Jay-Z Business Commandments…….

In the late 1990s Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter grew fond of an Italian knitwear designer by the name of Iceberg. When he started singing the brand’s praises in verse, sales skyrocketed. Sensing an opportunity, he and erstwhile business partner Damon Dash approached Iceberg’s management about a possible endorsement deal. They were rebuffed. So in 1999 Jay-Z and Dash started their own clothing line, Rocawear. Eight years later their company fetched $204 million from Iconix Brand Group.

Neither the birth of Rocawear nor its nine-figure sale would have occurred if it weren’t for Jay-Z’s sharp entrepreneurial instincts—in particular, his reluctance toward giving away advertising to products other than his own. The latter is one of Jay-Z’s many business commandments that I’ve observed while writing a business-focused biography of the rapper over the past year, and one of the main reasons he has amassed a net worth of $450 million while serving as an inspiration to countless entrepreneurs and musicians. (Full Coverage: The Forbes Five — Hip-Hop’s Wealthiest Artists )

“Jay-Z’s business influence has been momentous, along with all his other great achievements in terms of music, style and mastery of his craft,” says Fred “Fab 5 Freddy” Braitwaite, the artist and hip-hop pioneer who served as longtime host of Yo! MTV Raps. “He really understands how the corporate structure works.”

Although the notion of giving away free advertising isn’t something most people have to worry about, there are plenty of lessons from Jay-Z’s business philosophy that can be applied to just about any career or entrepreneurial situation. Take for example one of his simplest but most definitive rules: Focus on the most realistic chance to make the most money at all times



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