In the music industry there are many types of artists. There are the one-hit wonders that need their 15 minutes in the spotlight, but are never heard from again. Another spectrum shows artists that are able to put out potent product for their time period, but can’t keep up with the time and those that are actually timeless and have time moving with them instead of against them.
Whereas some must adapt and mold their image to actually fit in with what’s popular, Jay Z has utilized his hustler mentality to keep himself afloat and relevant since 1996 with Reasonable Doubt.
13 years later down the line, The Blueprint III stands as the pinnacle of a career that has been building and has yet to stop with each release. Through it all, Jay has yet to compromise his own image and has kept his eye on the prize.
Look at his old team if anyone needs any reference point. No matter what happens, Hov makes sure to find his way back on top.
Steve Stoute, whose voice and pull gave Jay the outlet to ink the deal with Reebok, was able to give his perspective on Jigga’s climb into the mainstream circle. Speaking with Esquire, the founder of Translation LLC reflected on Jay’s methods in comparison to other legendary Black entertainers in music.
“African-Americans were very rarely considered pop culture. When Whitney became pop, she did a lot of things that were not necessarily her. Look at her first album – she looks like an African goddess – “versus her second” – a black Olivia Newton-John – and you’ll see what she did. Michael Jackson, same thing. He put Jheri curls in his hair. Those were the things they had to do to be loved by the masses.”
Never one to follow the pack, the rapper has continuously found a way for fans to gravitate towards him.
“The masses came to him.”
Although his business tactics may be borderline shady , depending on who is looking at it, Jay has yet to compromise his own interests and has only made moves to push himself forward. Essentially at his peak, how much higher can Jay Z go from here?