50 Facts About Jay-Z That Will Put You in an Empire State of Mind


31. He tricked his mom into lending her voice to “December 4th” off 2003’s The Black Album. “I told her to meet me down at the studio and we were going to go to lunch,” he wrote in Decoded. “She came down to the studio, and I just brought the track up and I said, ‘I just want you to talk on it.’ Because I knew if I told her [she was going to be on the song], she’d get really nervous. [She said], ‘What do you want me to say?’ And the rest is history.”

32. He announced his (ultimately temporary) retirement with a 2003 concert at Madison Square Garden, featuring the Roots, Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé and Pharrell Williams. All proceeds went to charity.

33. His next act began with the sale of Roc-A-Fella and being named the president of Def Jam Records.

34. His far-reaching empire includes clothing (retailer Rocawear), liquor brands (Armand de Brignac champagne and D’Ussé cognac), a stake in the Brooklyn Nets, streaming service Tidal and Roc Nation, which represents top names in entertainment (read: Rihanna) and sports (Kevin Durant, Todd Gurley).

35. The musician has also inked lucrative endorsement deals with Reebok, Budweiser and watchmaker Audemars-Piguet.

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