ABOUT THE BOOK
Jay-Z (born December 4, 1969, as Shawn Carter) is one of the most successful hip-hop artists in history, an esteemed entrepreneur, and, as Beyonce's husband, one half of one of the most famous celebrity couples. His business ventures include a clothing line, a sports bar, and part-ownership of a professional basketball franchise.
Jay-Z made his debut in 1996 with Reasonable Doubt, an album that would later go platinum and receive recognition as a classic. The following year, he kicked off a trilogy with In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, followed the next year by Vol. 2, Hard Knock Life and then concluded in 1999 with Vol. 3, Life and Times of S. Carter. By that time, he'd established himself as one of the leading forces on the hip-hop radar.
He continued his prolific output into the next decade, releasing records at a rapid clip, prior to "retiring" - although the retirement turned out to be more of a short hiatus (something that would happen several times during Jay-Z's rap career). His Blueprint trilogy received some of the best reviews and best sales of his career, including the smash hit "Empire State of Mind," with Alicia Keys (from 2009's The Blueprint 3), a song that has gone on to become one of New York City's most inescapable anthems.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Adam McKibbin's work has appeared in a wide variety of magazines and websites, including The Nation, the Chicago Tribune, AlterNet, Paste and Punk Planet. He's worked in web editorial and social media management for years, and is a seasoned interviewer whose favorite subjects include David Lynch, Tori Amos and human rights journalist Mac McClelland. He studied creative writing at the University of Wisconsin and received the Award for Academic Excellence for his collected fiction. He's currently working on his first nonfiction book. Adam lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter, and can be found on Twitter at @TheRedAlert.
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK
He dabbled in the music business, but kept one foot in his increasingly successful criminal life. Finally, after his teenage days were over, he decided to give music a full-time shot.
One of his earliest mentors was Jonathan Burke, who went by the name of Jaz-O. Jaz-O's "The Originators" (1989) was a showcase for one of the first verses from the young Jay-Z (Rolling Stone, Jay-Z Biography).
As he shifted focus to his music career, he and two other friends from around the neighborhood, Damon Dash and Kareem Burke, decided to cut out the middleman and form their own label, Roc-A-Fella, which would pave the way for Jay-Z's future business leadership with much larger companies. Jay-Z and Jaz-O would go on to have a falling out, leading to numerous inflammatory quotes and verses from the former mentor.
Jay-Z's work ethic may be in his blood; his mother didn't retire from her clerical job until 2002, and reportedly never gave her coworkers any indication that her son was an ascendant hip-hop icon. She admitted to not quite being fully aware of the scale of Jay-Z's success at the time, and that she enjoyed his music, but wished he cursed less (CBS News, The King of Rap)...
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