Jay-Z’s latest album includes deep reflections about how much he’s matured personally and professionally.
But the album also shares some insight on the financial lessons he learned while building up his brand and wealth over the years. In between confessions about his family and other personal mistakes, Jay-Z reflects on racial wealth inequality, the investments he’s made over the years and the importance of establishing a legacy that he could leave behind for his family.
Here are some of the money themes he touches on throughout the album:
1. Focus on making investments that bring lasting wealth
We all know that famous line from one of Jay-Z’s early hits: “I’m not a businessman; I’m a business, man.” The line is a symbol for the various ways Jay-Z has become the modern-day Renaissance man with a brand that goes beyond the music world into industries such as clothing, alcohol and sports. But in his latest album, Jay-Z shares even more about the benefits of the various business ventures that have helped him establish his wealth. Jay-Z is now worth an estimated $810 million, according to Forbes. His wealth is largely due to success with his businesses, including his music streaming company Tidal, his entertainment company Roc Nation and his champagne brand Armand de Brignac.
In one song, called “The Story of O.J.,” Jay-Z touts financial freedom as his “only hope” and takes a jab at people — potentially other artists — who show off flashy lifestyles. The rapper hints that people should instead focus on making investments that could help them build lasting wealth. “Y’all on the ‘Gram holding money to your ear. There’s a disconnect, we don’t call that money over here,” he says.
Earlier in the song, he also shares a major financial regret: not buying property in a certain neighborhood in Brooklyn when he had the chance.
“I could have bought a place in Dumbo before it was Dumbo
For like 2 million
That same building today is worth 25 million
Guess how I’m feeling? Dumbo”
2. Support other business owners
In the song “Family Feud,” Jay-Z touts the benefits of supporting black-owned businesses and suggests that people should support each others’ ventures to lift each other up financially. “What’s better than one billionaire? Two (two). Especially if they’re from the same hue as you.”
In the song, Jay-Z does a little bit of bragging and names a few of his own businesses, including Tidal, the music streaming service he used to release his album. He refers to a champagne brand he acquired and a cognac he has endorsed. But as CNBC points out, he also makes a nod to fellow artist and business man Sean “Diddy” Combs, who has a business partnership with the spirits company Diageo, tied to the vodka Ciroc.
3. Think about generational wealth
As the Atlantic points out, Jay-Z sends a strong message about generational wealth and the importance of leaving assets behind for his children. The last song, “Legacy,” even includes a recording of his daughter asking: “Daddy, what’s a will?”
He responds by talking about how he started with nothing but built an estate he wants to leave to his kids. “Generational wealth, that’s the key,” he says. And later: “My parents ain’t have s‑‑‑, so that ship started with me.”
It’s a theme that also came up in “The Story of O.J,” in which Jay-Z talks about buying a piece of art that is now worth eight times as much as he originally paid for it — and how he cannot wait to pass those belongings to his children.