Home Gossip Jay-Z’s Empire State Of Mind: How To Build Black Wealth

Jay-Z’s Empire State Of Mind: How To Build Black Wealth


If you’ve ever dreamed of a house in the hills and a garage with a Beamer, Benz, or Bentley, you may have wondered what kind of work icons like Jay-Z put into making it happen. Jay’s journey from a “Hard-Knock Life” to his “Big Pimpin’” lifestyle is more than a dream. Here’s how he got there step-by-step and how you can follow the same blueprint.

-Adam Carpenter

Source: Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images / Getty


Whether it’s a pair of jeans or an oversized hoodie, chances are you’ve rocked Rocawear. The first Rocawear gear hit the streets in 1999 when Jay and partner Dame Dash teamed up to launch the iconic brand. Six years later, in 2005, Rocawear flexed sales of more than $700 million in that year alone. The upscale urban wear has laced the likes of David Beckham and his wife Victoria, as well as supermodel Naomi Campbell. All three A-list stars officially rep the Roc fam.
How You Can Start Your Own Business
Rocawear is so much more than the little fashion cousin of Roc-A-Fella records. Jay and Dash founded the company to fill a need: hip-hop couture for hip-hop culture. To follow in Jay’s footsteps, start a business that takes aim at a specific niche. Creating products or services specifically for Black and LatinX consumers who don’t always get a seat at the big business table may be an excellent place to start.

2011 Billboard Music Awards - Backstage And Audience

Source: Kevin Mazur / Getty

Fine Art

When Jay and Bey slid through the Louvre on a private tour in 2014, they put the world on notice. Their passion for art can’t stop, won’t stop. It comes as no surprise then that Mr. Carter has parlayed portraits into profits. In his private stash lie gems by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst. For Basquiat’s Mecca alone, Jay shelled out a cool $4.5 mil.
Bonnie likes art as much as Clyde, as she flosses a David Hammons in the background of her video for “7/11”. In the video, Beyoncé bounces around their $6.85 million pad with art on either side of her like backup dancers.
How You Can Master the Fine Art of Investing
Jay famously dropped the line, “Every life has to find its own flow.” So when it’s time to invest in art, follow an artist with their own flow. That was the power couple’s power move with Basquiat, Hirst, and Hammon. They’re artists who keep it real, refusing to bite off other creators. These are the voices that can put your stacks on stilts, even if you have to pay a bit more upfront.

Tina Knowles-Lawson & Jay-Z At Los Angeles Screening Of Queen & Slim

Source: Alex J. Berliner / AB Images LLC

High-End Champagne

Let’s be honest: you’d probably never heard of Cristal before Jay rapped about it—a trillion times. So of course Mr. Carter, with cheese for days, pairs well with wine, so to speak. His Armand de Brignac Champagne piles another $310 million onto his net worth. And one of the blinged-out gold bottles will run you around the same as Cristal: about $300.
How You Can Invest in the Beverage Biz
Think you have to go broke to bottle up your own bubbly? Nope. You can just take an existing beverage and remix it. Distilleries pump out barrels and barrels of booze, and all you have to do is slap your brand on their products. And you also don’t need a lot of liquid assets to create your own liquid courage. You can score your own liquor from a distillery, take advantage of bulk pricing, and then flip it for a profit.

Launch Of Rihanna's First Visual Autobiography, Rihanna

Source: Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty

Tidal Music Streaming Service

With Tidal, Jay-Z and his crew didn’t try to invent music streaming; they just switched it up a bit. And even though Tidal is definitely not Apple Music in terms of membership numbers, Jay-Z’s still laughing all the way to the bank with his $100 million stake in the biz. The funny thing is Jay only paid less than $60 million for Aspiro, the company behind Tidal. Now, its value clocks in at about $600 million. Yeah, that’s 10 times what he paid for it. Respect.

How You Can Bring In a Tidal Wave of Cash
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Just take something that’s already successful and put a new spin on it. And people love options: Burger King instead of McDonald’s. Lowes instead of Home Depot. Tidal instead of Spotify. Jay’s move worked because Spotify and Apple Music’s foray into the genre already proved there was a need. He just gave folks another option. So find a genre of business that’s already successful and replicate its model, putting just enough of a twist on it to make the product or service unique.

Roc Nation Entertainment Company

Mr. Sean Carter linked arms with Live Nation Entertainment’s Robert Sillerman to launch Roc Nation in 2008. Fast-forward a decade, and Roc Nation has a shiny $75 million valuation. The talent agency answers an uncomfortable question: Why are so many Black artists and sports figures controlled by white managers? Roc Nation keeps the money in the family, passing it from one Black hand to another.
How You Can Roc the Business World
Create a high-quality product or service that caters to the Black community. As Jay raps in “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” people will often reach into their pockets for your product “just to see one of us make it.” Everyone has to give their money to someone. For many, they feel a little better giving it to one of their own.

2019 Roc Nation THE BRUNCH - Inside

Source: Kevin Mazur / Getty

Ownership Stake in Uber

Every time you take an Uber ride, you add a little cash to Jay-Z’s $70 million stake in the ride-sharing giant. Jay threw $2 million into the pot back in 2013. Yes, that’s a 3,500% profit. After he peeped Uber’s success, Jay tried to double down and threw an additional $5 million at founder Travis Kalanick. This move would have increased his already enormous stake by a factor of 250%. Unfortunately for Mr. Carter, the Uber founder passed on this offer. Still, Jay is continuing to reap the benefits from his initial investment.
How You Can Catch a Cash Ride
Find a start-up with an innovative idea, a strong management team, and a solid business plan, and grab a small stake for yourself. If they need a little money, they’ll listen. If you’re willing to settle for slightly lower dividends, you can score some preferred stock. In other words, you get a smaller return, but the company has to pay you before they pay other investors.

Celebrity Sightings in New York City - September 18, 2020

Source: Robert Kamau / Getty

Part-Owner of D’Ussé Cognac

Even though Jay claimed he “couldn’t drink the Henny straight” in “It’s Like That” in 1998, Hennesey is the last thing on the D’Usse creator’s mind these days. D’Ussé V.S.O.P. brought home the award for the best V.S.O.P. cognac in the world at the World Cognac Awards, and D’Ussé XO earned Double Gold Medal bragging rights at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. In the smoothest of moves, Jigga teamed up with Bacardi to create the ultra-premium ‘gnac, and now they’re sliding over 200,000 cases into bars and liquor stores each year.
How You Can Make a Smooth Money Move
Buy into a new product made by an existing, successful company. When partnering with Bacardi, Jay didn’t have to worry about distribution, production, or marketing; Bacardi had all those bases covered. Find a company you respect and offer to fund a portion of a new product or service. As things take off, so will your earning.

D'USSE VIP Riser At JAY Z Magna Carter Tour Las Vegas

Source: Denise Truscello / Getty

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