Shawn Carter was born December 4, 1969, but it seems like just yesterday that the man who his native Marcy Projects christened Jay-Z began his quest to take over rap in 1996 with his classic debut Reasonable Doubt. Obviously, he has done just that. After clearing nearly every musical hurdle in front of him, it seems that this past year, Hov exhibited the most growth — and he didn’t even put an album out.
The road to 43 started off with a bang on January 7, as Jay became a father for the first time with the birth and he and Beyoncé’s bouncing baby girl Blue Ivy Carter . Just days later he toasted to daddy’s little girl and featured some of her first cries on “Glory,” the only solo single he’s released in 2012.
Last year Hov pondered the possibility of him releasing an 11th solo album and a second Watch the Throne LP in 2012, but would go on to admit to MTV News that fatherhood kept him out of the studio , but it didn’t diminish his hustle, not one bit.
On February 6, Jigga donned a black tux and strutted out onto the Carnegie Hall stage for the first of two unprecedented benefit concerts in the famed NYC concert hall. In May, he announced that he would be curating and headlining his first music festival, Budweiser’s Made in America and in September after the music fest, he and B raised $4 million for President Obama’s campaign with a party at the Manhattan’s 40/40 Club.
That same month at that same club, Jay held a release party for the “NBA 2K13″ video game, which he executive produced (another notch on his designer belt) and while he walked the carpet at that particular party, Hov said that he had no interest in entering the political arena . “I don’t even like the word politics,” he told us.
Yet still, there was Jay-Z (and the Boss, Bruce Springsteen) campaigning with the POTUS in Columbus, Ohio, during the last day of his run before he was re-elected to office on November 6.
Even with all of the milestones he reached this year, the God MC’s 42nd year will forever be remembered as the global icon’s return to his native Brooklyn with the NBA’s Nets and their fancy new home. On September 29, Jay officially opened the doors to BK’s Barclays Center with the first of eight sold-out concerts . MTV News was on hand when Hov opened with his 1997 Crooklyn anthem “Where I’m From” and closed with an emotional rendition of his 2009 single “Young Forever.”
Sixteen years into his career, Jay-Z still stands as the game’s #1 rap draw and not have to release an album. Yes, he may be 43 years old today, but my, has Young Hov grown.
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