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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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"Fascinating, well-done biography of one of the most extraordinary entrepreneurs of our era."
"Greenburg has become one of the rare reporters to bring dignified coverage of the hip-hop business into the mainstream. Empire State of Mind is a pure product of Greenburg’s care and insight, an exploration of hip-hop’s most enigmatic mogul."
—Dan Charnas, author of The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop
"Greenburg follows the money and key pieces of the Jay Z puzzle in this insightful,savvy read. This book is like a GPS leading us through the modern urban realityof how Jay Z’s empire was built."
—Fab 5 Freddy, artist, hip-hop pioneer, and former host of Yo! MTV Raps
"A superb guide for your career, even if you are looking to be an investment banker or grocery store manager instead of a hip-hop legend."
About the Author
Zack O’Malley Greenburg is a seniorr editor at Forbes, where he has covered finance and music since 2005. He has profiled the likes of Akon, 50 Cent, and Afrika Bambaataa, and his stories have taken him from the casinos of Macau to the diamond mines of Sierra Leone. He has also written for The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and Dan’s Papers. He lives in New York City.
Top customer reviews
As both a business man and hip hop fan, I found this book to be really interesting, informative and well written. This book provides many business lessons to entrepreneurs. For example, failure is often part of the road to success, confidence in negotiations, importance of managing your brand (e.g. as never a failure), thinking a step ahead, diversification, and emotional detachment from business partners. The author's explanation of Jay-Z's story demonstrates how difficult times can help teach us valuable lessons that ultimately bring us success. There is a lot of interesting information about Jay-Z's background that I was completely unaware of even as a Jay-Z fan.
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