Celebrity

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Jay Z

Image: WENN

Image: WENN

He’s considered to be one of the greatest rappers of our time, an excellent businessman and the luckiest man in the world (because he’s married to Beyoncé, of course). Today, Jay Z celebrates his 44th birthday and he’s just getting better with every passing year. The rapper lives quite a public life, but there are still little tidbits of information about him that have managed to slip under most people’s radar. Until now. Below, 10 facts about Jay Z you might not have known.

  1. He and Busta Rhymes went to the same high school. Busta and Jay had a rap battle in the cafeteria at George Westinghouse High School back in the day. Busta says he gave it his best shot, but in the end, Jay came out on top. 
  2. Rocawear started after Iceberg rejected a deal with Jay. Russell Simmons and Jay Z approached Iceberg after realizing that fans were buying clothes from the label, just because Jay was wearing them. But Iceberg wasn’t willing to give them the kind of control they wanted. “They offered us free clothes, but we wanted millions and the use of their private jet.” 
  3. He lived in London for a little while. When his mentor, Jaz-O, finally got a record deal, he took Jay out with him to London for a month as he recorded his album.
  4. Big Pimpin‘ was his most expensive music video at the time. Jay admits that he was usually a little tight-fisted when it came to music video budgets, but Big Pimpin’ was different. In Decoded, he says he paid about a million dollars for the extravagant video.
  5. His favorite album is Reasonable Doubt. As he told Oprah Winfrey in 2009, his first album meant a lot to him because it was so autobiographical.
  6. He was a HUGE baby. According to Jay Z, A Biography of A Hip-Hop Icon, he weighed in at 10 lbs. 8 oz. Nearly 11 pounds!
  7. He taught himself how to ride a bike. When he was around four, Jay got an old bicycle that his uncle promised to put training wheels on. That never happened, so the rapper took it upon himself to learn on his own. He rode the bike seven hours a day until he finally got it.
  8. He’s a fan of Bono. In Decoded, Jay recalls the first time he met the U2 frontman at a cigar bar in London and was immediately taken with him. The rapper says he was “completely unprepared for what a genuine, humble and open person [Bono] is.” 
  9. Jay Z’s father didn’t show up to their reunion. The rapper’s father walked out on his family when Jay was very young. Years later, his mother tried to organize a reunion between the estranged pair – one Jay’s father failed to show up to. All wasn’t lost, the rapper’s mother convinced him to give it a second try since his father was in poor health. This time around, his dad showed up to meet him.
  10. He will order your meal for you. In a 2012 interview with The New York Times, writer Zadie Smith mentions that the rapper took the lead when it came to ordering lunch. “He likes to order for people. Apparently I look like the fish-sandwich type,” she wrote.