Shawn Carter, or Jay-Z

image for Shawn Carter, or Jay-Z
Exhibition Label
Jay-Z is a rapper, writer, producer, and entrepreneur whose life reflects the rise of hip-hop to the epicenter of global popular culture. Raised in a Brooklyn housing project, Shawn Carter was at first called "Jazzy," and it morphed into Jay-Z. Like a jazz musician, he improvises all his raps when recording, and his strength is his flow—his fast, smooth wordplay and flow of ideas. Carter's stage persona as Jay-Z mixes his past as a drug dealer from the ’hood—"Bed-Stuy was my country / Brooklyn my planet," he raps—with the swagger of a Rockefeller (his clothing line is called Roc-a-Fella). He represents a millennial synthesis of American culture’s love of outlaws, who live in opposition to social approval, with its love of extreme wealth, which insulates a person from everyday pressures. What happens when an inner-city party music and political forum becomes the soundtrack of global capitalism? Jay-Z’s "Hard Knock Life" is the "ghetto anthem" of these ironies.
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
2003 (printed 2010)
Object number
NPG.2010.40
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Bill and Sally Wittliff
Culture
Shawn Corey Carter: American\African American
Artist
Dan Winters, born 1962
Sitter
Shawn Corey Carter, born 4 Dec 1969
Topic
Costume\Headgear\Hat
Shawn Corey Carter: Male
Shawn Corey Carter: Business and Finance\Businessperson\Executive\Motion Pictures
Shawn Corey Carter: Business and Finance\Businessperson\Entrepreneur\Music
Shawn Corey Carter: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer\Rap
Portrait
Medium
Digital pigment print
Dimensions
Image: 45 x 34.8 cm (17 11/16 x 13 11/16")
Sheet: 50.9 x 40.7 cm (20 1/16 x 16")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9 cm (28 x 22")
National Portrait Gallery
Restrictions & Rights
© Dan Winters Photography
Type
Photograph