“The truth in my verses versus your metaphors about what your net worth is,” raps Jay-Z on ‘Versus’, from his Samsung-backed new album Magna Carta Holy Grail, and while hip hop artists calling each other out in rhymes that flaunt their lavish lifestyles is a concept as old as the genre itself, it turns out that Jay-Z can actually put his money where his mouth is.
Inspired by the music and business mogul’s lyric, Bloomberg Businessweek conducted an investigation into the lifestyles of the bling and the famous to see if the man born Shawn Carter could live up to his financial boasts in comparison to other successful rappers.
Using lyrics from a dozen artists to determine their actual net worth compared to what they claim in song and verse, Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Allison McCann cross-referenced Forbes wealth reports from last year – namely “Cash Kings of Hip Hop” and “Forbes Five” – and came up with the following ‘rap’ sheet.
(Click to enlarge source: Bloomberg Businesweek)
The results demonstrate that while Jay-Z may exaggerate about his net worth a little, it’s nothing compared to the porkies that other rappers are boasting about in song.
Latino rapper Pitbull is the worst fibber, regularly bragging about his high-flying lifestyle and bank figures, when his net worth as of last year is US$ 9.5 million. The loud-mouthed Nicki Minaj isn’t much better, bragging about earning ‘billions’ when in fact 2012 saw her raking in earnings of US$ 15.5 million. Nothing to sniff at to be sure, but nothing compared to Jay-Z’s $475 million net worth, she is indeed using metaphors compared to her actual wealth.
So when Hova rapped on Kanye West’s ‘So Apalled’ (from his 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), “I lost 30 mil, so I spent another 30/Cause unlike (MC) Hammer, 30 million can’t hurt me” – you best believe it.
Interestingly, the chart also shows that rap veteran Dr. Dre is far more humble about his net worth, only claiming a few million in the bank on his albums when in fact his production work and Beats By Dre empire puts the good doctor at around US$ 350 million.
Jay-Z will no doubt continue with his humble bragging on song following the $20 million deal with Korean smartphone company Samsung, who purchased a million copies of Magna Carta Holy Grail ahead of its release date to give away to Samsung Galaxy users – a move that also prompted the RIAA to change its Gold and Platinum certification rules.
But shortly after unveiling the album artwork for his twelfth studio album in an exhibit with the real-life Magna Carta, angry Samsung users were venting online over their frustrations with a not-so-smooth album launch, while Magna Carta Holy Grail leaked online.
Botched album roll-out or no, the Nirvana-referencing, Justin Timberlake and Beyonce-featuring blockbuster album will no doubt see Jay-Z laughing all the way to the bank once again.