I picked up this book and honestly didn’t know what to expect. I’ve been a Jay-Z fan since the beginning and know his music like the back of my hand but what I didn’t know was the business side of things, the things that are not publicized in the media, why and how such things happened the way they did. This book is a different perspective from the rapper we all know and admire, it starts from the beginning to present day. After reading in the first few pages of the book, it states that Jay-Z did not agree to participate in the making of this book (in return he released his own book, Decoded), I was curious of how it would play out and how Zack O’Malley Greenburg, the book’s author, would push forward.
Some of main topics revolve his business dealings with Live Nation, Def Jam, New Jersey Nets, Jeep, Armand de Brignac and more. Upon finishing the book, you will realize that Greensburg went above and beyond to make this book a success despite not having Jay-Z participate. In total, he says he interviewed over “70 people who have interacted with Jay-Z personally or professionally”. Its informative, funny, shocking, and inspirational all at the same time. Jay-Z really made a way from himself and stepping out of the hip hop circle to do it was a smart move. A little over 10 years ago, he was just another “dope MC” and now look.
“My book aims to answer a simple question: how did Jay-Z rise from Brooklyn’s impoverished housing projects to a position as one of America’s most successful businessmen? The answer should be of interest to anybody interested in music, sports, or business—and to any entrepreneur in search of a blueprint for building something spectacular from the humblest of beginnings. Jay-Z’s story is the American dream in its purest form, and it’s a story I’m honored to tell—even if he didn’t want me to tell it.” –Zack O’Malley Greenburg
The only small gripe I have with this book is that it is from the outside looking in and you really can’t get a full feel of what goes on in Jay-Z’s mind as a businessman. If Jay-Z would have participated then I think that would have been captured easily. However, the book was still a good read and you will definitely learn a good amount about how big this guy really is outside of hip hop.
I just saw that this book will be one of the required readings for the new course, “Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z”, being offered at Georgetown in the near future taught by great author, Michael Eric Dyson.
Purchase Empire State of Mind