The Popdust 40: The World’s Greatest Pop Stars, From Big Bang to Justin Bieber

PD40 Jay Z

Posted by on 08/26/2012 at 10:07 PM

The Popdust Files: 2012 popdust 40

#17 Jay-Z

2011 Ranking: 13

What’s the guy who has already successfully retired, un-retired and created a timeless tourist anthem for his beloved hometown to do? Go back to the studio with his one-time protege for a massive collaborative album, among other things.

In a country still feeling the effects of a recession, long-time studio partners Jay-Z and Kanye West holed up in an Australian mansion to create 12 tracks of “luxury rap,” where the duo rhymed about Benzes, Basquiats and ballin’ so hard.

Such braggadocious creations beg big live performances, and Jay is enough of a perfectionist to delay tour dates—and risk momentarily disappointing his fans—to ensure he and ‘Ye could deliver greatness. The Watch The Throne tour treated audiences to flawless collection of hits, proving Jay and ‘Ye are cool enough to get away with playing the same song 11 times.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6CO1q3Ewrcw#!

After four years of marriage and still in awe of her greatness, Jay continues to turn to his wife for the occasional featured credit. (She takes the 10th spot in this year’s Popdust 40.)

PD40 Jay Z

Jay’s life’s work also now includes a baby girl, Blue Ivy. Born in January, the Notorious B.I.C. is already proving to be a great source of songwriting inspiration for her pops.

Fatherhood hasn’t stood in the way of his business projects, though, as the Barclays Center, future home of Jay’s Brooklyn Nets, plans to open its door this fall with Hov and his lyrics as the team’s unofficial mascots.

PD40 Jay Z

When he’s not in the studio lending verses to his friends or trading off diaper duty with his extremely famous wife, Jay is busy nurturing emerging talent. Rita Ora has become a top priority for the Roc Nation boss of late. In between pushing new acts, maintaining his endorsements and making sure New Yorkers have a proper place to watch a game and drink a beer, Hov continues to prove he still runs this town. Next stop: Washington, D.C.?

PD40 Jay Z

He’s already stanning for Barack Obama. In addition to his upcoming fundraiser for the incumbent, Hov publicly declared his support for Obama’s positive stance on gay marriage in May. His comments broke what’s typically been a longstanding silence on the issue within the hip-hop community and describing it as the right thing to do “as a human being.”

Blending his patriotism with his artistic side, Jay teamed up with Budweiser to create the first annual Made in America Festival, held in Philadelphia this September, which saw over 30 artists across an array of generes hold court in the City of Brotherly Love. The “surprise” guests? Kanye West and his G.O.O.D. Music crew.

Jay Z Budweiser Ad

Hov’s humble block party drew interest from Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard, who’s already begun post-production on a documentary about the event.

Jay-Z Ron Howard Watch The Throne

It’s just the latest Hollywood project on deck for Jay, who can be seen in an upcoming documentary on the making of 2011′s Watch The Throne, and will compose original music for the the musical movie remake of Annie, starring Willow Smith.

Kanye West Jay Z Watch The Throne Documentary

All this sets him up nicely to continue to be a part of our lives for the next few years, whether its sitting courtside at a Nets game or on the red carpet at an awards show.

Kanye West Jay Z Watch The Throne Documentary

And if that’s not enough, there’s always the option to live vicariously through his very public date nights.

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