At an age when many of his rap contemporaries have long faded from the business, Jay-Z is arguably better than ever now.
The rapper/entrepreneur turns the big 4-2 today and life couldn't get too much better for him. He's got a super-hot wife in Beyonce, a new daughter in Blue Ivy, a still thriving rap career and, oh yeah, his own freakin' basketball team! Check out our top 10 reasons why Jay-Z might be the coolest guy on the planet right now!
1. His Awesome Wife Beyonce
Obviously. Jay owes much of his personal and professional success to Beyonce. Not only do they match up perfectly in terms of their personality, but Beyonce helped Jay cross over into the kind of mainstream cred that allowed him to rub shoulders with the likes of Barack Obama.
2. His On-Point Parenting Skills
By all accounts, Jay-Z is a doting and attentive father towards new baby Blue Ivy. And there's a very good reason why: the rap mogul has been open about the effect his father walking out on the family had on him as a child. "It makes me a little paranoid because no matter what, I don't think any person, or any male, goes into a relationship thinking that they're going to leave or wouldn't be there," he said last November.
3. He's Still the Best Rapper Out There
Nearly 17 years after his debut album Reasonable Doubt was released, he's still churning out hits with alarming ease. His latest studio album, the 2011 collaboration with Kanye West titled Watch the Throne, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spawned the top 10 hit Ni***s in Paris.
4. He'll Tell You He's Still the Best Rapper Out There
For Jay-Z, his title as the best rapper in the business isn't opinion: it's fact. "When I say I'm the best, I don't say that outta my ass. I say that with all my stats behind me. I put that against anybody. I mean anybody," he said in 2009. You don't become the front-runner in music because someone lets you. You have to claim your shoes."
5. His Charity Work
Jay-Z knows he leads a pretty charmed life and does his best to give back. He created the Shawn Carter Foundation in 2003, which provides scholarships to students facing economic troubles in order to help continue their education. In addition, he's worked with the UN to help address water shortages in Africa and pledged $1 million to the Red Cross to help Hurricane Katrina victims.
6. He Still Puts Out Brutal Diss Tracks
He may have mellowed with age, but that doesn't mean Jay-Z still isn't up for a good old-fashioned rap battle. Takeover, his diss track against Nas, is considered to be one of the best of its kind and he's also verbally sparred with rappers like 50 Cent, amongst others.
7. He Put Chris Brown In His Place
Of course, Jay would say to Chris what we've wanted to say to him all along. Although the conversation wasn't confirmed, it was reported that Jay-Z took Breezy aside last October and gave him a stern lecture. “He invited them as a couple to his concert in New York and backstage he called Chris to one side and told him if he hurts Rihanna, whether emotionally or physically, it’s over for him. He’ll ensure it will result in the end of his career,” said a source.
8. He Supports Gay Marriage
The rap world is known for being pretty homophobic, but Jay-Z isn't and has spoken openly in favor of gay marriage. "What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love. That's their business," he told CNN last May. "(It's) no different than discriminating against blacks. It's discrimination, plain and simple."
9. He Has Anything, ANYTHING You Could Possibly Want
Jay-Z could never write another rhyme again and make more money than some third-world countries. His own clothing line? Got that. Rocawear is one of the biggest urban clothing companies in the country. After a hard day at work, he can go unwind at his own nightclub, 40/40 in NYC. What, no basketball team? Oh yeah, he's got an NBA franchise too after signing on as co-owner of the Brooklyn Nets!
10. He's Got a Sense of Humor
Despite all his success, even Jay-Z can admit there are some things he wishes he hadn't done. Like record the hit Big Pimpin', for example. "Some [lyrics] become really profound when you see them in writing," he told The Wall Street Journal. "Not 'Big Pimpin''. That's the exception. It was like, I can't believe I said that. And kept saying it. What kind of animal would say this sort of thing? Reading it is really harsh."
What do you love most about Jay-Z?
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