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Shawn Corey Carter, 4 December 1969, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. Raised in Brooklyn, Carter was a school friend of the Notorious B.I.G. He first started releasing records in the late 80s, part-financing his music by hustling. In 1990, he appeared on records by his close friend Jaz (The Originators) and Original Flavor (Can I Get Open), and later scored an underground hit single with 1995s In My Lifetime. Drawing on Jazs dealings with mercenary labels, Jay-Z set-up his own Roc-A-Fella imprint in 1996 with entrepreneur Damon Dash and Kareem Biggs Burke. His 1996 debut set, Reasonable Doubt, went on to achieve gold sales and produced the US number 50 pop single Aint No Nigga featuring future rap star Foxy Brown. The album, which reached US number 23 in July, attracted fans with a mixture of hard-hitting street lyrics and rhymes, epitomized by the collaboration with the Notorious...