Jay-Z Birthday: Five Reasons to Celebrate
He may have proclaimed 30 the new 20, but no amount of deductive reasoning can belie the fact that on Dec. 4 Jay-Z turns 42, a far cry from the ‘Reasonable Doubt’ of his youth. And although firmly entrenched in soft middle age, in 2011, Jiggaman had one hell of a year.
As an artist, executive and husband, this past year has marked some of his greatest achievements — he won a legal battle or two, took home a few Grammys and was nominated for a few more, rapped on Sade’s greatest hits album, rocked the 2011 Victoria’s Secret’s fashion show, was invited to perform for Queen Elizabeth’s 85th birthday and launched his own lifestyle website — and those aren’t even his biggest achievements.
After the jump, peruse Jay-Z’s top reasons to party in 2011 like it was 1999 — when he was actually 30, and about to stand trial for stabbing a former associate.
Seven years after vowing to bring the New Jersey Nets home to his native Brooklyn, N.Y., Jay finally made good on his promise, rubbing elbows with a congregation of politicians and executives at a groundbreaking ceremony on March 11, 2010.
On Sept. 26, 2011, Jigga revealed that the Nets name had been officially changed to reflect their new locale. “We have decided that the official name for the Nets will be the Brooklyn Nets,” the 41-year-old ‘Empire State of Mind’ rapper proudly exclaimed, from the arena’s construction site. “See I’m really giddy right now. Brooklyn Nets.”
4. He Tops Forbes Magazine’s Cash King List, Yet Again
For the fourth time in five years, Jay-Z topped Forbes’ Hip-Hop Cash Kings list, raking in $37 million from 2010 to 2011. In 2011, Jigga contined to “reap the benefits of a 10-year $150 million Live Nation deal, as well as stakes in the New Jersey Nets, the 40/40 Club chain, ad firm Translation and others,” according to Forbes. He also out-earned his wife for the first time since they were married in 2008. Go on, brush your shoulders off.
3. He Lands GQ’s Men of the Year
Each year, the world’s leading men’s magazine celebrates its “Men of the Year,” and in 2011, Jiggaman took home that honor for the second time, sharing the spotlight with Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon and several others. In the cover story, Hov discussed his relationship with his absentee father, longtime collaborator Kanye West, throwing a baby seat in his Maybach and revealed that when the time comes, he’ll be rolling up his sleeves and changing diapers like the rest of us.
Easily one of the most highly-touted albums of the year, Jay-Z’s platinum-selling collaboration with former protégé Kanye West debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s top 200. Besides that accolade, the effort also broke iTunes one-week sales record for downloads sold, launched five singles, including the ubiquitous ‘N—-s in Paris’ — so good they had to play it seven times a night — and a sold-out North American tour, and is the reason the duo scored four Grammy nods this year, including Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance.
1. He Learns He’s Going to be a Dad
At the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in August, a babybump-bearing Beyonce revealed that she was three months pregnant. Despite various rumors regarding a prosthetic belly, and a falsely reported due date, Jiggaman’s queen is due to give birth to the couple’s first child in December.
And how is Jay preparing for fatherhood? “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 told People magazine at GQ’s Men of the Year party, referring to his father’s abandonment. “I’m just a different kind of guy. I’m a highly principled person … I come from a real place where you had to be a highly principled person, so, I’m pretty confident that I’ll figure it out.”
Watch ‘Watch Beyoncé and Jay-Z Excite the US Open Crowd’