Today is Jay-Z's Birthday

"Who are you?" Canadian music journalist Nardwuar asked Jay-Z at the Pemberton Music Festival in Canada in 2008.

"I'm a young man from the Marcy Projects who really made that thing that they say 'The American Dream' come true. Because I'm not supposed to be here speaking to you," the rapper said. "You know, there's a lot of people who come from where I come from-- there are a lot of skilled people who were I come from-- who are not here right now,"

Born in Brooklyn and raised in the mean streets of Bedford–Stuyvesant, Jay-Z has either done it, gone through it, been accused of it, plead guilty to it, launched it, bought it, partnered with it, won it, or put a ring on it.

Forget the 10 platinum solo albums, which is more than anybody. Forget the 24 Grammys. Forget being hip-hop's first billionaire.

Forget that he signed 16-year-old Rihanna to her first record deal while he was CEO of Def Jam, and now she's a billionaire.

This man who had the nerve to call himself Hov, short for Jehovah aka God, bought a chunk of the Nets and moved them to Brooklyn.

Which, technically, is godhead.

When the producer Timbaland, who worked with Jay-Z on "Big Pimpin," and many others says the rapper and moguel was sent by God, it could be because he has seen him create his rhymes in the studio.

Unlike most, when Jay-Z gets inspiration from a beat or a sample, he doesn't write down the words or say them into a tape recorder or anything mundane like that.

He goes to the microphone and off the top of his head, spits it out, and remembers it forever.

“You put the right artist on the right track in the studio and leave the door open to let God in,” Jay-Z explained in the documentary about his "final" album, Fade to Black.

Watch he and Timbaland trading barbs to each other as the producer demos beats. Once Jay-Z hears the music and beat to what will quickly become "Dirt Off Your Shoulder," he perks up and channels the flow.

History in the making: Jay-Z "writing" another hit with Timbaland.

When Jay-Z first tried getting in the record business, nobody wanted him. So he and two friends created their own label, Roc-A-Fella Records. Two years later they released his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, distributed by Priority Records, N.W.A's first distributor. Though it wasn't a big seller, the next year Def Jam, the label Rick Rubin co-founded, signed a distribution deal with the indie label.

Two years later Jay broke out with "Hard Knock Life" and it was on: fame, trophies, and glory and because it was his record label, he got to keep the money.

Roc-A-Fella Records had a young, ambitious, in-house producer from Chicago known for producing original beats and being able to intertwine them with danceable samples.

He also had an overwhelming sense of self confidence, and he really wanted to do was rap.

Roc-A-Fella appreciated his moxie, but once he produced "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" for Jay-Z to huge success, they wanted him to help them create more monster hits for their co-founder.

Kanye West did as he was told, but late at night he wrote and pieced together his own record, The College Dropout, which he famously bounced from office to office at Roc-A-Fella trying to get anyone to listen to it.

Kanye at Roc-A-Fella trying to convince them that he's a rapper and not just a producer and beat maker.

Finally, Kanye got his promotion to rapper. The album went 4x platinum and was nominated for Album of the Year, proving that not only do things that Jay-Z touch turn gold, but sometimes things he just barely accepts skyrocket too.

Thanks to Jay-Z giving him his break, Kanye would also win 24 Grammys and also become a billionaire.

And there's Beyoncé.

From their first collab, "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" (produced by Kanye) in 2003, to their most important collabs - their three children - Beyoncé & Jay-Z's struggles and successes have been well-documented, often in their own art.

In the movie about her tour, Renaissance, Jay-Z is captured doing the thing he has been doing the most of over these past few years: being a doting father and supportive husband.

For a man whose own father skipped out on the family when he was a child, there is a reason he hasn't performed much over the last few years. He's busy being dad.

Jay-Z can be seen, briefly, as himself, sometimes in a private jet, in the current #1 movie, starring his wife, the billionaire. And in the film you see why.

Showtimes at beyoncefilm.com.

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