4:44: JAY-Z's Blueprint to Financial Freedom
Back in 1996, months before I was born, JAY-Z stepped onto the scene with Reasonable Doubt, the story of a 26-year-old drug kingpin. Twenty years and 12 studio albums later, he is richer than ever and has built a legacy, which he hopes will translate to generational wealth. Plus, he’s got the hottest chick in the game wearing his chain. And he packed all of his experiences in an album for us.
Deemed by Black Twitter as Himonade, JAY-Z’s 4:44 has been all the buzz. Countless think pieces and tweets of disbelief have been released about his cheating on THE Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter. While cheating is bad and all, some of us have missed the point. JAY-Z just gave us an instruction manual on turning rags to riches, generational wealth and black manhood. He just gave us a million dollars worth of game for $9.99. In four points, here’s the blueprint he gives for financial freedom.
1. Build credit.
Jay lays this one out plain and simple.
“You wanna know what’s more important than throwing away money in the strip club? Credit.”
Having a credit score in the 700-850 range is considered good to excellent credit. A credit score is literally a measure of your credibility. Having long lasting accounts, paying your bills on time and not maxing out all your credit reflect positively on your credit score. Banks, insurance companies and investors look at your credit score to see if they can trust you with their money, or more credit. A good credit score is equal to more buying power, negotiability and lower interest rates. The more buying power you have, the more you can invest in to make more money.
“Generational wealth. That’s the key. My parents ain’t have shit so that shift started with me.”
Live from Bedford-Stuyvesant, JAY-Z knows what it means to come from nothing. The shift, he says, starts with him. According to Forbes, his investment in the Brooklyn Nets led to a 135% increase. The $1 million he invested in the team turned into $2.35 million by the time he pulled out of the investment, nine years later. Real wealth is when you can just sit back and watch the money pile up.
He takes a small portion of his money and puts it into a business venture or something that will be of value, moving on from the constant grind glorified so much in pop culture. In “Story of O.J.” he illustrates a simple investment. He bought a piece of artwork for $1 million, which was worth $8 million a few years later. Then, he gives it to his children. Generational wealth
3. Build a Legacy
“Financial freedom my only hope. Fuck living rich and dying broke.”
“Daddy, what’s a will?” Blue opens up the final track on the album. In Legacy, Jay preaches the importance of building and sustaining. One of his earliest business ventures was Roc-A-Fella Records, a label he and Damon Dash started in 1995, under which he released his first album. He not only had a stake in his own success. He created it. Then, he turned it into something tangible to pass to his children.
4. Give back to your community.
“What’s better than one billionaire? Two. Especially if they’re from the same hue as you.”
In addition to building a self-sustaining empire he could pass on to his children, JAY-Z strives to build up his community. By encouraging entrepreneurship and bringing his investing back to his own people, JAY-Z makes an effort to better the conditions of black people. By supporting black businesses ("I’ll be damned if I drink some Belvedere while Puff got Ciroc."), we bring buying power to our community, which we can use, in turn, to pull ourselves up and improve our conditions. JAY-Z has used his buying power to bail out fathers on Father’s Day, as well as protesters in Baltimore, and create a trust fund for the children of Sean Bell, an unarmed black man killed by police on his wedding day.
With these tips, Hov shows us how he has gone from being a businessman to a business, man. Take notes.