Jay-Z’s name always seems to be used as a measuring stick for success. But at this point, what else do you expect?
Jay came from the Marcy projects of Brooklyn and somehow transitioned from a big time drug dealer (once losing 92 bricks) to hip-hop artist who is regarded by many as the best to ever do it.
Everything about Jay-Z exemplifies greatness. In every step of his life, too.
I mean, before he even dropped an album he was thinking steps ahead. Jay teamed up with his friends Damon Dash and Kareem Briggs and founded Roc-A-Fella Records which released his first project in ’96.
Then, as if having his own record label wasn’t enough, Hov finessed that into a distribution deal with Def Jam by ’97, which he followed up by becoming the label’s president in ’04. Levels.
Between 12 platinum studio albums and having the hottest chick in the game (still) wearing his chain, I’d say the Marcy native was synonymous with success as well.
And that’s just music. That’s not touching his business acumen outside of the industry. Like owning his own music streaming service in Tidal, or sports agency in Roc Nation Sports or, as recent as this year launching a new venture capital firm, dubbed Arrive.
And trust me, I’m not scratching the surface. I guess that’s why he’s the third richest man in hip-hop only falling behind Dr. Dre and Diddy, who, because of major moves in merch (Beats by Dre) and streaming platforms, were able to edge him out.
With an estimated net worth of $610 million as of 2016, according to Forbes, it’s important to peel back the curtain and analyze Hov’s lyrics closely. Let’s take a look.
For me, the key to this quote is that he found it genius not to give up. I’ve heard ‘not giving up’ characterized in many different ways: tough, hard, that it’s a resilient quality. But Sean Carter says its genius.
This illuminates the importance of perseverance. It’s a pretty simple concept, but just straight up continuing in the face of adversity is a truly powerful message.
You will face odds that give justifiable reasons to quit. No one is disputing the unfairness or the unprovoked circumstances that will be thrown your way. But as Jay says if you just keep going, despite these things, you will find success in your life.
I really enjoy this quote because change and projected growth are often misinterpreted. Claiming “I’ll never switch up” and accusing people of “changing” just shows how we associate growth as synonymous with betrayal. But this quote from Jay- Z puts all of that into perspective.
Instead of making it part of your personal brand to be stuck in your old ways, embrace change and progression. We should welcome change and challenge each other to meet our commitment to bettering ourselves.
There is an epic picture that shows a group of runners in a sprint. The leader is focused ahead, running with all his might to the mark. The runner in close second has his head turned looking at the racer in the lane beside him. The runner whose eyes were set on the finish fine cleared the tape first.
Worrying about anyone else other than yourself in your race, whichever race that may be, is the first mistake you can make when on your journey to greatness.
Jay-Z never followed trends. He could have gotten caught up in fads, getting caught up in autotune or the trendy trap sound of the south, but he stayed true to his own sound and made himself the benchmark.
When you focus on others you’ll find yourself subconsciously adopting their methods and you’ll lose yourself in the process. When we know that we all have something distinctive, and when we work on honing that individuality, it will be enough to help us reach our greatest potential.
A loss is not the end of the world. A fall doesn’t mean you have to stay down. Ask anyone successful and they’ll tell you how many no’s they faced before hearing a yes. Hov speaks to this very well.
Instead of seeing L’s as losses, Hov see L’s as lessons. Challenge yourself to learn from the mistake of each folly and use that as fuel to tackle your next endeavor.Jay-Z lost 92 bricks, bruh.
When you struggle and don’t come from much it’s easy to find contentment with “just enough” but Hov is addressing that status quo and is saying surviving is not enough.
This is the kind of mentality that made him push for his own label, then his own distribution deal, then becoming president of that very label. This is what drives him to venture into different businesses even after already attaining success. Why not? Why settle for just good enough?
What this bar does for me is make me look in the mirror and reassess what I think is success, and to challenge myself to raise the bar. Do more than survive.
Once Jay got one crack at success (dating back to his first winnings as a street gangster) he started seeing everything as an opportunity. That’s when he eliminated the idea of limits from his subconscious.
From luxury cars, Roc-A-Fella chains to the multiple estates, Jay-Z sees the unattainable as attainable. This mentality almost makes it impossible to be satisfied with anything else.
I don’t know what it is but sometimes we think we don’t deserve the finer things in life. A feeling of guilt tends to apprehend us from going after the things we crave. Jay-Z, a boss, is here to tell you to discard that mindset. Live it to the limit.
Newness is inspiring. You know the feeling of unwrapping a gift, or the puppy stage in a relationship, or that new car smell?
The endorphins and euphoric feeling you get after receiving something for the first time is unshakable. Jay-Z somehow is suggesting that you harness that feeling and carry it throughout every venture.
This is important because it preserves your inspiration. It gives you longevity. And for someone who has been in the game for multiple eras in hip-hop, it’s clear this mindset helped Jay continue to thrive.
We cannot get ‘bored’ when we are in the middle of the road. We have to seek that newness at all times. It’s how we make it through.
You’re going to have enemies with a target on your back and it would be naive to say you’ll ever take a loss. Jay-Z has sparred with Dame Dash, Nas, even Lil Wayne. Yet he’s still here standing.
To be a boss you have to learn to be fearless in battle. You cannot be afraid to take a hit on the jaw, as long as you get back up and keep swinging.