I wouldn’t say that rapper and entrepreneur Shawn, “Jay Z,” Carter and I are similar. I have never dealt drugs, I did not grow up in an outdated, public housing project and I have had a very stable home and family. However, I look up to him. It was not Jay Z’s music that originally sparked my interest, but rather something about his personality, some aura of coolness that radiates from his being, which I find to be so compelling. I remember watching him walk into Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration with his beautiful wife on his arm and such swagger, like it was his own event, like he knew he played a vital role in the election of our President. Jay Z is different from other rappers. I was watching a documentary on the preparation for his opening concerts for Brooklyn’s new Barclay’s Center. For one of his concerts he decided to take the subway instead of the usual entourage and convoy of vehicles. He allowed people to take his picture, he dapped people up, and more specifically, he sat next to an elderly woman, who clearly had no idea who he was, just to chat. Jay Z doesn’t change his persona, unlike Clark Kent in the famous Superman comic books; he is who he is on and off the stage, a Brooklyn native who still tries to enjoy the regularities of life. He is truly relatable to people of many different backgrounds, for he has experienced a variety of situations in life, as he has gone from poverty to extreme wealth, and that is something that I admire.
Yes, on Thursday, January 16th I will finally cross out ‘see Jay Z live’ on my bucket list, as Jigga Man is coming to town. Thanks to a wonderful Christmas present, I will be accomplishing absolutely nothing over the next several days, since every waking moment will be used to prepare for what is sure to be a momentous night. However, I can’t forget about my blog, something that I am thoroughly enjoying thus far. What better way to incorporate the two then to have, what I’m calling, Jay Z week? In honor of Hova’s concert, I will be blogging not just about the businessman, but the business, man! (Get it? Check out Kanye West’s “Sierra Leone” if you don’t) for the entire week.
According to Forbes , Jay Z is the hip-hop industry’s second wealthiest entertainer with an estimated net worth of $475 million. The mogul owns an entertainment/ record label company called Roc Nation, 40/40 Club, a stake in the recently constructed Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York, and a sports management company named Roc Nation Sports. Beyond the music industry, Jay Z has built a reputable brand that has become marketable in many different areas of commerce.
On a basic level, businesses undergo four stages of life: start-up, growth, maturity, and decline. Start-ups are businesses that are fairly new. They require a large investment, effort, time and energy to make it a stable and profiting enterprise. Often times, the executive of the start-up uses his own funds to keep the business afloat. During the growth stage, the business is stable and their market is increasing. It can also use its own resources to function instead of seeking out investors for support. Since it is still an infant enterprise, though, support may be needed in terms of manufacturing and distribution. At the point of maturity, a stable influx of profits is attained, the firm is well known and respected, and an increased effort in marketing or rebranding is needed to increase profits. And lastly, decline occurs when the firm sees shrinkage in their market and costs are cut to preserve profits. Although it is fair to say that there has not been a decline in the popularity of Jay Z, as a financial entity, I believe his entrepreneurial career has followed this path. Stay tuned this week as I talk about each of these stages. I leave you with my favorite song off of his latest album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, “Holy Grail”: