For many decades, Kanye West and Jay-Z have dominated the hip-hop industry and are ranked among the greatest rap artists of all time. The two got acquainted in the early 2000s when West was working as a producer for Jay’s label, Roc-A-Fella Records. They went on to build successful rap careers that have enabled them to accrue ten-figure net worths. More so, they have received numerous accolades throughout their careers, thus, getting ranked among the most awarded hip-hop artists in the world.
It’s noteworthy that Kanye and Jay-Z have not only made their astonishing wealth from music alone but from business ventures that have grown into multi-million dollar corporations. As the two former best friends have gone about their business of making an impact on society, a lot of comparisons have been made about who might be richer than the other as they have both been speculated to be billionaires. Find out the answer below, as well as other details about their age and business endeavors.
Kanye West is Reportedly Wealthier Than Jay-Z Who Has a Net Worth of $1.4 Billion
In June 2019, Jay-Z’s total wealth was estimated at $1 billion. Thus, he emerged as the first hip-hop billionaire. He was able to achieve this feat by not only releasing multiple chart-topping albums and songs but by establishing multiple multimillion-dollar ventures.
Jay’s growing businesses encompass liquor, real estate, art, record labels, and startups. He further has stakes in several companies such as Uber and Square. Having made multiple other smart investments inside and outside of music, the Brooklyn native was reported in 2021 to be worth around $1.4 billion. Hence, it’s not surprising that the ‘4:44’ crooner has emerged as one of the top richest black Americans.
Kanye West, on the other hand, has a net worth that is $400 million more than that of Jay-Z’s as of this writing. He is currently the richest American music artist having accumulated a jaw-dropping estimated net worth of $1.8 billion.
West was able to achieve this after establishing himself as a footwear mogul. His Yeezy Adidas sneaker brand which he launched in partnership with Adidas in the year 2013 is said to have a potential market value of over $3 billion. The brand is currently regarded among the world’s most influential sneaker brands, having raked in about $1.3 billion in revenue in 2019. That same year, West became the highest-paid hip-hop artist as he gathered earnings of $150 million from his Yeezy merchandise and music. Jay-Z earned approximately $81 million between June 2018 to June 2019 meaning that West’s earnings surpassed his own.
The Two African American Rappers Are The Only Billionaires in Hip Hop
With Jay-Z and Kanye West sitting on net worths of $1.4 billion and $1.8 billion respectively, both are currently the only known billionaires in hip-hop. Jay-Z began expanding his business portfolio by establishing Roc-A-Fella Records, which was a division of Def Jam Recordings. He worked as a record producer and record executive before later resigning from his role as the president of Def Jam. He would then go on to launch the entertainment company, Roc Nation, in partnership with Live Nation in the year 2008. The company is now valued at $140 million.
Prior to that, he co-founded the clothing brand Rocawear with Damon Dash in 1999. He gained a majority stake in the clothing brand in 2006 before selling the rights to it in 2007 to Iconix Brand Group for $204 million. Jay also co-founded 40/40 Club, a luxury sports bar chain in 2003. Following D’Usse cognac’s launching in partnership with liquor giant Bacardi in 2012, the liquor brand presently sells over 200,000 cases annually and has a market value of $120 million.
Years later in 2014, the ‘Empire State of Mind’ rapper purchased a 100 percent stake in Armand de Brignac after investing $200 million in the company. In February 2021, the business magnate sold 50 percent of the luxury liquor company to LVMH’s Moët Hennessey, owning the remaining 50 percent stake. The $300 per bottle champagne brand now has a valuation of $640 million.
Other sources of income for Jay-Z include his music streaming service Tidal. He purchased Aspiro for $56 million in March 2015 before relaunching it as Tidal in the same year. Other co-owners of the company include Jay’s wife Beyoncé, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, and Calvin Harris. In early March 2021, the Grammy-winning rap artist signed a deal to sell a majority stake in the company to Jack Dorsey’s Square for $297 million.
In addition to jacking up his net worth with his Tidal investment, Kanye West has majorly made his wealth through his Yeezy sneaker brand, as his stake in the company is reportedly over $1 billion. His record label, G.O.O.D. Music, along with his music publishing rights, is reportedly worth at least $90 million.
West receives a royalty payment of 11 percent of Yeezy’s revenue from Adidas annually. Interestingly, the products which he releases in limited numbers sell out quickly. For example, his Boost 350 sneakers went on sale for $200 and were sold out within one hour of release. More so, West owns 100 percent of the Yeezy clothing line.
Kanye West and Jay-Z are Among The Best-Selling Music Artists in The World
Over the course of his career, the ‘All of the Lights’ rapper has recorded sales of over 20 million albums and 140 million singles globally. As such, he is regarded as one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Thus far, he has released nine studio albums, two collaborative albums, one hundred and thirty-seven singles, and four promotional singles. He is among the only six music artists in the United States to have over 100 million of their digital singles certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
West has released four No. 1 songs and 18 top-ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and equally, three No. 1 singles and twenty top-ten singles on the UK Singles Chart. Also, all of his studio albums have attained at least gold certification from the RIAA.
Shawn Carter, on the other hand, has dropped thirteen solo studio albums, four collaborative albums, two extended plays, one hundred and nineteen singles, and fourteen promotional singles over the course of his career. He has sold more than 50 million albums and 75 million singles worldwide. Thus, he is one of the world’s best-selling music artists.
With 14 of his studio albums debuting atop Billboard 200, Jay-Z holds the record for most No. 1 albums by a solo artist on the chart.
The Two Have Collaborated on Many Music Projects
While working as the producer of Rock-A-Fella Records, Kanye West started contributing to the production of Jay-Z’s studio albums. In 2001, he was one of the producers on Jay’s commercially successful The Blueprint album, getting credited with four tracks. He was further featured in one of the album’s tracks titled ‘The Bounce’. Kanye went on to produce more and more songs on subsequent Jay-Z albums, including Kingdom Come and Magna Carta Holy Grail.
In August 2011, the duo released a collaborative album titled Watch the Throne, which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, Top R&B Albums Chart, and Rap Albums Chart. In promotion of the album, Kanye West and Jay-Z embarked on The Watch The Throne Tour, which kicked off on October 28th, 2011, and ended on June 22nd, 2012. The tour grossed $75.4 million in revenue as the album sold over five million units in the United States.
While Jay Z is The Most Awarded Rapper in Grammy History, Kanye Sits Behind With Total Wins of 22
Often considered as one of the greatest rappers of all time, Jay-Z has bagged 23 Grammy Awards throughout his bloomy music career, holding the record for the most Grammy wins by a rap artist. He is additionally the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Thus far, the ‘Excuse Me Miss’ rapper has been nominated for 400 awards, taking home 249 of them, including 17 BET Hip Hop Awards, 7 MTV Video Music Awards, 6 Billboard Music Awards, and 2 Brit Awards.
Kanye West, who is the second most awarded rapper in Grammy history, sitting behind Jay-Z, has equally won numerous awards throughout his career. Following the release of his debut studio album The College Dropout, Kanye gathered the third most Grammy nominations in one night (10) at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards. He has so far been nominated for 763 awards, winning 261 including 22 Grammy Awards, 19 BET Hip Hop Awards, 9 Billboard Music Awards, 5 MTV Video Music Awards, and 3 Brit Awards.
The Two Hip Hop Stars Additionally Have Interests in Hollywood
In 2005, Kanye West featured alongside other music artists such as Beanie Sigel and Mariah Carey in the American crime film, State Property 2. The movie was a box office bomb as it had a theatrical earning of $1.6 million on a production budget of $2 million. Later in 2008, he made a cameo appearance in the comedy movie The Love Guru that was also a box office failure. He subsequently featured in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013) but, unlike his previous films, the movie had a high theatrical performance. It earned $173.6 million at the worldwide box office against a budget of $50 million. Other of his acting credits include Entourage (2007), We Were Once a Fairytale (2009), Runaway (2010), and Cruel Summer (2012).
Jay-Z, on his own part, is mostly recognized for his work as a producer. In 2013, he served as the executive producer of the blockbuster The Great Gatsby film that raked in over $353 million worldwide at the box office against a production budget of $105 million – $190 million. In the next year, the ‘Blue Magic’ crooner produced the American musical comedy film Annie, starring Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne, and Cameron Diaz. The movie was produced on a budget of $65 million – $78 million and grossed $133.8 million at the box office worldwide.
They are Real Estate Investors
Over the years, the two rap icons have invested a portion of their massive fortunes in real estate, acquiring buildings and lands. Jay-Z alongside his wife has invested north of $150 million in global real estate. They own a private island in the Bahamas worth $4 million, a $26 million luxury home in the Hamptons called Pond House, and an $88 million mansion in Bel Air, California for which they took out a $52 million mortgage. Also, the couple bought a 7-bedroom home in Miami for $8 million in 2008 and later sold it for $9.3 million two years later.
Similarly, Kanye West has so far invested over $81 million in buildings and improvements and over $20 million in landed properties. He owns an estate in the Los Angeles suburb of Hidden Hills, California which is valued at over $70 million. He equally has a $16 million estate on Stokes Canyon Road in Calabasas. More so, the ‘Love Lockdown’ rapper owns Bighorn Mountain Ranch in Wyoming valued at $15 million and another Wyoming ranch worth $14 million.
Both Have Used Their Vast Fortune To Establish Eleemosynary Organizations
In addition to spending their fortunes on real estate, Kanye West and Jay-Z have equally spent millions of dollars towards charitable causes. Kanye co-founded the Kanye West Foundation with his mother in 2003. The non-profit organization partnered with many community organizations in providing underprivileged youths access to music education before closing operations in the year 2011 following the death of Kanye’s mom. Nonetheless, the rap artist has continued to carry out benevolent deeds in recent years.
He made a donation of over $10 million towards the completion of American artist James Turrell’s Roden Crater in 2019 and also donated $2 million to the families of police brutality victims, including George Floyd’s family. Just like Kanye West, Jay-Z established The Shawn Carter Foundation alongside his mother in 2003. Over the years, the foundation has provided support to several eligible undergraduates going through socio-economic hardship, assisting them through college. Together with P. Diddy, the billionaire businessman donated $1 million to the relief effort of the American Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina.
Jay reportedly established a trust fund for the children of Sean Bell who was killed on the morning before his wedding, as he and his two friends were fired a total of 50 rounds by the New York City police in the borough of Queens on November 25th, 2006. Additionally, the ’99 Problems’ rap artist donated tens of thousands of dollars for the bailing out of Black Lives Matter protesters in 2015. He also made a donation of $1 million to the relief efforts for COVID-19 in 2020.
Jay-Z is Eight Years Older Than Kanye West
Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter was born in New York City on December 4th, 1969 while his fellow rap icon, Kanye West, was born on June 8th, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia. Thus, Cater is eight years older than Kanye West.
Jay-Z, who is often regarded as one of the most influential hip-hop artists in history, actually started out as a drug dealer before deciding to fan his musical talent into flames. This, he actualized by co-founding the Roc-A-Fella Records label with Damon “Dame” Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke in the year 1995.
Though not a high school graduate, the rapper attended multiple high schools, including Eli Whitney High School, George Washington Career and Technical Education High School, and Trenton Central High School. Kanye West, on the other hand, attended Polaris High School in Illinois and then gained a scholarship to study at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. He, afterward, transferred to Chicago State University where he studied English for a while before dropping out of school at the age of twenty to pursue a music career. Now, he is widely recognized for his influence in the development of mainstream hip-hop, as well as popular music in the 21st century.
Quick Comparison Between The Two Eminent Rap Artists
|5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m)
|6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m)
|Total Albums Released
|Total Grammy Wins
|Watch The Throne Tour ($75.4 million)
|On The Run II Tour ($254 million)
|Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – Grossed over $173 million
|Annie (as an executive producer) – Grossed over $353 million
|G.O.O.D. Music, DONDA
|Rocawear, 40/40 Club