“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man,” Jay-Z once rapped. With a career spanning more than two decades, Hov has laid the blueprint in hip-hop for artists to be much larger entities than just their music. Earlier in 2019, Forbes tabbed the Brooklyn native as the first rapper to eclipse the billion-dollar net worth line.
It didn’t happen overnight. He’s dabbled in numerous endeavors, going places no other rapper has with shrewd investments. Back in 2007, he sold his Rocawear brand to the Iconix Brand Group for $204 million. He also played an integral role in moving the Nets from New Jersey to Brooklyn, but Hov’s since sold both his shares in the Barclays Center and the Nets organizaion.
For his latest venture, Jay is entering the legal weed business. On Tuesday (July 9), Caliva announced that the Roc Nation boss would be joining the cannabis company as their chief brand strategist. “Anything I do, I want to do correctly and at the highest level,” Jay-Z said in a statement. “With all the potential in the cannabis industry, Caliva’s expertise and ethos make them the best partners for this endeavor.”
Let’s take a look at all of the side hustles Jay-Z has going on at the moment.
40/40 Club (2003) – One of Jay’s early investments that he’s still reaping the benefits of today, the 40/40 Club brings an upscale experience to the sports bar/lounge business. Outside of the main location in Manhattan, Hova opened 40/40 Clubs inside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Roc Nation (2008) – Hov launched Roc Nation as a full-service entertainment company that continues to expand into various divisions a decade later. The Roc was born following Jay’s departure from Def Jam and Roc-A-Fella through a long-term partnership deal with Live Nation. Artists on the roster include Big Sean, Meek Mill, and Lil Uzi Vert on the management front.
Roc Nation Sports launched in 2013 in partnership with the powerful Creative Artists Agency. RNS now boasts signees such as Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant, Saquon Barkley, Todd Gurley, and Kyrie Irving, who switched agents prior to signing with the Brooklyn Nets this summer. Jay also launched a Roc Nation television production division in 2018.
Tidal (2015) – Jay-Z purchased the subscription-based streaming service from Norway’s Aspira during March of 2015. Later that month, Hov took the stage in unison with other artists like Kanye West, Alicia Keys, J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, Usher, and more to officially introduce the first-ever artist-owned streaming service.
Tidal claims to pay the highest royalties to its artists and songwriters compared to other major streaming services. It is currently the only marketplace to contain all of Jay-Z and Beyonce‘s discographies. Tidal hosts several exclusive releases and events on its services.
Armand de Brignac (2014) – The spirits world is another venture that Jay has turned his affinity for into a boardroom victory. Forbes reports that Hov was involved with the “Ace of Spades” brand since its 2006 inception, before becoming the 100 percent owner with a $200 million investment in 2014. The business mag estimates that the champagne company is now worth in excess of $310 million.
D’USSE (2017) – Hov’s love for Cognac drove him to becoming a part-owner of Bacardi’s D’USSE. The mogul also serves as the brand’s head of global strategy. D’USSE-mixed cocktails filled arenas while Hov embarked on the 4:44 tour in support of his 13th studio album back in 2017.
Arrive (2017) – The venture capital firm is used by Roc Nation to seek out investment opportunities. According to Afrotech, Arrive looks for “early-stage startups in need of brand assistance and investment capital.” The VC firm has already invested in Delviat, an audio tech company, and Insite Applications, which specializes in location sharing technology.
JetSmarter (2015) – Think Uber, but with private planes. Jay added JetSmarter to his portfolio as an investor in 2015. Following a $1.6 billion evaluation in 2016, JetSmarter’s stock began to quickly plummet and the company was sold earlier in 2019 to the Dubai-based Vista Global. JetSmarter is still facing several lawsuits, and Jay’s involvement with the company remains unknown.
Time: The Kalief Browder Story (2017) – Jay-Z met with Kalief Browder following his release from Rikers Island prior to Browder’s tragic suicide. The Brooklyn native made sure Browder’s story wouldn’t disappear into silence, with Jay executive producing the harrowing six-part Time: The Kalief Browder Story series. After debuting on Spike in 2017, the series is now available to stream on Netflix.
Free Meek Docuseries (2019) – When Meek Mill went to jail for violating his probation in 2017, Jay-Z stepped in to add legal muscle to Meek’s team to help him regain his freedom. During Meek’s time behind bars, the Free Meek movement took on a life of its own, and his story is coming to Amazon with a five-part series. Free Meek finds Jay-Z onboard as an executive producer and will be released on Aug. 9.