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Many try to tear him down but the platinum plus success of his latest album BP3 drawfs all the miniscule #’s of his haters combined. The fans have spoken. He is currently more popular and more relevant then all his detracters that use his name for press opportunities. Being the greatest or not, Jay-Z is on top of his game right now. Number one single, the queen of the Grammy nominations, Beyonce, as his wife, and a reputation as one of the key cultural figures in the world.  Jigga, who scored a third week at number one with New York anthem Empire State of Mind on Thursday, is now one of the coolest 40-somethings on the planet and, as he celebrates his birthday with his stunning wife Beyonce.

Hate of not, no one can discount Jay-Z’s impact on the world of music since “Reasonable Doubt” on to his latest, “Blueprint 3”.

12 fascinating facts about Shawn Carter:

– Born to Gloria Carter and Adnes Reeves on 4 December, 1969, Jay-Z is the youngest of four children.

– He went to the same high school as the late Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes.

– He began his music career as part of a local New York rap group called Original Flavor; he joined the crew with his childhood friend Jaz-O.

– He claims to be able to count the number of women he has slept with on one hand.

– Jay-Z wed his longtime love Beyonce on 4 April, 2008 in New York

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– He became the first non-athlete to have his own line of sneakers when he launched the S. Carter Collection in partnership with Reebok in 2005.

– While serving as president of Def Jam from 2004 to 2007, Jay-Z successfully launched the careers of Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Kanye West and Young Jeezy. His four proteges have all gone on to earn multiple Grammy nominations; the only one who’s yet to win the prestigious prize is Jeezy.

– He became part-owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team in 2005 after paying a whopping $4.5 million for his share. They plan to move the NBA team from their current home in East Rutherford, New Jersey, to his native Brooklyn, New York by 2011. Hopefully they will win a game by then.

– Jay-Z partnered with Budweiser in 2006 to serve as a brand director and oversee their TV and print campaigns.

– Jay-Z holds the record for the most number one albums in Billboard 200 chart history with 11. He surpassed Elvis Presley’s tally of 10 when The Blueprint 3 hit the top of the countdown in September (09). The only other artists who can boast the same accolade are the Beatles, who also have 11.

– Jay-Z has been nominated for an impressive 35 Grammy Awards in his career to date and has claimed eight. He has five Grammy nods for the January (10) awards.

– He is one of the big name producers behind new Broadway musical Fela!, joining forces with Hollywood couple Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith. The musical celebrates the work of late Nigerian star Fela Kuti.

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