Jay-Z Turns 48 Today

Rap mogul Jay-Z turns 48 years old today.

Jay-Z dropped his first studio album in summer 1996. ‘Reasonable Doubt’ would become the first of many platinum records recorded by the rapper, producer, business magnate and eventual hubby to Beyonce.

In the 21 years since he dropped that album, Jay-Z has been busy building an empire and a massive music catalog that consists of more than a dozen albums, appearances in more than half a dozen movies, clothing, accessories and much more.

He has also been instrumental in launching the careers of several other big-name artists, most notably perhaps, Rihanna.

That the Roc-A-Fella founder would make such an enormous impact on urban and pop culture is especially noteworthy because he entered the world on the very same day that civil rights took a major hit: Dec. 4, 1969 is also the date in which famed Illinois Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton was shot and killed by Chicago police in a highly controversial shooting.

Today, Hampton’s murder is widely considered the work of an elaborate, pre-planned assassination.

Happy Birthday Jay-Z, and hopefully many more to come!