It's been nearly four years since Jay Z's last album. Here's what he's been up to.
It's been nearly four years since Jay Z released Magna Carta Holy Grail (as a Samsung exclusive). Since then, he's preoccupied himself with his myriad business interests, and it's unclear where he stands musically. He's in the victory lap stage of his rap career—in February, he became the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriting Hall of Fame—and he likely stands to gain less from putting out another album than focusing on preserving his legacy.
Given this week's speculation that Hov may be plotting the release of his 13th studio album this summer, it's time to recap his movements over the course of the last 46 months.
Invested heavily in new businesses
A brief recap of Jay's most notable business moves of the last four years:
- Partnered with Cohiba to create his own line of cigars.
- Invested a JetSmarter, the "Uber for private jets"
- Invested $200 million in the high-end wine and spirits company Armand de Brignac and launched A2, an $850 bottle of champagne.
- Launched a venture capital fund.
Leaving only the boldest move of his career:
In early 2015, Jay Z acquired the Swedish streaming company Aspiro for $56 million and, with the financial support of dozens of major artists, including Beyonce, Lil Wayne, J. Cole, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, & Rihanna, launched the high-fidelity streaming platform TIDAL.
TIDAL's $20/month price point and emphasis on exclusivity (the vast majority of Jay Z's catalogue is no longer available on Apple Music or Spotify) have nauseated millions of music consumers, and the company has been plagued by a near-constant turnover of leadership, lawsuits, and massive net losses. But ultimately, Jay Z's power play has paid off. In January, he sold a third of TIDAL's stake to Sprint; that same month, the company was valued at $600 million.
Recorded a handful of verses
- Justin Timberlake - Murder" feat. Jay Z
- Justin Timberlake - "Suit and Tie" feat. Jay Z
- Drake - "Pound Cake" feat. Jay Z
- Just Blaze & Baauer - "Higher" feat. Jay Z
- Timbaland - "Know Bout Me" feat. Jay Z, Drake, & James Fauntleroy
- Beyonce - "Drunk in Love" feat. Jay Z
- Daft Punk - "Computerized" feat. Jay Z
- Rick Ross - "The Devil Is A Lie" feat. Jay Z
- Rick Ross - "Movin' Bass" feat. Jay Z
- DJ Khaled - "They Don't Love You No More" feat. Jay Z, Meek Mill, Rick Ross, & French Montana
- Jeezy - "Seen It All" feat. Jay Z
- Jay Electronica - "We Made It" (Freestyle) feat. Jay Z
- Fat Joe & Remy Ma - "All The Way Up" (Remix) Feat. Jay Z & French Montana
- Drake - "Pop Style" feat. Jay Z & Kanye West
- Pusha T - "Drug Dealers Anonymous" feat. Jay Z
- DJ Khaled - "I Got The Keys" feat. Future & Jay Z
Partnered with Harvey Weinstein to produce for TV and film
Last September, Jay Z signed a deal with Hollywood power broker Harvey Weinstein "to produce both scripted and unscripted television projects and film projects. Though his precise roles in these projects is unclear, he has already released a docu-series on Kalief Browder and announced a feature film and docu-series on Trayvon Martin and a film adaption of Lin-Manuel Miranada's Broadway play "In the Heights." He has also used the partnership as a platform to host discussions about criminal justice reform.
Tended to family affairs
Beyonce's 2016 album Lemonade sparked an online witchhunt for "Becky with the good hair," the woman with whom Jay Z evidently carried out an extramarital affair. The album also strengthened theories that Hov's betrayal prompted Solange to physically attack him in an elevator at a Met Gala afterparty in 2014.
From a distance, it appears that Jay and Bey were able to patch things up. They renewed their wedding vows a few months after the elevator incident. Their daughter, Blue Ivy, is now five years old. In February, Beyonce revealed that she is pregnant with twins.