Jay Z Hairstyles

Afro and Free-form Dreadlocks

Jay Z began his natural hair journey roughly two or three years ago. It initially featured an Afro before slowly evolving into free-form dreadlocks with congos, where multiple dreads fuse. Over time, however, his style became increasingly more refined.

Barber Relationship

Johnny Castellanos, professionally known as Johnny Cakes, regularly flies out to meet with Jay Z as part of their relationship. They’ve leveraged it into an acclaimed barbershop business and celebrity clientele base.

Short Haircut

Shawn Corey Carter, commonly known as Jay-Z, is one of America’s most successful hip-hop artists and entrepreneurs. He is a master trendsetter known for embracing alternative fashion trends, ranging from low-top fades to the now legendary freeform locs. Here are some of his more unconventional hairstyles throughout his career.

Johnny Castellanos

Johnny Castellanos, better known as Johnny Cake, has been part of Jay Z’s entourage for over two decades and can often be found traveling alongside him during tours, photo shoots, or photo sessions.

Jay-Z’s Iconic Look

Early this year, Jay-Z was seen sporting a shorter haircut, a black fedora hat, and a white tank top while out for lunch. The combination gave off an entirely different impression – something likely intentional and certainly one of his most iconic looks to date!

Buzz Cut

The buzz cut is a timeless style suitable for men of any age and skin tone. Easy to maintain and ideal for creating an easy yet effective style statement, the buzz cut can add sophistication while remaining low maintenance.

Johnny Castellanos’ Role

Jay Z has made keeping his hair in top condition an essential aspect of his brand and uses Johnny Castellanos, an established barber, to cut it regularly. Johnny Castellanos has leveraged their relationship into a successful career, now traveling twice weekly to Jay Z’s Manhattan office for haircuts.

Shawn Carter

Shawn Carter, also known as Jay Z, is an iconic American rapper and entrepreneur. He co-founded the record label Roc Nation and has sold over 100 million albums worldwide. In addition to his musical achievements, he is also an experienced investor and philanthropist.

Loc’ed Hairstyle

Jay Z’s introduction of locs was quite an unexpected shock to many as he had only previously worn low-top fades. His decision to grow out his hair may have been an act of appreciation for Jean Michel Basquiat and his work.

Versatile Locs

Locs are versatile protective hairstyles that can be worn in various styles. Perfect for curlier textures as they lock faster than braids or weaves, locs also help maintain moisture in the scalp and hair shaft.

High Wrapped Ponytail

One of the most fashionable ways to wear locs is with a high-wrapped ponytail. To achieve this look, create a ponytail at the crown of your head and wrap two or three locs around it. You can add drama by curling your locs in spiral patterns using Aethiopika Hydrate and Twist Butter before shaping them into spirals using flexi or perm rods.


Jay Z is a Rastafarian who believes dreadlocks help retain energy within the head and provide protection from harm. Dreadlocks have become popular due to the influence of reggae music icons like Bob Marley and American football defensive backs who wear them during competitions.

Suitable hair Textures

Anyone can wear dreadlocks, but certain hair textures tend to lend themselves more quickly than others to this style. Curly and kinky locks typically grow spirals, making forming tight dreadlocks easier. Additionally, curly or kinky tresses don’t tangle as easily as straight locks, often attracting black customers at salons specializing in them. However, this has led to accusations of cultural appropriation as some salons focus exclusively on them for black clients only. Patience is required for anyone hoping to achieve this look, as the locks may take two to three years to reach the required length.