In a previous post, I presented evidence that in the sixth grade, Jay Z had a 12th grade reading level.
In 2009, Jay Z told The Guardian:
It actually challenges me, it’s exciting to me, that’s the thing about being in music – I like swimming upstream. If I didn’t have to, I’d probably lose interest. It’s like being at school – when I was in 6th grade I was reading on a 12th-grade level. I lost my interest, I think that’s one of the reasons I didn’t graduate high school – it wasn’t interesting to me. As long as I’m being challenged, it’s exciting.
Although you have to be very skeptical about what public figures claim, the fact that Jay Z’s sixth grade teacher is also on record claiming the same thing gives the anecdote more credibility.
The term “12th grade reading level” is a bit confusing because the average American adult, who has more than a 12th grade education, reads at only an 8th grade level. I assume this is because in the early 20th century, only the best and brightest got a 12th grade education, but once high school became democratized, despite the Flynn effect, they had to dumb it down to the point where 12th graders were reading 8th grade material.
So when Jay Z and his teacher claim he was reading at the 12th grade level in the sixth grade, I don’t know whether they meant he was reading at what is traditionally understood as 12th grade level, which would imply a breathtaking IQ of 147, or whether they simply mean he was reading like today’s average 12th grader, which would imply a more believable IQ of 135. A third possibility is that Jay Z was simply reading at the level of the barely literate 12th graders at his dysfunctional school, but I doubt that would have been worth bragging over.
One reason for thinking Jay Z’s IQ is not above 135 (at least not as measured by scholastic tests) is that he apparently dropped out of high school and thus did not take the SAT. According to the book The Bell Curve:
The higher the ability level, the higher the proportion of students who take the SAT. At the 700 level and beyond, the proportion approaches 100 percent and probably has been so since the early 1960s…That is, almost all 17-year-olds who would score 700 if they took the SAT do in fact take the SAT at some point in their high school career, either because of their own ambitions, their parents’, or the urging of their teachers and guidance counselors. It is therefore possible to think about the students who score in the 700s on the SAT as a proportion of all 17-year-olds, not just as a proportion of the SAT pool.
Thus the fact that Jay Z did not apparently write the SAT, arguably puts a ceiling of 700 on the verbal score he would have obtained had he done so. When Jay Z was 17 in 1986, a verbal score of 700 was obtained by only 0.88% of 17-year-olds, equating to an IQ of 136 (U.S. norms) or 134 (white norms).
Of course it’s always possible that Jay Z was one of those freak cases of a super gifted person who slipped through the cracks, but listening to him talk, you don’t get the sense that he’s quite that brilliant. Indeed this video, where he chats with Warren Buffet and a journalist from Forbes, shows how the upper class patronize him oh so gently, and shows how he is welcomed into the elite, only as a curiosity, and not as a true equal.
Of course, a lot of that has to do with socialization, not innate ability. Humans are social animals and Jay Z has been surrounded by low IQ people his whole life, so it’s not surprising his speech patterns would mimic stupidity, even if he’s genetically quite brilliant.
Speaking of genetics, it seems Jay Z has passed on his high IQ genes to his daughter. Okay! Magazine reports:
Blue Ivy Carter has definitely made her mark at her school, with her daily motorcade which has left other parents of the elite preschool upset, but she’s also got the brains! An insider told OKMagazine.com exclusively that proud parents Beyonce and Jay Z have been boasting loudly about their daughter’s very impressive intellect and believe she’s a genius!
The 3-year-old, who attends a prestigious school in Hollywood, has been excelling in music, which comes as no surprise since her famous parents are hip-hop royalty. She is “showing an understanding of octaves and major/minor keys,” the source said.
But that’s not all! Blue Ivy is also “showing very early signs of being a mathematic genius,” according to the insider.
“It was always a possibility as a lot of kids with innate musical talent are good at math too,” the source explained.
Jay and Bey have been so blown away, the source said, of Blue’s ability to count and read numbers at just 3 years old!
“Last month she was able to add up 1+1 and 1+2,” the insider added. “It’s incredible for a child her age.”
And since Blue is so bright, her doting parents want the best for her and are “having her tested for early signs of genius,” the insider revealed.
“Bey thinks she’s got more talent in her little finger than her and Jay together,” the source said.
Further evidence of Jay Z’s high IQ genes comes from The Globe and Mail which states that “Jay-Z inherited a photographic memory from his absentee father”