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This super deal created a joint venture called Roc Nation, an entertainment company that handles nearly all aspects of its artists' careers.
Along with Jay-Z, Roc Nation signed such top artists as Rihanna, Shakira and T. Jay-Z's other business ventures include the popular urban clothing line Rocawear and Roc-a-Fella Films.
"There's not a lot of people who have come of age in rap because it's only 30 years old," he said.
During a rough adolescence, detailed in many of his autobiographical songs, Shawn Carter dealt drugs and flirted with gun violence. As Jay-Z later recalled in one of his songs ("December 4th"): "I went to school, got good grades, could behave when I wanted/But I had demons deep inside that would raise when confronted."Carter turned to rap at a young age as an escape from the drugs, violence and poverty that surrounded him in the Marcy Projects.
The album proved to be a triple hit, topping the rap, R&B and pop charts shortly after its August release.
It went on to garner multiple Grammy nominations, winning the Grammy for Best Rap Performance with "Otis," which sampled the late R&B singer Otis Redding.
Even with a stage name, Jay-Z remained relatively anonymous until he and two friends, Damon Dash and Kareem Burke, founded their own record label, Roc-a-Fella Records, in 1996.
In June of that year, Jay-Z released his debut album, and another nomination for "Hard Knock Life," marking the beginning of a fruitful period in which Jay-Z would become the biggest name in hip-hop. A.)" and "03 Bonnie & Clyde," a duet with future bride Beyoncé Knowles.