Recently, the big homie Sean Jay-Z Carter reached a monetary milestone when he was officially crowned rap’s first billionaire.
Forbes arrived at Jay-Z's billionaire status by calculating the music mogul's stake in a number of companies, along with his additional income. The publication reports that they then subtracted an estimated amount of money to account for Jay's lavish lifestyle. In the end, they checked their numbers "with a roster of outside experts" to ensure that Jay's numbers, well, added up.
Forbes revealed that Jay-Z owns 100% of Armand de Brignac champagne, worth an estimated $310 million alone. He also has a joint venture with Bacardi, where his cognac D'Ussé is currently housed, with an estimated worth of $100 million.
His streaming service TIDAL, once purchased by the rapper for $60 million, is now reportedly worth $100 million. Jigga's entertainment company Roc Nation and extensive music catalog are worth are valued at a reported $75 million a piece. The magazine also reveals that the Brooklyn-bred rapper currently owns $70 million in art and $50 million in real estate.
During the latest episode of Black Coffee, hosts Marc Lamont Hill, Gia Peppers and Jameer Pond assessed Jay-Z's billion dollar status, while debating whether or not Jay's wealth, while inspiring, was quite possibly a bigger sign of a disproportionate economy.
Host Hill kicked off the conversation, applauding Jay on his monetary milestone, while pointing out that the Brooklyn-bred MC was the real epitome of "self made."
"I'm conflicted. On the one hand, Jay-Z is a hero of mine. He's an amazing artist,” Hill said. “Certainly in my top five, top three rappers, and on most days, top one. And I admire the fact that he is self made, like really self made. They tried to say that Kylie Jenner a couple months ago was a self-made billionaire. How are you self-made when you got family, you got resources, you got inherited wealth. You didn't make anything.”
"I'm looking at Jay-Z, [who is from] Marcy projects. Coming from nothing. Coming from the dirt. Being able to struggle, sacrifice. Coming up with ideas, being told 'No' and [still] keep pushing,” Hill continued. “What he say, 'The most genius thing we did was never give up.' That's amazing. If you want to buy into the American narrative of success, it's Jay-Z. It ain't Kylie Jenner."
However, while the social activist and personality made sure to give huge praises to the big homie, his congratulatory remarks towards the emcee were also met with some concern for the overall economical system.
"But, it's still a billion dollars! Nobody needs a billion dollars. And so, [while] I'm proud of his achievements, I don't want to live in a world where people have a billion dollars,” Hill said. “I want to live in a world where people have stuff. A billion dollars means a whole lot of people don't have something, the host stated, before acknowledging that the rapper's ongoing philanthropic efforts, agreeing that Jay is "as good of a billionaire as you can be."
Co-host Peppers chimed in on the conversation, noting that Jay-Z isn't the only rich guy alive, and questioned whether the rapper should have a responsibility to accept less.
"When you look at the landscape for how much money is actually out here, why should [Jay] take less? When you look at the playing field, why should [he] take less in that landscape?"
Pond also chimed in, pointing out that the rapper, who is no stranger to giving back, more than likely spreads the wealth:
"I'd like to give the benefit of the doubt to Jay that he's actually doing something constructive with his money. Jay's not like, the braggadocious type, [or the type to say] 'I'ma put money into Black schools. Or donate money to countries in Africa,' We don't know what he's doing [with his money]. We know he's doing with his money very skilled in real estate and business ventures. I would like to give the benefit of the doubt that he's doing something good with his money."
"I think he's doing great stuff with his money," Hill remarked. I love what they did in Ferguson, I love what he did with Black Lives Matter," he stated. "It's not a knock against him, it's just fact that anybody should have that much wealth. is dangerous to me. It's not Jay-Z's fault, it's a problem with the system. And I don't want to make Jay-Z the target of it, and ignore all these white men who have a lot more, and don't do anything about it. So it's not so much about Jay-Z, it's that I can only get but so hype for someone having a billion dollars."
Wealth distribution in America is a hot topic worthy of all this conversation, but no matter where one stands with that, it doesn’t take away from the enormity of Mr. Carter’s achievement. Congrats, Jay-Z!
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Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Something in the Water