Shawn”Jay-Z” Carter has transcended from corner hustler to entertainment industry mogul, amassing a fortune of $450 million, according to Forbes. Now he’s a NY best-seller.
He has become a household name even Oprah–once a staunch critic–now respects. In fact, he recently credited the talk show host with inspiring his latest venture, Decoded (Spiegel & Grau, $35), a book which was released earlier this month. The 300-page read highlights his experiences, from Marcy Projects to the White House, and dissects metaphors and symbolism in his lyrics. The book is now #3 on the NY bestselling list. Here are a few quotes from the book and what you can learn from Carter’s insights.
LESSON: Learn to turn stagnation into motivation and reinvent yourself to reassess your professional attractiveness. See yourself as your own worst enemy and your best competition to continue fueling your fire for progression, whether in business or professionally.
LESSON: Giving to charity can have its perks, such as tax breaks and other incentives; but it also helps communities in which a business serves or where its clients dwell
LESSON: When no major label would give him a record deal, Carter decided to start Rocafella Records in 1998 with friends Kareem Biggs and Damon Dash [ pictured above]. Under that label, he released his first album, Reasonable Doubt, which has been listed among Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and is considered by many to be a hip hop classic. He went on to sell more than 50 million albums worldwide.
LESSON: Branding oneself, whether a professional or a company, is key to ensuring longevity in a chosen industry or field. Savvy entrepreneurs, such as Fubu founder and self-made millionaire Daymond John, live by the adage that proper branding is vital in remaining relevant and profitable, and the process is a never-ending one.
LESSON: Carter was infamously known for including a mention of Cristal champagne in his songs. But after what he considered racist remarks by Cristal’s managing director, Frederic Rouzand, the rap star led a boycott of the brand, instead shifting his support to Armand de Brignac (also known as the Ace of Spades champagne). This luxury champagne (at $300 per bottle for the Brut Gold) has since risen to become the #1 champagne in the world, and has gained popularity among club-goers and celebrities including Russell Simmons, the New York Yankees, and Samuel Jackson.
LESSON: Be sure to remain open-minded and well-versed on various topics so that you can have engaging conversations. This could lead to lucrative partnerships, deals, and insights. For more on making great connections.