Rapper Jay-Z is experiencing a golden moment. First, he recently became the subject of a thorough retrospective exhibit at the Brooklyn Public Library, which celebrates his life and work. And now, he has made history as the first Black man to have at least 10 double-platinum solo studio albums.
According to People, the achievement came after the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) recently updated its certifications. The change made The Blueprint 3 (2009), his 11th studio album, reach double-platinum status after earning 2 million album-equivalent sales. As for his famed The Black Album (2003), the update made it earn quadruple-platinum status. With this, the Brooklyn rapper's overall album sales have surpassed 33.5 million.
On top of being the first Black male recording artist to achieve this, he was the second Black artist overall to reach this milestone. The first to do it? Mariah Carey. Considered the most successful Black female solo artist of all time, Carey has over 11 albums that have sold more than 2 million copies in the U.S. alone. With this, she became the first Black person overall to get double-digit multi-platinum album status.
Whitney Houston and Beyoncé are the next ones closest to joining this list. In her career, Whitney Houston scored seven multi-platinum albums, while the Renaissance star has six so far. Given how much of a prolific artist Beyoncé is, it wouldn't be surprising for her to obtain the same milestone as her husband Jay-Z.
Born Shawn Corey Carter, Jay-Z began his career in 1986. On top of his storied career as a rapper and producer, he is the founder and chairman of entertainment company Roc Nation. The marriage of his artistic and business endeavors boosted him to become the first hip-hop billionaire in 2019; and according to CNBC, his net worth of $2.5 billion makes him the wealthiest musical artist in the world.
About his rise to the top, he recalled how the path was for him during an interview with Forbes in 2010. “My first album didn't come out until I was 26, so I had a bit more maturity,” he said. “The album had all these emotions and complexities and layers that a typical hip-hop album didn't have if you were making it at 16, 17 years old. That isn't enough wealth of experience to share with the world. I had so much wealth to share with the world at that time, and I've never forgotten those things, like you say. You never forget those true things that you stick to, your basic things that make you successful.”