Jay-Z is now officially 40 years old. For the better part of the last 15 years, the Brooklyn-bred hip hop icon has become one of the most respected men in and beyond the hip hop business. From his revered rap style to his savvy business acumen, the man known as Shawn Carter (and "Jigga," "Hov" and "Jay," among others monikers) is worthy of celebrating in a special way. Here are 40 things to know about Jay-Z.
Born on Dec. 4 1969, Shawn Corey Carter was the last of Gloria Carter's four children. Throughout his career, he has made his childhood stomping grounds -- Brooklyn's Marcy Houses Housing Projects -- one of the borough's most well-known neighborhoods.
With what many would describe as one of Hova's defining career moments, the rapper's breakout single came from the hands of 'The Nutty Professor' soundtrack. The motion picture's companion album featured Jigga's second single, 'Ain't No...' featuring then newcomer 17-year-old female MC, Foxy Brown.
New York's 'Finest' may have needed more than a 'Reasonable Doubt' to help stop Jay and Biggie's 1996 verbal assault. The Brooklyn duo traded lyrics from Marcy to Bed-Stuy on the classic track, 'Brooklyn's Finest.'
Jay-Z once told Foxy Brown no one could love her better, the MC turned around and attempted to hook up with Brown's raunchy rival Lil' Kim -- lyrically that is. Jigga and the self proclaimed Queen Bee gave fans a mouth full on the sexual charged track, 'Big Momma Thang' in 1996.
In midst of 1997's "shiny suit" era, Shawn Carter tried his luck on the Babyface and Foxy Brown assisted hit, 'Sunshine,' which was also complimented with a kaleidoscopic video.
It appeared veteran R&B powerhouse Angela Winbush loved money more than her former lover and musical partner René Moore. The singer reworked her original vocals from their classic 1980's hit 'I Love You More' on Notorious B.I.G.'s 'I Love the Dough' (featuring Jay-Z).
Back in 1998 the future music moguls and sought after rappers proclaimed that they avoided anything that didn't 'gleam clean' on the chart-topping hit 'Money Ain't A Thing.'
Jay-Z has garnered a total of five Grammy Awards to date. In 1999, he won 'Best Rap Album' for 'Vol. 2 ... Hard Knock Life.
If looks could kill, video vixen Gloria Velez left no innocent bystanders to witness her performance sequence during Jay's party anthem, 'Big Pimpin' video in 2000.