How did Jay-Z get his name?

Jay-Z was born Shawn Corey Carter.

His interest in music was sparked when his mother bought him a boom box for his birthday. He then began freestyling and writing lyrics and was known as "Jazzy" around their neighborhood.

In 1990, Jaz-O (the Originator), best known as Carter's mentor, had a song called "The Originators" that featured a young Jay-Z. Carter later adopted the showbiz/stage name "Jay-Z" in homage to his mentor.

Jay-Z was formerly stylized as Ja├┐-Z, Jay Z, and Jay:Z. He dropped the hyphen in 2013 and added it back in 2017.