Jay-Z sold CDs from his car in the early 1990s, cofounded Roc-A-Fella Records in 1995, and landed a distribution deal with a major label to release his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, in 1996. Two years later, he bought a beat that sampled “It’s the Hard-Knock Life” from the musical Annie; the resulting hit led to album sales of more than five million copies. In 2008 the rapper, born Shawn Carter, married the singer Beyoncé Knowles. They have three children.

Issues Contributed