Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office

Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office

Zack O'Malley Greenburg / Sep 15, 2019

Empire State of Mind How Jay Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office Some people think Jay Z is just another rapper Others see him as just another celebrity mega star The reality is no matter what you think Jay Z is he first and foremost a business And as much as Mar

  • Title: Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office
  • Author: Zack O'Malley Greenburg
  • ISBN: 9781591843818
  • Page: 424
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Some people think Jay Z is just another rapper Others see him as just another celebrity mega star The reality is, no matter what you think Jay Z is, he first and foremost a business And as much as Martha Stewart or Oprah, he has turned himself into a lifestyle You can wake up to the local radio station playing Jay Z s latest hit, spritz yourself with his 9IX cologne, sSome people think Jay Z is just another rapper Others see him as just another celebrity mega star The reality is, no matter what you think Jay Z is, he first and foremost a business And as much as Martha Stewart or Oprah, he has turned himself into a lifestyle You can wake up to the local radio station playing Jay Z s latest hit, spritz yourself with his 9IX cologne, slip on a pair of his Rocawear jeans, lace up your Reebok S Carter sneakers, catch a Nets basketball game in the afternoon, and grab dinner at The Spotted Pig before heading to an evening performance of the Jay Z backed Broadway musical Fela and a nightcap at his 40 40 Club He ll profit at every turn of your day But despite Jay Z s success, there are still many Americans whose impressions of him are foggy, outdated, or downright incorrect Surprisingly to many, he honed his business philosophy not at a fancy B school, but on the streets of Brooklyn, New York and beyond as a drug dealer in the 1980s Empire State of Mind tells the story behind Jay Z s rise to the top as told by the people who lived it with him from classmates at Brooklyn s George Westinghouse High School to the childhood friend who got him into the drug trade to the DJ who convinced him to stop dealing and focus on music This book explains just how Jay Z propelled himself from the bleak streets of Brooklyn to the heights of the business world Zack O Malley Greenburg draws on his one on one interviews with hip hop luminaries such as DJ Clark Kent, Questlove of The Roots, Damon Dash, Fred Fab 5 Freddy Brathwaite, MC Serch NBA stars Jamal Crawford and Sebastian Telfair and recording industry executives including Craig Kallman, CEO of Atlantic Records He also includes new information on Jay Z s various business dealings, such as The feature movie about Jay Z and his first basketball team that was filmed by Fab 5 Freddy in 2003 but never released The Jay Z branded Jeep that was scrapped just before going into production The real story behind his association with Armand de Brignac champagne The financial ramifications of his marriage to Beyonce Jay Z s tale is compelling not just because of his celebrity, but because it embodies the rags to riches American dream and is a model for any entrepreneur looking to build a commercial empire.

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    • Best Read [Zack O'Malley Greenburg] ☆ Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office || [Chick Lit Book] PDF ¼
      424 Zack O'Malley Greenburg
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      Posted by:Zack O'Malley Greenburg
      Published :2018-012-11T22:28:30+00:00

    About "Zack O'Malley Greenburg"

      • Zack O'Malley Greenburg

        Zack O Malley Greenburg is a Forbes senior editor and author of 3 Kings Diddy, Dr Dre, Jay Z and Hip Hop s Multibillion Dollar Rise, as well as the Jay Z biography Empire State of Mind and Michael Jackson, Inc Zack covers the business of entertainment in The Beat Report at Forbes in a decade there, he s tackled topics from public pension fund scandals to Justin Bieber s budding career as a venture capitalist He has also written for the Washington Post, Vibe, McSweeney s and Sports Illustrated guest lectured at Yale, Harvard and Georgetown and appeared as an expert source for 60 Minutes, BBC, Bloomberg, MTV and others Full bio here.


    1. I found this book quite fascinating. Greenburg writes a monthly column on rappers and their finances for forbes. (I love that Forbes has someone covering the "rap/finance" beat.) Among other things, he puts together a yearly list of the wealthiest rappers in the game, by overall net worth. This year, Puffy came in at #1 ($475 mil). But close behind was Jay-Z, who came in #2 with $470 mil. To repeat: $470 mil!!! Empire State of Mind is the story of how that came to be.The most remarkable thing to [...]

    2. Empire State of Mind is a ‘business biography’ of Jay-Z. It explores how Jay-Z’s mind works, so I was disappointed to read that Jay-Z refused to be interviewed for the book. But the reason for that is actually really obvious: there was nothing in it for him. The book describes many of Jay-Z’s business ventures (the ones that were successful and the ones that failed), and makes it quite clear that Jay-Z doesn't bother with anything that he can’t profit from.The author’s primary source [...]

    3. I'd say this is almost as good as Jay-Z's own Decoded, and if anything that just goes to show what a wasted opportunity that book was.The author couldn't get the rapper to participate in the making of the book, because what was in it for him (literally, that was Jay-Z's response), and one of the best parts of Empire State of Mind is the author barely concealed contempt. We need more books about rappers by people who aren't there to perpetuate the myth. The last thing we need is the literary equi [...]

    4. Surprisingly informative considering that the author didn't have one interview with the man himself. Jay Z's life is truly inspiring. He was born with a gifted mind and enormous talent which he leveraged into an 'Empire.' Zack dives into the stars biggest deals, including my personal favorite, his marriage to Beyoncé. There are a few failures but many more successes and a great deal of trailblazing. Long live hip hop's first future billionaire!

    5. I enjoyed this book even though Jay-Z didn't actually contribute to it. I've read some reviews and think a lot of what you get out of this book is based on what you come in expecting. If you are looking for a Jay-Z biography this will disappoint you. If you are looking for a telling of some of the more key events in his life from a business perspective and a bit of insight into how he deals with people and ventures, you'll find it interesting.I think the author talks to some people who provide g [...]

    6. I guess the book accomplishes what it proposed to deliver: a story of Jay Z's ascent from drug dealing to sitting courtside at Nets games and being paid millions of dollars to mention particular champagne brands in his songs. But you can learn most of that from a entry or a few magazine articles, so I'm not certain why writing Empire State of Mind was all that necessary.The author went well out of his way, throughout the book, to insert himself into the story, add silly personal vignettes about [...]

    7. Great companion to Jay-Z's book, Decoded. People have sometimes unfairly pointed out that the book doesn't delve into a criticism of the musical career of his subject, but it is a breakthrough because it provides a business perspective to hip hop culture, which hasn't been documented before.Entertainment journalism previously focused on being a straight feature, but O'Malley Greenburg crosses over elements of business journalism with the appeal of feature writing for an interesting study of a co [...]

    8. This book was a quick read about how Jay-Z used his natural business acumen to become a successful entrepreneur. It was interesting to see some of the thought processes behind his business decisions, but I didn't feel as if I understand him or his art any better. The author used some named sources to document his understanding of Jay-Z, but the book suffered from not having anyone close to his business dealings or Jay confirm the author's thoughts.

    9. I grew up next door to Zack and knew him when he got his first writing gig at Boys Life Magazine. Compensation? A Sega Dreamcast ( which proceeded to last for a decade and a half, and proved to be a defining aspect of our childhood).I need to read through this once more before I post my full review, but jesus. Few books can stir an emotion in me and this one did so multiple times.

    10. Jay-Z's a hero for a reason. I knew about his Cristal boycott but not the shrewd financial motives and underhanded dealings behind it. I knew he was an entrepreneur, but I didn't know he was this sharp, this relentless - and I didn't realise he freestyles most of his recordings! Amazing.

    11. I thought overall the author did a pretty good job putting together the book. I thought he did a great job at gathering all the information from various different sources to organize the book. He used information from people who know Jay-Z or people who knew him as a young teen growing up. I gave this book three stars because I enjoyed hearing a lot of the information from a different point of view but I would've defiantly loved hearing some quotes or some of the information from Jay-Z himself. [...]

    12. Imagine if your friend who is a academic researcher wrote a book about a rap legend without being able to talk to them. THIS IS THAT BOOK!!In fairness to the author Jay-Z refused to be interviewed and the amount of interviews and research the author has done is impressive however, the book just feels lacking without any personal stories from the subject. The book gives a great overview of Jay-Z's life and work but tends to get hung up on rumors at times that may or may not be true (i.e. if Jay-Z [...]

    13. This should be a required reading for anybody engaged in hip hop. It displays the business acumen of Jay Z in a time where rappers can't depend on record sales alone. You have to thrive by name of your fame and Jay does that and a whole lot more. Learned so much about the industry, music, business, marketing and other things. 5 stars

    14. A good, easy read. I'm glad it was focused on Jay Z's business life rather than being a general biography.I probably wouldn't read it again, but worth checking out the highlights again.

    15. The book that I have read is Empire state of mind. This is a biography on the famous rapper that we all know as Jay-Z. It tells about how jay-Z went from street corner to corner office. The author of this book is Zack O'Malley Greenburg.Zack O'Malley is actually a young man who went around Brooklyn, New York. He was with one of Jay-Z's past old friends and his purpose was to find how Jay-Z, AKA "Shawn Corey Carter" lived as a young boy and came to be the man he is today. He tells how he was givi [...]

    16. I definitely liked this book because it actually showed the real Jay-Z. Like many of the other people on I noticed that the author focused a lot on the business aspect of Jay-Z's life. I think it was important that the author stressed how Jay-Z is a legitimate businessman. A lot of people think rappers right now are gang affiliated or hoodlums. I mean yes Jay-Z grew up in a bad part of Brooklyn but that doesn't make him gang affiliated. I recommend this book to anyone that is interested in how [...]

    17. Interesting very short read about Shawn Carter, who rose from the Brooklyn public housing projects to become worth over a half a billion dollars today. This money seems more important to Mr. Carter than the fame he enjoys as the rapper Jay-Z. The music is fun and sure the rush of the crowd is great, but Mr. Carter is all about business. And this is his business philosophy: Focus on whatever venture offers the most realistic opportunity to make the most money. Every day he answers the question an [...]

    18. This book reads like a long magazine feature pieced together from other magazine features. The book opens up by telling the story of the author, Zack O’Malley Greenberg, failing to get access to Jay Z for his book. In a pattern we’ve seen time and time again throughout Jay’s career, he instead wrote his own book Decoded, sticking to his former mentor Damon Dash’s principle: “We shouldn’t let other people make money off us, and we shouldn’t give free advertising with our lifestyle. [...]

    19. After reading this book, there are a few things that I can use, and some that I won’t. The way Jay-z centers himself on his product is one idea that I can use. For example, if I was going to start a new business, I would make sure my business has many different type of products that would somehow link to each other so that consumers would buy more than one product, increasing my profit. On the other hand, one idea that I would not use of Jay-z’s would be the way he treated the people that he [...]

    20. Empire state of mind is a book about jay z’s life and how he went from the street corner to being one of the best artist of all time. This book talks about how jay z was selling drugs and he was doing pretty well doing that. Then a dj tried to get him to focus on his music. For those who don’t know, watching jay z rap is one of the craziest things. He once acted like he was writing down a whole bunch of lyrics and then goes in the studio and he will start going in. Everyone is impressed and [...]

    21. This book was terrible and frankly shame on me for not putting it down as soon as the author noted in the forward to the book that Jay-Z refused to speak to him for the book. What follows that revelation is a poorly written exploration of Jay-Z's life and career using only primary source material from people that have personal axes to grind with him along with the recantation of various interviews that Jay-Z gave to other people and SONG LYRICS I'm sorry but I cannot take seriously any book that [...]

    22. A chapter devoted to his relationship with Beyonce? Really?Is this a business book on Jay-Z?Written by a Forbes magazine staffer Zack O'Malley Greenburg, but without Jay-Z's blessing, this book is so-so business book. Many big celebrities tend to attach their names to different products, projects, or talents. Does that necessarily make them great businessmen? Yeah sure, Diana Ross discovered the Jackson Five. Many big actors receive producer or executive producer credit for films their films. At [...]

    23. As a rapper, Jay-Z is clever, observant, and sometimes insightful, but for some reason he's rarely grabbed my full attention. You cannot refute his album sales or street cred, and you have to respect where he came from (nothing), but I personally cannot honestly place him close to my top 10. As a multi-platinum selling artist with a career spanning decades, you'd think Jay-Z would be a shoe-in for the "G.O.A.T." honors. He just isn't. In that regard, for what he's accomplished, his career seems [...]

    24. Jay-Z is everywhere these days with the opening of the new Barclay's Center and the debut of the Brooklyn Nets. The highlights of his life are pretty well known: his drug dealing days, entry into the world of hip-hop, some of his romantic history. Empire State of Mind chronicles his moves as a businessman and the stories behind the mega-deals and branding he has been associated with.While we are familiar with his clothing brands, his nightclubs, and stint as the head of Def Jam, Greenburg shows [...]

    25. An interesting book. If its all true! O'Malley Greenburg freely admits that Jay - Z didn't consent to the book and is never interviewed for it. The book lost further credibility for me when he called Danica Patrick a man, referring to the female race car driver as 'him' and 'his'.That said, the stories about Jay's early life are interesting and aren't fully explained in his own book Decoded. The shooting of his brother and stabbing a music industry colleague for bootlegging his early recordings [...]

    26. Good business book; serves as a biography of Jay-Z but analyzed through the angle of entrepreneurship.Take away Lessons:1) In business and in life to be successful you cannot put all of your eggs in one basket. The secret to Jay-Z's wealth is his multiple ventures. His music, clothing brand, management group etc all serve as sources of revenue and abundance. So in life make sure that you draw success from multiple sources when possible. 2) Opportunities beget more opportunities. Jay started as a [...]

    27. "You don't have to outwardly hone your craft. But in privacy, hone your craft. People don't have to know how hard you work to get something." (Be a quiet professional, Law 4: Always say less than necessary)"If you're down with somebody who's doing smart things, you become smarter instantly, because you watch the smart things. You might figure your own way to do smart things, but if you see it, you understand it." (He that cannot have sages in service should have them for his friends. - Gracián) [...]

    28. A very entertaining read, but ultimately, it doesn't pass the non-fiction litmus test for me ("Does it provide *significantly* more information/context for me than what I could research on ?"). It does significantly simplify the research process though – while Greenburg doesn't go very deep on anything, he provides a great chronological overview of Jay Z's life and relationships with brands, colleagues, etc.Worth a read if you're Hova fan.

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