Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” could not be more out of place as a musical score for The Great Gatsby. His co-ownership of the African-American beauty line, Carol’s Daughter, is far from fitting. But Jay’Z’s name has grown beyond being pigeonholed into just a hip-hop artist. He has expanded into an all-encompassing brand that has swelled into a net worth of $500 million.
Amidst the Jay-Z mania that bombards us daily, New York magazine sets out to illuminate the trajectory of his career into the ultra-entrepreneur he is today. The root of all his riches, NY mag believes, is Reebok. The sneaker brand needed a more urban, hip-hop image. So, in 2003, Jay-Z endorsed Reebok and created “S.Carter,”a sneaker that featured the Gucci design. Along with the deal, Jay-Z demanded that they include “a television spot, which was hashed out at the 40/40 Club and shot to his exacting specifications,” adds the magazine.
Reebok execs were irked by the fact Jay-Z occasionally wore Nikes, their rival brand, but Jay-Z was progressing so fast in his business career, annoyed executives were the least of his worries. His Reebok deal was what led him to alliances with other fancy hard-to-pronounce brands such as “Champagne Armand de Brignac” and the cognac “D’Usse.”
Although New York‘s feature on Jay-Z portrays the magnate’s rise as flawless, let’s not forget his dip in the nightlife area. The 40/40 club has been “dogged by declining attendance and labor disputes with workers,” Forbes says, “the club developed the worn-out air of a frat house the day after a big party.” And who wears Rocawear anymore? Jay-Z sold his part in the company, but he’s still associated with it and its issues.
However, his minor trip-ups in business haven’t sidetracked the “Magna Carta Holy Grail” platinum (kind of) selling artist. New York notes that in addition to the hip-hop mogul’s ridiculously long list of accomplishments, Jay-Z is now the co-brand director for Budweiser Select. He is also a sports agent for basketball and baseball players for his new sports agency, Roc Nation Sports.
The article is set to appear in the July 22, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.