Jay-Z famously rapped that he has 99 Problems, but let’s be honest, people: he’s a chart-topping, Grammy-winning rapper; his music is indisputably part of the cultural New York playlist; he is the face of the Brooklyn Nets and Brooklyn’s place in sports; he’s married to Beyoncé, queen of pop culture; he’s even buddies with President Obama. Oh, and he’s also a total philanthropist. So Jay-Z, you can brush as much dirt off your shoulder as you want, because we’re pretty sure you’re unstoppable.
The Brooklyn native entered the music scene in 1989 with an appearance on MTV. In 1995 he co-founded Roc-a-Fella records, releasing his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, a year later. From there he exploded, turning rap rhythms into mainstream hits like Izzo (H.O.V.A.), Dirt Off Your Shoulder and Empire State of Mind. In total, the rapper’s rhymes have earned him 14 Grammy Awards and album sales of 27 million. His pride in his roots and love for New York have impressed his image of the city on popular culture. He also helped deliver the Nets to Brooklyn.
Jay-Z has also used his fame (and ample funds) to help people. In 2006, in partnership with the United Nations, his world tour became a platform to raise awareness about global water shortages. He donated a million dollars to the Red Cross in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
A proud supporter and loyal bro of Mr. Obama, Jay-Z actively took part in initiatives to increase voter turnout in the 2008 and 2012 elections. And if that’s not enough social consciousness for you, he publicly came out last year in support of same-sex marriage.
And don’t forget his famous family. Last year, Jay-Z and the Queen B gave birth to Blue Ivy Carter—arguably the most publicized delivery since that of baby Jesus—thereby ensuring that Jay-Z’s empire would expand across future generations.
But for now, we’re certain that Jay-Z will continue to Run This Town for decades to come.