Jay Z Symbolism

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"Since I know what I 'm up against / We as rappers must decide what 's most important / And I can 't help the poor if I 'm one of them / So I got rich and gave back, to me that 's the win-win" – Jay Z (Carter, 2003)
Shawn “Jay Z” Carter is among the most recognized identities in pop culture; one of the wealthiest recording artists alive (Lynch, 2014), as well as being widely considered in the hip-hop community to be a contender for the greatest rapper of all time. However, his rags to riches life story includes a checkered past, which he has never shied away from exploiting. This has made him a controversial figure, who comes under scrutiny from a surprisingly diverse set of groups (D’Errico, 2013). Despite valid criticisms of Jay Z’s glorification
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Jay Z no longer talks exclusively about being a drug dealer, preferring instead to bring to light the parallels of being a hustler in the criminal world and the corporate world (Belle, 2014). This maintains the relevance of his previous vocation, while allowing him to speak more relevantly to the type of life he lives now. This builds upon authenticity, as it introduces relatability to his consumer base. Most young suburban men do not aspire to enter a criminal lifestyle, they listen to lyrics vicariously. Jay Z’s target audience would however be likely to have aspirations of being a rich businessman and/or artist; giving listeners songs to not just listen to for entertainment, but to rap along to for inspiration (Sullivan, 2003). Similarly, apart from the cultural aspect of this evolving image, it also has the added financial benefit of allowing Jay Z to record more songs with content that is conducive to radio play, and other pop channels with a broad and diverse audience (Jeffries, 2014). Thus generating more sales and brand …show more content…
However, the context of the society he was living in at the time, the way he has moved onto an exemplary legitimate career since, and the creativity he brings the world through his music and business ventures, should all be considered when analyzing the difficulties of preserving artistic credibility in a commercial world. In sum, Jay Z is a significant contemporary example of a trailblazing creative artist that is still able to produce culturally valuable work, all while growing his bottom-line immensely. Critics and fans alike can now eagerly await to see if Jay Z’s creative authenticity that he has been able to maintain in the music industry will hold up in the various industries he has recently entered, such as television production, and sports

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