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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Jay Hova the “Business, man”


Why Jay-Z is so successful

The mogul genius, Jay-Z, didn’t become a self-made billionaire overnight. Rappers nowadays follow a specific blueprint, one that Jay-Z has embodied since his first album, “Reasonable Doubt”: create a record label, deliver the best product, take the money from those album sales and invest it back into yourself.

Jay-Z, or Shawn Carter, isn’t the typical business man considering he used to sell crack outside of the Marcy Houses housing projects in Brooklyn. Let me emphasize that I am not endorsing drug dealers. I am endorsing reaching new heights and investing in yourself. Carter took that same drug money and invested all of it in his record label, Roc-A-Fella Records.

Carter has been laying out the blueprint for creating a constant flow of income since the mid 90s. Being an owner of companies is what Carter capitalizes on in building his empire. After opening the clothing brand Rocawear, he stated that he made $80 million in just 18 months in one of his platinum hits, “U Don’t Know,” “And if somebody woulda told ‘em that Hov’ would sell clothing, not in this lifetime, wasn’t in my right mind.”

It is vital as a businessman to understand how to create a passive income versus active income. The best way to explain passive income is imagining if a water faucet was constantly flowing with water. It takes little to no effort for the water to flow. Jay-Z has mastered the understanding of passive income.

ILLUSTRATION: Mitchell Shields ’22

“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man,” Jay-Z raps on the remix of Kanye West’s “Diamonds from Sierra Leone.”

Jay-Z has or had ownership in many different businesses and industries such as NBA teams, entertainment companies, streaming apps, alcoholic beverages, clothing lines and sports agencies. Don’t forget that he started out selling crack on the corners to make his pockets a little husky. There is no true finish line and there is no satisfaction with Shawn Carter.

He’s creating revenue with little to no effort and giving artists like J. Cole the blueprint for opening their own label.

Carter’s last album, “4:44,” highlighted many economical lessons in its lyrics as Brittany Hunter claims in her article, “Jay-Z: The Great Modern American Capitalist.” In the second song of the album, “The Story Of O.J.,” Carter speaks on some of the reasons why O.J. Simpson lost all of his fortunes.

More specifically, the article explains that Simpson was spending all his money to get away from the crime ridden area he grew up in. Because he lived a luxurious lifestyle with no investments, all his capital was lost due to all of his mishaps. Later in the song, Jay-Z raps about how buying, holding, then selling is a great way to gain capital.

“I bought some artwork for one million, two years later, that s— worth two million, few years later, that s— worth eight million, I can’t wait to give this s— to my children.”

Carter even speaks on market capitalism’s failures. Before gentrifying areas with higher than usual crime became a popular motive, Carter saw no reason to invest in his own area. In retrospect, he states that a building worth $2 million is now worth $25 million and he lacked the understanding of capitalism and social changes.

Hunter’s article explains that this verse, “Please don’t die over the neighborhood that your mama rentin.’ Take your drug money and buy the neighborhood. That’s how you rinse it,” has a solid point. Capitalism used for social change can and will be more effective than government intervention. Creating value and wealth from a product by selling it, then putting that money back into the community can make a huge difference in how much a community strives or struggles.

Investing in oneself and the community is a better alternative than having government intervention because nobody knows a community better than those living in it, the article states. Nonetheless, financial freedom is the only way to create opportunity for oneself and others.

This is why Jay-Z has become so successful; he has created immense wealth by initially investing in his own successes. It is worthwhile to take a page out of Jay-Z’s book of success and recognize the effective ways to better yourself and the community around you.

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