Shawn “Jay Z” Carter is no novice to the rap game. He is a lyricist that is known for ruffling a few feathers through his rhymes. Sometimes he hits hard and other times he’s more creative forcing his audience to read between the lines.
Mr. Carter recently added the role of sports agent to his repertoire of business deals. That’s right the 43-year-old rapper turned business man is now representing professional athletes. In keeping with Jay Z’s style he’s thrown a couple of jabs in his latest project, “Magna Carta Holy Grail.” This time he swung at Mr. Scott Boras. Boras is a veteran to the baseball arena.
In his song entitled, “Crown” he uses his craft to say, “Scott Boras, you over baby, Robinson Cano, you coming with me.” What he’s actually referencing is signing Robinson Cano, of the New York Yankees to his agency; Roc Nation Sports Agency. His agency falls under the umbrella of Roc Nation Entertainment Company.
There were already many in the world of sports who weren’t impressed with Mr. Carter’s transition to the sports industry. This came as no surprise, it seems every new move Jay Z makes, outside of the world of music, angers or frustrates others.
Scott Boras, who had not openly replied to Jay Z’s song lyrics, decided it was time to have his voice heard. Brian Costa, writer for The Wall Street Journal, quoted some of Boras’ comments about Jay Z in an article on Monday. He quoted 60-year-old Boras saying:
“I don’t worry about others, because you know what, in the end, as always, there are few survivors in [the agency] game. This game is something that when you come, and you look, and you don’t see—when you don’t see, you’re not here long.” And”When your agent wears a Yankee hat, how seriously are they going to take you?” (The Wall Street Journal)
While many may not respect the fact that Jay Z has successful managed to cross many platforms within the business world there is a lot that can be learned from his hustle. Lessons such as these:
- Don’t run after the brand, embody the brand: When ‘Jigga” first entered into the world of rap there were no “Idol” platforms and people weren’t just handing out deals. He had to grind hard to get off the streets and into the door. When shopping his demos to companies didn’t work he learned that the only way he was going to make it would be to open his own door. He hooked up with others and formed Roc-A-Fella Records. By doing it this way his team ended up owning all of their masters for future deals and more profit.
- As people evolve the more they become themselves: What many fail to notice in the rap world is things and people transition. As time progressed Gangsta Rap was not as popular; music was transitioning. Mr. Carter saw it as a numbers game just like in the world of drug dealing. Find your corner (or niche), be strategic, advertise and mass produce. He established key relationships with executives at Def Jam Records and began to evolve into a smart business man. It was clear he was more than the average rapper content with gold chains and grills.
- Don’t be too anxious to share business and personal moves: Many people were upset that he and Beyoncé wouldn’t fully address whether or not they had married. It has long been known that Jay Z and his wife are very private about personal and business dealings. They never leak; people hear about it when they’ve finalized things and when they want it known. While others waste time bragging, they are usually four moves ahead of the game.
- Address controversy strategically and on your own terms: Jay Z is no stranger to controversy. He’s had his share of issues from ‘beefs’ with other rappers, to the split with Roc-A-Fella partners and even questions around his relationship with President Obama. One thing is certain, the media can ask all they want but he never addresses things in the heat of the moment. Jay Z decides when he responds and loves to simply weave a line into his craft; when and if he chooses. When people answer on their own terms, they remain in control.
- Build partnerships that will feed the future: Jay Z says in one of his songs “If you are thinking of what to do tomorrow you’re already late.” This type of thinking has kept his music in rotation consecutively since 1996. He has only been able to stay relevant by building lasting partnerships. He’s learned how to use every move so that compounds in influence and importance.
Jay Z is a mogul that has managed to have a flourishing career for nearly 20 years in an industry where people are known to come and go. Not only has he done that, but he’s branched out into multiple streams of business. While some may not like him, gaining insight from him might not be such a bad idea
Mr. Carter is known to take swings from time to time but Mr. Boras seemed to have no problem firing back. Whether Jay Z will leave it as is or take another jab probably won’t be realized until his next music release.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)