Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York, United States), is an American rapper and former president and CEO of Roc A Fella Records. He is more commonly known by a variety of stage names including Jay-Z, S. Carter, Jigga, Hova, J-Hova, Hov, and Young Hov. He is regarded as one of the most prolific and successful American blend artists of the mid-90s and early 2000s and is known for his use of metaphors, freestyling abilities, word play, flow, and blending of street and popular hip hop. He is one of the most respected rappers in the music industry, and is admired for his ability to craft songs from memory without the use of pen and paper. He married his long time girlfriend Beyonce in April 2008 after dating for over seven years. He is one of the founders of Roc-A-Fella Records, a hip-hop record label which also launched the careers of artists such as Beanie Sigel, Kanye West, Memphis Bleek, Young Gunz, Freeway, and Teairra Mari.
Early history Originally from the infamous Marcy Houses projects in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in brooklyn in New York City, Shawn Carter was abandoned by his father Adnes Reeves when he was only twelve years old and he was consequently raised by his mother Gloria Carter. Jay-Z attended George Westinghouse High School in Downtown Brooklyn and Trenton Central High School in Trenton, New Jersey but did not graduate. He claims to have been caught up in selling drugs on the streets of New York in the Marcy Projects. In addition to this, Jay-Z has lyrically alluded to having sold crack cocaine and marijuana in Virginia and Maryland.