In his 13th studio album, 4:44, Jay-Z gave us “a million dollars worth of game for $9.99.” To be fair, Jay-Z isn’t the first person to share these wealth lessons. Dame Dash, Jay-Z’s former business partner, shared many of these lessons during his Breakfast Club interview two years ago. But when you are the second richest man in Hip Hop, the message sounds different. So what was Jay-Z’s message?
Lesson 1: Buy appreciating assets
“I bought every v12 engine; I wish I could take it back to the beginning…” Jay- Z’s v12 car collection includes the Maybach Exelero, rumored to cost $8,000,000. Cars, regardless of the price, decrease in value over time.
Jay-Z laments over a real estate investment opportunity he missed, “I could have bought 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.”
“Please don’t die over the neighborhood that your momma renting.” Jay-Z cautions not to fight over what we don’t own. Isn’t this what Dame said in his interview? Jay-Z encourages us to take our money and invest in our neighborhoods.
He follows up his missed real estate opportunity by sharing a successful investment, “I brought some artwork for 1 million, two years later that … worth two million. Few years later … worth 8 million.”
Lesson 2: Good credit is necessary
You know what’s more important than throwing away money in the strip club? Credit. Credit is the lynchpin of major financial moves. “You on the ‘Gram holding money to ya ear, there’s a disconnect we don’t call that money over here.” In 2010, the Federal Reserve Bank released a report revealing that the average credit score for African Americans was 677, approximately 50 points below the national average. All other ethnic groups had average scores over 700. African Americans also had double the amount of applicants with scores below 620, a score which is only considered fair.
Bad credit is expensive. Loans are harder to get, and the terms are less favorable with higher interest rates and higher down payments. Bad credit also increases the cost of car insurance and utility deposits while limiting housing options.
Lesson 3: Support Black Business
LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 11: Jay Z and Sean Combs attend 2017 Roc Nation Pre-GRAMMY brunch at Owlwood Estate on February 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation)
What’s better than one billionaire? Two. Especially if they are from the same hue as you. This year, Forbes named Sean “Puff” Combs as “Hip Hop’s Wealthiest Artist” with a net worth of $820 million. Jay- Z was number two with a net worth of $810 million. These two moguls are closing in on the coveted title of Hip Hop’s first billionaire. But listen to Jay-Z in Family Feud, I’ll be damned if I drink some Belvedere while Puff got Ciroc. Jay-Z echoes the sentiments of the President of the National Bankers Association, Michael Grant, “we have got to start looking at people who [are African American] and say I am going to support you.” There’s no room for jealousy or criticism. Grant said, “We got to be almost religious about this … nobody is going to save us but us.”
Lesson 4: Pass wealth to the next generation
LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 12: (L-R) Singer Solange Knowles, hip hop artist Jay-Z and daughter Blue Ivy Carter during The 59th GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)
Generational Wealth, that’s the key, my parent’s aint have **** so that shift started with me. Blue opens Legacy asking, Daddy, what’s a will? Jay-Z describes this song as his verbal will. Saying to Blue, My stake in RocNation should go to you, leave a piece for your siblings to give to their children too.
Jay-Z has first-hand knowledge of the confusion that ensues when someone dies without a will. Before his death, Prince had an exclusive streaming contract with Tidal, Jay-Z’s streaming service. Jay-Z explains their agreement in Caught Their Eyes, “I sat down with Prince, eye to eye. He told me his wishes before he died.” However, the Estate fought this agreement. Jay-Z contends that this was never Prince’s intention, “You think he wanted a master with his Masters?”
Jay-Z never fully answers the question what’s a will. For clarity, a will is a document which provides specific instructions regarding the disposition of a person’s property and assets after they die. However, there are other assets such as life insurance, retirement accounts, and jointly owned property that pass without a will.
Jay-Z’s message is simple, “F**k living rich and dying broke.” Establish and maintain good credit. Invest in real estate and businesses to pass wealth onto the next generation. Support Black Businesses.