Who Is The Best Rapper Alive?
Different people will have different answers to the question "Who is the best rapper alive?" There is no definitive answer to this question since it largely depends on personal preference. However, if you're looking at objective figures, such as the number of hit records and wealth, the best rapper alive is arguably Jay-Z.
Background: One of today's most famous and richest rappers started out in very humble surroundings. Jay-Z, named Shawn Carter, was born in 1969 in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City. Growing up without a father in the Marcy Projects, Jay-Z turned to the streets to support himself as a street hustler and rapper. Initially known as "Jazzy" in the neighborhood, he shortened his nickname to Jay-Z and was part of a group called "Original Flavor" for a short time. Jay-Z's business acumen was evident right from the start, when he took the bold move to create his own label rather than rap for an established label and play by their rules. Together with Damon Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke, he started Roc-a-Fella Records and signed a deal with Priority Records to be Roc-a-Fella Records' distributor.
Rap Career: In 1996, Jay-Z released his debut album, "Reasonable Doubt." "Reasonable Doubt" featured collaborations with Foxy Brown, Mary J. Blige and Notorious B.I.G. Jay-Z's second album, "In My Lifetime, Vol. 1," was released the next year, distributed by Def Jam and executive produced by Sean Combs. 1998's "Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life," featuring hits such as "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" and "Can I Get A..." furthered Jay-Z's popularity and fame with mainstream America and cemented his status as one of hip hop's most appealing stars. Jay-Z would continue to spit out hit records through the years. By the end of 2010, Jay Z had made Billboard's 200 Albums of the Year Chart ten times, the Billboard's Hot 100 Songs of the Year Chart five times and the Billboard's Top Artists of the Year Chart twice. His song "Empire State of Mind," featuring the vocals of Alicia Keys, hit number one quickly after it was released in 2009 and spawned many imitations on the Internet. Jay-Z has more number one albums than even Elvis Presley. It's not just music buyers who think that Jay-Z is the best rapper alive. In 2010, "Rolling Stone" magazine proclaimed Jay-Z king of the hip-hop industry.
Executive: Jay-Z is one of those rare musicians who have been able to turn his record success into a business empire. As president of Def Jam Records, he has guided young talents such as Rihanna and Young Jeezy. In 2010, he had an estimated net worth of $450 million. "Forbes" magazine predicted that Jay-Z would make the 400 richest list in 2015.