Despite his notoriously humble beginnings, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter may have built the personal brand that most closely resembles the Amex black card, one that brings to mind a slew of lavish buzzwords: Exclusivity. Prosperity. Luxury. Business. Taking advice from the likes of billionaire mogul Warren Buffet, Carter has become hip-hop’s CEO, transforming his brand unlike anyone before or since.
“I’m so far ahead of my time; I’m ’bout to start another life. Look behind you, I’m ’bout to pass you twice.” – Jay-Z
Is he the first hip-hop artist to make it out of a tough environment? Absolutely not. But he’s one of the first to successfully transition from the streets to the recording studio to the boardroom. Carter was never going to be just a rapper. From the beginning, he had his eyes set on something more, and he wove that narrative into everything he did, which he expressed perfectly in one of his lyrics: “I’m not a businessman; I’m a business, man.” After reportedly selling over 55 million albums over the course of his career, it’s hard to argue with him. From the cars he drives to the clothes he wears, Carter’s brand never wavers. There is only one Shawn Carter story, and it’s a carefully crafted one.
BRAND POSITIONING STATEMENT:
Jay-Z is hip-hop’s CEO.