Only a few weeks ago, Shawn Corey Carter (professionally known by his stage name Jay-Z), became the first ever hip-hop artist to earn the “billionaire” title. While only a handful of entertainers have earned such a successful net worth, Jay-Z’s fortune comes from much more than just his music. Besides his marriage to Queen B, the rapper has also succeeded in winning a total of 22 Grammy awards, is involved in real estate, clothing design for his company Rocawear, and running the successful record label Roc-A-Fella Records. Most find it safe to say his life is pretty impressive, yet it wasn’t always like this.

Before the New York City native set out on his musical career, he was living in a group home in Brooklyn. He didn’t have the easiest upbringing, being abandoned by his father at a young age and involving himself in a life of crime and drug dealing. In fact, one of his most famous stories is about the time he shot his own brother for stealing his jewelry. It’s one thing to be successful in life, but to come from nothing and make such a memorable name for yourself is a whole other level of achievement. The performer’s evolution into a respectable businessman and loving father does not go unnoticed. After meeting Jay in 2010, Warren Buffet had nothing but remarkable things to say: “[he] is teaching in a lot bigger classroom than I’ll ever teach in. For a young person growing up, he’s the guy to learn from.” It is safe to say that Jay-Z embodies Drake’s famous lyrics: “started from the bottom, now we’re here” (and by here, we mean Forbes’ Billionaire list).

All in all, I hope you found some inspiration in Mr. Carter’s story. As he says in his song Power, “Life is a trip so sometimes we gon’ stumble, You gotta go through pain in order to become you”. Although he made the insane decision to cheat on Beyoncé, it is safe to say that he’s still doing something right.

“Belief in oneself and knowing who you are, I mean, that’s the foundation for everything great” – Jay-Z at Oprah’s Master Class 2009