9.25.2010

Can't Knock The Hustle: Why Do I Admire Jay-Z?


According to Wikipedia®, “a fan, sometimes also called aficionado or supporter, is a person with a liking and enthusiasm for something. Fans of a particular thing or person constitute its fanbase or fandom. They may show their enthusiasm by being a member of a fan club, holding fan conventions, creating fanzines, writing fan mail, or by promoting the object of their interest and attention.”

I will be the first to admit that I rarely use the term “fan” when discussing people because in this country that phrase is sometimes associated with you “worshipping” someone or something.

I worship nobody but Allah (God) and I am a student of life who has soaked up a lot of knowledge from so many people near and far.

So when I use the term “fan” it is pretty major. You may be the same way.

I admit, since my college days at Prairie View A&M, I have quietly been a huge fan of Jay-Z the artist and the businessman.

My former students I taught would probably disagree that I have been silent about it because I would argue them down in class that he is the best who ever done it overall pound for pound lyrically in the history of hip hop.

I know. I know. You all will disagree immediately. That’s cool and we can debate that. Before you pull out your “gloves” let me tell you why I truly admire this brother.

What you can’t argue with is the fact that Jay-Z has produced quality music. The kind of music that moves you to “get your mind right” and say to yourself “I will not lose.”


Even as I write this blog, all of his albums are stored in my Palm Pre just so I can listen to one of them before I deliver one of my speeches on this present speaking tour.

Everyone has their “pre-game” routine. I’m either rocking hip hop or a Farrakhan message with a beat to it. Beyond the albums, Jay-Z has epitomized his own lyrics “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business man.”

I have studied how he has mastered business in developing Roc Nation, music, clothing lines, sporting teams, relationship building, and overall is a marketing genius. He’s focused on ownership, which is something most of us don’t think about.


Sure he’s had help along the way but none of us will make it alone. I learned more about the way he thinks and who is helping him in this two-part series by Cedric Muhammad titled “Jay-Z, Rich Righteous Teacher.”

Cedric Muhammad writes in part:

“Although Jay-Z certainly reads books, his ‘keen senses’ – enable him to learn in powerful ways from observation, experience, and intuition and communicate them in a conversational manner that no other rapper, in my view approaches. Therefore, he delivers something for teenagers, women, non-Blacks, the hood, the industry professional, and the politically inclined (if only they would listen).


It may be hard for some to realize (or accept) but on a sensory level Jay-Z is a more holistic learner and communicator – as an artist - than those that are labeled as ‘positive.’ It allows him to reach more with his personality and ‘message’ than they do.


His appeal is based on his ability to combine introspection (self-examination and self-analysis) with keen observations and an interesting life experience.”

He’s one of the few artists living what he spits on the microphone. Not too many can say that.

I don’t know him behind the scenes but the scripture says “as you know a tree by the fruit it bears, you know a man by his work.” I see the fruit of Jay-Z’s work ethic manifested in his success. I admire that in any man or woman. One who practices what they preach. He’s cashing in the jewels he delivers in the studio.

Not to mention he has a powerful focused wife in Beyonce.


So as I get to Evansville, Indiana this morning to speak later today, I get an email that Jay-Z has made this month’s cover of Forbes magazine alongside Warren Buffet. This is their annual "Richest People in America" list and they are predicting that Jay will be a billionaire by 2015.

In the interview with Steve Forbes Jay-Z says “So for me, it's just having the discipline, and the confidence in who I am. If I go into a studio and find my truth of the moment, there are a number of people in the world who can relate to what I'm saying, and are going to buy into what I'm doing. Not because it's the new thing of the moment, but because it's genuine emotion. It's how I feel. This is how I articulate the world.”

When asked about surviving in business, he says “One of the biggest things in business is to open yourself up for change. We don't have to change who we are, we have to change the way we go about it.

Even Warren Buffet said “Jay is teaching in a lot bigger classroom than I'll ever teach in. They're going to learn from somebody. For a young person growing up he's the guy to learn from.”

He’s not the only one I am a fan of and most of the people I admire you probably don’t even know. They might not even know I’m a fan of them.

Either way I have much more to apply and master in my own life. I’ve learned a lot from Jay and I’ve never met him in my life.

You can choose to knock the hustle.

I choose to learn from it.


(You're welcome to follow Brother Jesse Muhammad further on Twitter, become a friend on Facebook, or visit his award-winning site Brother Jesse Blog)




Advertisement