This is the quintessential American success story. Empire State of Mind tells the tale of rapper Jay-Z, who went from drug dealer to business mogul in an amazing sequence of events. This unauthorized biography doesn’t shy away from controversies, like shooting his older brother, stabbing a record executive, or whether his relationship with Beyonce is a marriage or a merger.
Hearing from past acquaintances is enlightening, like Jay’s old rap mentor Jaz-O says “his loyalty is to his money.” Most interesting were ventures into the alcohol, basketball, and automobile industries. What’s missing is an interview with Jay-Z himself. The author describes meeting him once and getting ripped off. Updated editions will be even better as Jay-Z continues to bank and roll.
Jay-Z’s life has been on an interesting trajectory for as long as I’ve been alive. The book shed light on someone who very clearly took charge of his own life and made something of himself, despite systemic oppression. Inspiring biography.