When Jay-Z — one-half of music’s billion dollar couple — likes something, he puts a seal of approval on it.
Tech, fashion, beer, sports teams. Presidents. Everything he touches turns to gold.
Independently worth an estimated $500 million, Jay-Z seems acutely aware of his global, cross-industry influence.
On the recently released (and disappointing) album “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” he references Andy Warhol, Tom Ford, Maybachs, Mark Rothko, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Givenchy, and the MoMA — name-dropping them as equals on the pop culture playing field.
People in the business tend to agree.
“He is a true virtuoso in terms of his crossover abilities in both entertainment and sports business,” deputy commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver, told USA Today. “It’s clear why he is the culture icon he’s become.”
Take a look at the 10 product endorsement deals that made Jay-Z a jack-of-all trades:
The search engine company fashioned blown-up images of each of the 320 pages of Jay-Z’s unreleased autobiography, “Decoded,” onto unexpected surfaces: a pool bottom in Miami, dinner plates at his New York City restaurant, a rooftop in New Orleans, and more. Fans could discover clues to the pages’ locations by logging on to bing.com and using Bing Maps.
9. Carol’s Daughter
Jay-Z, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith invested $10 million in this Brooklyn-born beauty products start-up, which targets African-American women. “Jay-Z once said that chapped lips are universal and we can all relate,” founder Carol Price said. “As long as I sell products like Lip Butter, I will have something for everyone.”
In a killer ad spot for the digital music service, Jay-Z recreated all his album covers in single-take style. Rhapsody became the exclusive supplier of the “The Blueprint 3” album three days before its release.
After previously designing a limited edition watch with luxury brand Audemars Piguet, Jay-Z jumped ship to Swiss rival, Hublot. He announced his allegiance in the third line of his song “Otis,” saying, “New watch alert—Hublots!” Demand skyrocketed.
Jay-Z made HP cool, for a short while. He reportedly became interested in HP computers after seeing their impact on students involved in the Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund, and signed on to star in an innovative commercial, applauded for its captivating CGI visuals.
Jay-Z served as co-brand director of Budweiser Select, curated a Bud-sponsored music festival called Made In America, and recently signed on for a global advertising campaign to build the brand’s international presence.
In 2003, Jay-Z designed the S.Carter sneaker for Reebok, becoming the first non-athlete to land such an endorsement deal with an athletic shoe company. It ran out of its 10,000-item stock in just a few hours, making it the fastest selling shoe in the company’s history. He even rapped about his kicks in a commercial also starring 50 Cent.
3. Barack Obama
Since confessing at the height of his campaign in 2008 that his iPod had quite a bit of Jay-Z on it, and “brushing his shoulder off” during a presidential debate, Barack Obama has sought the rapper’s help in getting out the vote and hosting fundraising events. They even text, often exchanging sports analogies, Jay-Z bragged in an interview with Hot97 radio.
2. Samsung Galaxy
As part of a $20 million deal between Samsung and Jay-Z’s company Roc Nation, the mobile company became synonymous with “Magna Carta Holy Grail.” Jay-Z appeared in candid commercials discussing the album’s production and inspiration, and Samsung gave away early 1 million copies to Galaxy phone owners who downloaded the promotional app.
1. Brooklyn Nets
When the Nets were making the move from New Jersey to Brooklyn, owner Bruce Ratner recruited Jay-Z as an investor. He reportedly owned less than 1%, but his influence stretched from the team’s redesigned black-and-white logo to the music played in the Barclays centre.
After announcing the creation of his own sports agency in April, Jay-Z relinquished his stake, per NBA rules.
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