Jay-Z is one of the most prominent people in the world of music. He has truly achieved legendary status by not only dominating the charts with his music, but also by making waves as a producer, business mogul, and brilliant mover and shaker in the industry. He has achieved elitist status by coming among the very few Black Americans that have gone on to acquire billionaire status, with a current net worth that stands at a staggering $1.4 billion. From the outside looking in, it seems that Jay-Z has it all; a wildly successful career, a happy marriage to Beyonce, and a beautiful family, not to mention wealth beyond most people’s wildest imaginations. CNBC reports that what most people do not know, is that there was a pivotal moment in his life that truly set him apart from the rest. Here’s the brilliant move that Jay-Z credits as being an absolute life-changer.
Jay-Z’s Rise From The Hood
Many fans are unaware of the true nature of Jay-Z’s upbringing. It was definitely not as glamorous as the life he currently leads. In fact, the odds were stacked high against the young Shawn Carter.
Shawn Carter, known to his fans as Jay-Z, was raised by a single mother, in one of the roughest areas of Brooklyn, New York . He was the youngest of 4 children, and his mother did the very best that she could, given the circumstances. They never had an easy life, and growing up in the projects unfortunately meant that Jay-Z was surrounded by crime and violence.
He struggled to stay in school, and demonstrated keen skills and high intelligence, but was unable to keep pace with his classmates because he got caught up in the street hustle. There was no time to waste with school; his family needed money.
At a young age, and with minimal options presented to him, Jay-Z cut school to spend his days selling crack, and wound up heavily invested in the street lifestyle.
Before long, he found himself in a series of situations that truly rocked his world. He was shot at several times, and The Job Network reveals that he even shot his own brother while the two were in the middle of a brawl.
In an effort to get himself into some real money without having to keep up this dangerous lifestyle, Jay-Z began to explore the world of music.
The Big Lesson
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Success didn’t happen overnight for Jay-Z. There were many failed attempts at creating his own music and getting signed to a label. He began to throw himself into his lyrics, and that became the stepping stone to greater opportunities.
The Job Network reveals that; “as an incredibly talented lyricist, he would compete and win freestyle competitions, making a reputation for himself. He’d even read the dictionary cover to cover on multiple occasions, scouring for better rhymes. He was able to start telling his story through his music.”
After a series of failed attempts at getting signed on to a record label, Jay-Z was facing the street life once again but was trying hard to find another solution. Approaching things from a different angle, he and his friends tried to produce music, instead. That was the birth of Roc-A-Fella. It took a lot of time, and he overcame a lot of rejection, but eventually, after the death or Notorious B.I.G., Roc-A-Fella collaborated on his posthumous album and his career started to pick up.
As his career and experience in the industry grew, he maintained his tenacity and refused to give up. Rejection fueled his fire to persist even more, and as he gained notoriety he realized the most pivotal lesson he had ever learned… ownership is key.
As the owner of the label that he rapped for, Jay-Z was dominating at every turn. He didn’t owe anyone anything, he owned the rights to his own music, and he made money, two fold.
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Today, Jay-Z is regularly shuffling multi-million deals. He is now able to reflect on his career and realize how each and every move he made led to him becoming the man that he is today.
CNBC quotes him as saying; “In the beginning, we went to every single label and every single label shut their door on us… the genius thing that we did was we didn’t give up. We used that ‘what do they know’ approach. We didn’t give up at that point…I think that was the genius thing we did. We started selling our own CDs and built our own buzz.”
Using this methodology has definitely taken Jay-Z to the highest levels of success. He has just recently sold majority stakes in Tidal to the CEO of Square, Jack Dorsey, for the astronomical price of $350 million, and of course, he continues to hold millions worth of shares, in spite of that massive sale.
If it seems there’s nothing that Jay-Z can’t do, that’s likely because it’s true. Ownership of music and possession of all his own art has proven that Jay-Z has become the mastermind of his own success, and has placed him on his throne as one of the music industry’s top earners of all-time.
READ NEXT: Jay-Z Officially Closes $350 Million Sale Of Tidal
Sources: CNBC, Fast Company The Job Network
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