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Empire State of Mind: How Jay Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office, Revised Edition Paperback – September 22, 2015
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Rapper Tupac Shakur consistently talked about learning "The Game," but few authors have addressed what learning the game really meant to the aforementioned entertainers. Jay-Z, Biggie, and 50 Cent learned that peddling lyrics and CDs to a niche market was no different than selling drugs to an addicted market. The rugged individualism of the American creed cheers for the underdog. More importantly, Reality TV ushered in the need for authenticity within entertainers. Art had to reflect true reality. The likes of charismatic figures that played gangsters from James Cagney to Marlon Brando made audiences sympathetic to the underworld. Audiences rooted for the bad guy not only to escape legal authorities, but to win. Real life drug dealers could rap about their exploits and keep audiences riveted by their lyrics, beats, and bravado. Jay-Z, Biggie, and 50 Cent realized that if they could capture American society's love affair with the underworld, they could legally sell their experiences of street life without selling the drugs. These rappers were into the drug trade for the money, not the lifestyle. They now sell rap music for the money and the lifestyle.
Greenburg missed this concept because he wanted to record Jay-Z's success as a business case study as opposed to delving into the psyche of what really makes Jay-Z tick.
Overall, "Empire State of Mind" is a good book for inspiration and the basic tenets of business. Greenburg would do well by contracting with Jay-Z to develop a joint venture where true hard-hitting questions about Jay-Z could be answered. Although "Empire State of Mind" is recommended reading, it leaves other questions to be answered.
Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute
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