With a net worth of an estimated $560 million according to www.celebritynetworth.com, Jay-Z has acquired much of his financial success through his albums, Rocawear clothing line, and even as a part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets for a time. In his book Empire State of Mind, Forbes Senior Editor Zack Greenburg provides an in-depth look into how the Brooklyn native went from a former drug dealer to a businessman.
An Alumni from Yale University, Greenburg began his career at Forbes as an intern and was offered a full-time position after graduating from college. During his first year at Forbes, an editor approached him and asked him “Do you like hip-hop?” Greenburg answered “Yes.” and helped the editor put together the first-ever list of top-earning rappers in 2007 for that year. A few weeks after the list was produced, 50 cent, Jay-Z, Diddy worked together to release the “I get Money “Forbes 1,2,3 Remix” to memorialize their honorable mentions on the same Hip-Hop Cash Kings list that Greenburg produced.
He was surprised that these rappers expressed their appreciation for Forbes through a song and knew that he wanted to make music his beat from that point on. The son of Zack Greenburg, a children’s book writer, and Suzanne O’Mally, former writer of Law and Order, Greenburg has a successful career as a reporter writing over 800 articles for Forbes, ForbesAsia, and Forbes.com. One day, he was sick from work and was checking his e-mails at home when he noticed an editor from Penguin contacted him. The e-mail discussed about the editor asking him to write a biography about the business of Jay-Z. Greenburg agreed to a deal with Penguin in 2009 to write the book.
He attempted to get in contact with Jay-Z to interview him for the biography, but Jay-Z declined. However, Greenburg was not discouraged as he admitted that this gave him the opportunity to “dig deeper” into areas he may not have explored. Empire State of Mind chronicles deals that did not work out such as the Jay-z flying to Detroit, Michigan in 2005 to team up with MC Serch to create the Jay-Z jeep that ended up not going through do to Chrysler not wanting to sponsor a former drug dealer (in reference to Jay-Z) and power moves Jay-Z made through the course of his career. One of these power moves included selling his stake in the Brooklyn Nets to work on representing several professional athletes including Kevin Durant and Robinson Cano.
For more on Zack Greenburg and his book Empire State Of Mind, check out www.thevictoriawashingtonexperience.com for his interview on the show. The interview is titled Jay-Z Biographer Zack Greenburg Talks Empire. Also you can follow Zack Greenburg on his Twitter @Zoblog
BY LAURENT OCTOBRE