Forbes named Jay-Z the world’s first billionaire rapper, and his latest investment is beyond booze and billboard charts.

By Mike Pomranz
June 04, 2019

Yesterday, Forbes declared Jay-Z as the first hop-hop artist to reach billionaire status. The publication says it took a “conservative” approach to calculating that number, double checking it with a "roster of outside experts,” and even “subtracting a healthy amount to account for a superstar lifestyle.” So it would seem like Forbes did its homework. But what’s interesting is how little of that billion comes from music. In fact, the most lucrative part of Jay-Z’s career has been booze.

In his piece, Zack O’Malley Greenburg breaks down Jay-Z’s wealth into eight chunks. To be fair, his earnings from music are nothing to scoff at. His back catalog alone is said to be worth $75 million. On top of that, Roc Nation – which it’s worth noting manages athletes as well as musicians – is also reportedly worth $75 million. Finally, Jay-Z owns a stake in the streaming service Tidal, valued at an estimated $100 million – so yeah, Jay makes some money in the music biz.

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But Forbes says that Jay-Z’s single most lucrative investment is in the champagne brand Armand de Brignac – also known as “Ace of Spades” champagne – which is pegged at a value of $310 million. Meanwhile, he is also involved in the cognac brand D’Usse, a joint venture with Bacardi, that adds another $100 million to the rapper’s net worth. In all, that’s $410 million from his investments in spirits– five times more than he’s made from rapping. (For the record, the other categories include art [$70 million], real estate [$50 million], and “cash & investments” [$220 million].)

Yesterday, Entrepreneur reported on Jay-Z’s latest investment, also in the food and beverage space. The Jay-Z-backed Marcy Venture Partners just gave $1 million in capital to Partake Foods, a New Jersey-based producer of allergen-free cookies. Cookies might seem like a departure from hip hop and champagne, but we'd happily participate in all three.

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