- Raised in Brooklyn, he took his stage name from the J and Z subway lines that ran in his neighborhood.
- Formed Roc-A-Fella Records with his manager, Damon Dash, and road manager and childhood friend Kareem "Biggs" Burke.
- A film crew followed his 1999 tour with DMX, Beanie Sigel and others for the documentary Backstage.
- He and Sean "Diddy" Combs donated $1 million to the Red Cross in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.
- Supported Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
- Cofounder of the clothing line Rocawear.
- Released the memoir Decoded in November 2010.