“I’m not a businessman—I’m a business, man.” —Jay Z
As much as Martha Stewart or Oprah—and perhaps more than any musician—Jay Z has turned himself into a lifestyle. You can wake up to the local radio station playing his newest hit, spritz yourself with his latest cologne, slip on a pair of his Rocawear jeans, lace up your Reebok S. Carter sneakers, watch baseball star Robinson Cano smack a couple of hits in an afternoon game, and grab dinner at The Spotted Pig. On the way to Jay Z’s 40/40 Club for a D’Ussé cognac nightcap, sign up for streaming service Tidal and hear his latest collaboration with Beyoncé. He’ll profit at every turn of your day.
Empire State of Mind reveals the story behind Jay Z’s rise as told by the people who lived it with him, from classmates at Brooklyn’s George Westinghouse High School and the childhood friend who got him into the drug trade, to the DJ who persuaded him to stop dealing and focus on the music. Now with new interviews with industry insiders like Russell Simmons, Alicia Keys, and J. Cole—more than one hundred in total—this book explains just how Jay Z propelled himself from the bleak streets of Brooklyn to the heights of the business world.
About Empire State of Mind
“I’m not a businessman-I’m a business, man.” –Jay-Z
Some people think Jay-Z is just another rapper. Others see him as just another celebrity/mega-star. The reality is, no matter what you think Jay-Z is, he first and foremost a business. And as much as Martha Stewart or Oprah, he has turned himself into a lifestyle.
You can wake up to the local radio station playing Jay-Z’s latest hit, spritz yourself with his 9IX cologne, slip on a pair of his Rocawear jeans, lace up your Reebok S. Carter sneakers, catch a Nets basketball game in the afternoon, and grab dinner at The Spotted Pig before heading to an evening performance of the Jay-Z-backed Broadway musical Fela! and a nightcap at his 40/40 Club. He’ll profit at every turn of your day.
But despite Jay-Z’s success, there are still many Americans whose impressions of him are foggy, outdated, or downright incorrect. Surprisingly to many, he honed his business philosophy not at a fancy B school, but on the streets of Brooklyn, New York and beyond as a drug dealer in the 1980s.
Empire State of Mind tells the story behind Jay-Z’s rise to the top as told by the people who lived it with him- from classmates at Brooklyn’s George Westinghouse High School; to the childhood friend who got him into the drug trade; to the DJ who convinced him to stop dealing and focus on music. This book explains just how Jay-Z propelled himself from the bleak streets of Brooklyn to the heights of the business world.
Zack O’Malley Greenburg draws on his one-on-one interviews with hip-hop luminaries such as DJ Clark Kent, Questlove of The Roots, Damon Dash, Fred “Fab 5 Freddy” Brathwaite, MC Serch; NBA stars Jamal Crawford and Sebastian Telfair; and recording industry executives including Craig Kallman, CEO of Atlantic Records. He also includes new information on Jay-Z’s various business dealings, such as:
*The feature movie about Jay-Z and his first basketball team that was filmed by Fab 5 Freddy in 2003 but never released. *The Jay-Z branded Jeep that was scrapped just before going into production. *The real story behind his association with Armand de Brignac champagne. *The financial ramifications of his marriage to Beyonce.
Jay-Z’s tale is compelling not just because of his celebrity, but because it embodies the rags-to-riches American dream and is a model for any entrepreneur looking to build a commercial empire.
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“Fascinating, well-done biography of one of the most extraordinary entrepreneurs of our era.” —Steve Forbes
“Greenburg has become one of the rare reporters to bring dignified coverage of the hip-hop business into the mainstream. Empire State of Mind is a pure product of Greenburg’s care and insight, an exploration of hip-hop’s most enigmatic mogul.” —Dan Charnas, author of The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop
“Greenburg follows the money and key pieces of the Jay Z puzzle in this insightful,savvy read. This book is like a GPS leading us through the modern urban realityof how Jay Z’s empire was built.” —Fab 5 Freddy, artist, hip-hop pioneer, and former host of Yo! MTV Raps
“A superb guide for your career, even if you are looking to be an investment banker or grocery store manager instead of a hip-hop legend.” —CNN.com