Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office, by Zack O'Malley Greenburg (Penguin/Portfolio)

“One of the year’s best rock books.” –Bloomberg | “Fascinating well-done biography of one of the most extraordinary entrepreneurs of our era.” –Steve Forbes | "Lively and often...

JAY-Z BOOK: Empire State of Mind

About the Book

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About Empire State of Mind

You can wake up to the local radio station playing Jay-Z’s latest hit, spritz yourself with his 9IX cologne, slip on a pair of his Rocawear jeans, lace up your Reebok S. Carter sneakers, catch a Nets basketball game in the afternoon, and grab dinner at The Spotted Pig before heading to an evening performance of the Jay-Z-backed Broadway musical Fela! and a nightcap at his 40/40 Club. He’ll profit at every turn of your day.

Empire State of Mind tells the story behind Jay-Z’s rise to the top as told by the people who lived it with him–from classmates at Brooklyn’s George Westinghouse High School; to the childhood friend who got him into the drug trade; to the DJ who convinced him to stop dealing and focus on music. This book explains just how Jay-Z propelled himself from the bleak streets of Brooklyn to the heights of the business world.

Zack O’Malley Greenburg draws on his one-on-one interviews with hip-hop luminaries such as DJ Clark Kent, Questlove of The Roots, Damon Dash, Fred “Fab 5 Freddy” Brathwaite, MC Serch; NBA stars Jamal Crawford and Sebastian Telfair; and recording industry executives including Craig Kallman, CEO of Atlantic Records, to paint a tantalizing portrait of a very private mogul. Greenburg also reveals new information on Jay-Z’s various business dealings, such as:

* The feature movie about Jay-Z and his first basketball team that was filmed by Fab 5 Freddy in 2003 but never released.
* The Jay-Z branded Jeep that was scrapped just before going into production.
* The real story behind his association with Armand de Brignac champagne.
* The financial ramifications of his marriage to Beyonce.

Jay-Z’s tale is compelling not just because of his celebrity, but because it embodies the rags-to-riches American dream and is a model for any entrepreneur looking to build a commercial empire.

Praise for Empire State of Mind

“Fascinating, well-done biography of one of the most extraordinary entrepreneurs of our era.” – Steve Forbes

“Zack O’Malley Greenburg has become one of the rare reporters to bring dignified coverage of the hip-hop business into the mainstream. Empire State of Mind is a pure product of Greenburg’s care and insight, an exploration of hip-hop’s most enigmatic mogul, Jay-Z.” – Dan Charnas, author of The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop

Empire State Of Mind follows the money and key pieces of the Jay-Z puzzle in this insightful, savvy read. From Jay’s humble Bed-Stuy Brooklyn roots as Shawn Carter into street crime and the drug game, to his rocket rise to the heights of hip-hop and the music business as one of entertainments most successful players…this book is like a GPS leading us through the modern urban reality of how Jay-Z’s empire was built.” – Fred “Fab 5 Freddy” Brathwaite, hip-hop pioneer, artist, and longtime host of Yo! MTV Raps

“Lively and often surprising, Empire State Of Mind analyzes one of the greatest assets of the hip-hop generation: the business mind of Jay-Z. In capturing Jay-Z’s refuse to lose mentality, Zack O’Malley Greenburg tells an important, instructive American story of our time.” – Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

For more, check out the Reviews section.

4 Responses to About the Book

  1. Edward says:


  2. qualietle says:

    But there comes a moment in everybody’s life when he must decide whether he’ll live among the human beings or not – a fool among fools or a fool alone.

  3. I bought the book when it came out and I only have one more chapter to go. It’s one of those book that you want to keep reading. As a long time Jay Z fan, of his music and business, this was a great read. It gave you the back stories and details of the business deals Jay had inked (and some that never officially made it). Zack did a great job (as he puts it) with his “investigative journalism persistence.” The many quotes from interviews from Jay really placed Jay in the book even though he wasn’t actually involved in the book. As a frequent reader of many business books, this is one I would suggest to any business professional; mainly my fellow entrepreneurs.


    Congrats on the book and nothing but continued sales success!!! Born in 82′ and growing up in the Hip Hop generation it was cool to see the rise of Jay not just as an artist, but his transformation into a better business…and business man. I feel like the $25 I paid for the book was well worth the investment to piece so many stories and details together. I feel like you saved me hours and hours of research on Google. My question is do you think Jay will ever read it…it is non fiction!!!



  4. phymnaveamy says:

    Hello! Just want to say thank you for this interesting article! =) Peace, Joy.

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