Jay Z (Linocut Print)

  • Jay Z (Linocut Print)
  • Jay Z (Linocut Print)

A signed, hand carved, hand pressed Linocut print of Jay Z, limited to only 80 editions.

Shawn Corey Carter was born 4th December 1969; a smidge younger than me! He was born in the rough neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York City, to a single mother and an absent father. His mother recalls young Shawn disturbing his siblings at night by banging out drumbeats on the kitchen table, so she bought him a boom box for his birthday - thereby igniting a lifelong passion. Jay-Z’s stage name was derived from his neighbourhood nickname Jazzy; in 2013 he dropped the hyphen and then in 2017 he brought it back and also capitalised it, making it JAY-Z.

In 1995, Jay-Z co-founded the record label Roc-A-Fella Records and the following year released his classic debut album, "Reasonable Doubt". He was incredibly prolific, going on to produce at least one album per year until 2003, and a total of 13 in all. He also developed a large portfolio of business ventures and investments, including the entertainment company, Roc Nation, the clothing line Rocawear, and a stake in the New Jersey Nets of the National Basketball Association - which he later helped relocate to his hometown of Brooklyn.

In 2013, Time magazine named Jay Z as being one of the 100 most influential people in the world. With over 140 million records sold he is one of the world's best-selling music artists, and has received 24 Grammy Awards. In 2017, JAY-Z became the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, then in 2021 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The lyrics I’ve paraphrased in my print were taken from JAY-Z’s 2017 song, “Smile”, which is the third and longest track on his 13th album. In the track, he reminisces on bad life experiences and considers how they helped shape his future for the better. The track also features JAY-Z’s Mum, Gloria Carter, whose homosexuality is publicly revealed during the song.

JAY-Z is widely considered to be the most successful rapper and influential hip-hop artist of all time. He has been a mentor and launched numerous careers, including those of Kanye West and Rihanna. But more than that, his is a real rags to riches story; growing up in Brooklyn to a single Mum, he's now a billionaire businessman worth (at time of writing) $1.3B and married to R&B diva, Beyoncé. He’s been a beacon of hope to young people growing up in poverty; particularly those of colour.

This design is a signed, handprinted, limited edition of only 80 prints. As with all handmade items, each one will vary slightly, making it completely unique.

It is printed with water-based ink on Ho-Sho, an off white Japanese printmaking paper, measuring 280 x 395mm. The image itself is A4 in size.