Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), better known by his stage name Jay-Z (sometimes stylized JAY Z), is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, and investor. He is one of the most financially successful hip-hop artists and entrepreneurs in America. In 2012, Forbes estimated Carter's net worth at nearly $500 million. He has sold approximately 50 million albums worldwide, while receiving seventeen Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations. Consistently ranked as one of the greatest rappers of all-time, he was ranked #1 by MTV in their list of The Greatest MCs of All-Time in 2006. Two of his albums, Reasonable Doubt (1996) and The Blueprint (2001), are considered landmarks in the genre with both of them being ranked in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
In July of 2013 Jay-Z released a song called "Heaven" on his Magna Carta album. The song expresses Jay-Z's lack of religion and disagreement with Christianity and Islam. A very religious person would likely consider the lyrics blasphemous. Michael Stipe was thrilled that Jay-Z chose to sample "Losing My Religion." While the song would have you believe Jay-Z has lost his faith due to the fact that he calls himself a heretic and refers to himself as God, Hov would be classified as a deist like many of America's founding fathers. In an interview with Angie Martinez of Hot 97 he said, "I of course believe in God, but I believe in one God. If people must know my religious beliefs, I believe in one God. I don’t believe in religion. I don’t believe in Christians or Muslims. I think all that separates people. I think it’s one God. I think it’s all the same God, and I don’t believe in Hell."
In "Heaven" Jay-Z refers to himself as "secular" and a "heretic." He says that religion creates division and that we should question religion and existence.
Have you ever been to heaven?
Have you ever seen the gates?
Have you bowed unto your highness?
And do you know how heaven taste?
Knock me down
Arm, leg, leg, arm, head -- this is God body
Knowledge, wisdom, freedom, understanding -- we just want our equality
Food, clothing, shelter -- help a nigga find some peace
Happiness for a gangsta, ain't no love in these streets
Conspiracy theorist screaming Illuminati
They can't believe this much skill is in the human body
He's 6'2, how the fuck he fit in a new Bugatti?
Aw fuck it you got me
Question religion, question it all
Question existence until them questions are solved
Meanwhile this heretic I be out in Marrakesh
Morocco smoking hashish with my fellowship
Y'all dwell on devil shit, I'm in a Diablo
Yellow shit, color of Jell-O shit
Hello bitch, it's me again
Fresh in my Easter clothes feeling like Jesus and
That's me in the corner
That's me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Getting ghost in the Ghost
Can you see me? Can you see me?
Have mercy on a Judas, angel wings on a 'ghini
I'm secular, tell the hecklers seckle down
Y'all religion creates division
Like my Maybach partition, and
God is my chauffeur
Boy they love Hova
From the south side of Chi
To Brooklyn where I growed up
I confess, God in the flesh
Live among the serpents
Turn arenas into churches
I'm like Michael, recycle, these are not 16's
These are verses from the Bible
Tell that preacher he's a preacher
I'm a motherfucking prophet, smoke a tree of knowledge
Drink from a gold chalice, you gotta love it
I arrive at the pearly gates, I had luggage
Meaning I had baggage
Niggas asking me questions, I don't answer to these busters
Only God could judge us, motherfuckers, uh
Heaven or Hell
The cards we been dealt
Are the cards that we play
Die for what you believe,
Only one god recedes
When the shots spray