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Jay-Z: The Black Millionaire Blueprint to Success

Back in the late ’80s, lyrical lion and legend Big Daddy Kane was on tour and took along a lanky, little-known rapper-wannabe from the Macy’s Projects in Brooklyn, N.Y., who really didn’t get a lot of love from the audience. I distinctly remember feeling sorry for the awkward-looking dude who was just trying to get his first big break in the business. I never thought I would see his face again. Juxtapose that image with what happened some 15 years later. During one of his own sold-out concerts, this same rap reject was now in total command of a stage some 10 times bigger than the one he bombed on. By this time, he was such an authority over American music at this point that he had the clout to bring out the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, at one point during the concert to raucous cheers. After the most humbling of hip-hop beginnings, today the Jigga Man is considered the “King of Music” and his wife, Beyoncé Knowles, is considered his “queen,” and together they are the crème de la crème of power couples in America. He has released a record-setting 11 albums that have climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Furthermore, the birth of their child, Blue Ivy Carter, broke records for the number of tweets on Twitter per second. His business and music moves are chronicled by the biggest news outlets in the country, when before he couldn’t get an ounce of ink dropped on his behalf in any newspaper. He has long parlayed his industry cachet — and cash — into previously inconceivable business ventures, such as taking a major ownership stake in the New Jersey Nets and influencing their move from their longtime home into the largest city in the country, into the Brooklyn borough where he was born and bred. Quite a journey from a two-bit hustler and drug dealer who grew up without a father and was consigned to the dead-end life so many others found themselves living. Let’s take a quick journey back through the life of an entertainment juggernaut and walking conglomerate. –terry shropshire

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