Why We Need To Keep The Hip Hop In Jay Z's New Title Of Hip Hop Billionaire
We can't erase how he got here.
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Recently a college friend of mine posted a Facebook status that I almost “loved” but had to stop myself to ask why?
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I started to support it because I immediately saw his view: why should we limit HOV to being labeled as just a hip hop billionaire. But as I thought further my follow up question now is why not? I’ll take a risk and assume the majority of people reading this are at least moderately aware about the next few facts (if not this will be like a Jay-Z 101 fact sheet):
- Jay-Z aka Sean Carter is arguably the most or one of the most successful music artists one all time and is widely considered a cultural icon.
- He’s a former drug dealer from Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects.
- He was previously head of his own record label, Roc-A-Fella records with partners, Damon “Dame” Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke from 1995-2013.
- He’s responsible for introducing us to superstar artists such as J.Cole and (now the world’s wealthiest female musician) Rihanna.
- He’s married to and has procreated Beyonce. Nuff’ said there.
- If you’ve listened to any of his albums from The Black Album on, and have actually digested the lyrics, you’ll know this man is involved in more than just his hip hop career.
- He’s had business ventures and acquisitions with liquor, real estate, music streaming, clothing, his art collection, and his newer label Roc Nation…and that’s aside from his music catalog and tour revenue.
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Still with me? Cool. So, with all that being said as of Monday, June 3rd 2019, according to Forbes, he’s a newly minted billionaire. And many news outlets reported it naming him as a "hip hop "billionaire or the first hip hop artist to become one. And while for those of us who somehow, someway (no shade) didn’t know he had more endeavors in motion outside of his music career, yes it could be significant to take away that added label. However, for those of us who’ve been fans for years, I say keep that hip hop label right where it is. Underline and bold that sh**.
For many of us the reason why Jay Z’s music and just his very presence in this world is so impactful is because of where he started and what he represents. Jay Z is the embodiment and the quintessential example of what it means to hustle your way from the bottom to a top that he can now say he is the first person to ever even see. His career bypassed being just a music artist some time ago and that’s definitely to be recognized and respected. As my friend put it, “HOV isn’t just a hip hop artist. HOV is a mogul.” He is indeed. However, in the same way many of us admired Nipsey Hussle for staying true to his roots and his community throughout his rise—HOV is the maybe one of the biggest examples our young boys and men…and hell, any of us have of what it means to never conform to the world around you but rather, transform it. And furthermore, his achievements let us know it can be done.
Hip Hop has been the platform that’s catapulted so many artists into a stratosphere they may have otherwise, never known. I’m not here to preach about its importance to the culture but I’ll say this: it’s always been ours and it always will be. And seeing as Jay-Z has never turned his back on that fact, so will he.