and Jay-Z: Higher

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2013

Just Blaze and Baauer Feat. Jay-Z: Higher

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2013

Made in America

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2013

Made in America

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2013

The Great GatsbyStream

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2013
48%

The Eric Andre ShowStream

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2012

CBS This Morning

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2012

Coldplay Feat. Jay-Z: Lost

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2012

Free Angela and All Political Prisoners

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2012

Rihanna Feat JAY-Z: Talk That Talk

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2011

Jay-Z Feat. Kanye West: Otis

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2011

Jay-Z & Kanye West Feat. Frank Ocean and The Dream: No Church In the Wild

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2011

Jay-Z & Kanye West: N... in Paris

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2011

Jay-Z & Kanye West: Otis

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2011

Kanye West & Jay-Z: H.A.M.

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2011

The Love We Make

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2011

U2: 360 Degrees at the Rose Bowl

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2010

Beyonce's I Am World Tour

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2010

Beyoncé's: I Am ... World Tour

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2010

JAY-Z feat. Amil & Beanie Sigel: Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up)

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2010

JAY-Z Feat DMX: Money, Cash, Hoes

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2010

Jay-Z Feat. UGK: Big Pimpin'

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2010

U2 360 Live at the Rose Bowl

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2010

Jay Z Feat. Alicia Keys: Empire State of Mind

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2010

Kanye West Feat. Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross: Monster

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2010

Jay-Z Feat. Mr. Hudson: Young Forever

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2010

Snoop Dogg Feat. Jay-Z: I Wanna Rock

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2010

Jay-Z: Young Forever

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2010

NBC's New Year's Eve With Carson Daly

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2009

2009 American Music Awards

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2009

The Jay Leno Show

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2009

The 51st Annual Grammy Awards

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2009

Jay-Z Feat. Swizz Beatz: On to the Next One

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2009

Jay-Z Feat. Kanye West & Rihanna: Run This Town

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2009

Jay-Z: D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)

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2009

Jay-Z Feat. Alicia Keys: Empire State of Mind

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2009

Jay-Z: Dirt Off Your Shoulder

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2009

Jay-Z Feat. Rihanna & Kanye West: Run This Town

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2009

Jay-Z Feat. Alicia Keys: Empire State of Mind

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2009

Coldplay Feat Jay-Z: Viva La Vida (Live)

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2009

The Beyonce Experience Live

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2008

JAY-Z Feat. Beanie Sigel & Memphis Bleek: Change The Game

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2008

Glastonbury 2008

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2008

Later Live... with Jools Holland

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2008

The Beyonce Live Experience

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2008

Rihanna Feat. JAY-Z: Umbrella (Orange Version)

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2007

Rihanna Feat. Jay-Z: Umbrella

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2007

Jay Z - Classic Album: Reasonable Doubt

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2007

Jay-Z: I Know

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2007

Jay-Z: Blue Magic

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2007

Jay-Z: Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)

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2007

Rihanna Feat. Jay-Z: Umbrella

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2007

JAY-Z feat. Chrisette Michele: Lost One

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2006

etalk

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2006

Beyonce Feat. Jay-Z: Deja Vu

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2006

Beyonce Feat. Jay-Z: Upgrade U

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2006

Beyoncé Feat. Jay-Z: Deja Vu

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2006

Beyoncé Feat. Jay-Z: Upgrade U

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2006

Jay-Z: Show Me What You Got

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2006

The Story of Beyoncé

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2006

JAY-Z Feat. R. Kelly: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

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2005

Kanye West Feat. Jay-Z: Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)

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2005

Tavis Smiley

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2004

Linkin Park Feat. Jay-Z: Numb/Encore

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2004

Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel & Amil: 4 Da Fam

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2004

Lenny Kravitz Feat. Jay-Z: Storm (Remix)

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2004

Fade to Black

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2004

Beyoncé Feat. Jay-Z - Crazy In Love

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2003

Real Time With Bill MaherStream

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2003

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

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2003

Jay-Z Feat. Pharrell Williams: Change Clothes

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2003

Beyoncé Feat. Jay-Z: Crazy in Love

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2003

Freeway Feat. Beanie Sigel & Jay-Z: What We Do

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2003

Beyoncé Feat. Jay-Z: Crazy in Love

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2003

Jay-Z Feat. Beyonce: '03 Bonnie & Clyde

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2002

Jay-Z Feat. Pharrell: Excuse Me Miss

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2002

Jay-Z Feat. Beyoncé: '03 Bonnie & Clyde

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2002

All Star Weekend

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2002

State Property

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2002

Paid in FullStream

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2002
53%

Friday Night with Jonathan Ross

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2001

The Concert for New York City

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2001

Jay-Z: Girls, Girls, Girls

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2001

Jay-Z: Song Cry

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2001

Jay-Z Feat. Pharrell: I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)

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2000

Memphis Bleek Feat. Jay-Z, Missy Elliott: Is That Your Chick (The Lost Verses)

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2000

Backstage

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2000

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

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1999

Mariah Carey Feat. Jay-Z: Heartbreaker

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1999

Mariah Carey & Jay-Z: Heartbreaker

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1999

The Corruptor

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1999

Jermaine Dupri Feat. Jay-Z: Money Ain't a Thang

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1998

Memphis Bleek Feat. Jay-Z: It's Alright

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1998

Rush HourStream

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1998
62%

Access HollywoodStream

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News
1996

The Chris Rock ShowStream

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1996

Foxy Brown Feat. Jay-Z: I'll Be

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1996

Extra

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1994

Late Show With David Letterman

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1993

Late Show With David Letterman

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1993

Later ... with Jools Holland

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1992

Charlie RoseStream

Guest
Talk
1991

The Oprah Winfrey ShowStream

Guest
Talk
1986

Entertainment Tonight

Guest
News
1981

Saturday Night LiveStream

Guest Star
Series
1975

Saturday Night LiveStream

Music Performer
Series
1975

News aboutJay-Z