Wise Business Decisions, Brought to You by Jay-Z

Jay-Z shared his entrepreneurial know-how with November’s Vanity Fair, as well as a lesson in knowing when to fold ‘em.

I know about budgets. I was a drug dealer,” the Brooklyn native told contributing editor Lisa Robinson. “To be in a drug deal, you need to know what you can spend, what you need to re-up. Or if you want to start some sort of barbershop or car wash—those were the businesses back then. Things you can get in easily to get out of [that] life. At some point, you have to have an exit strategy, because your window is very small; you’re going to get locked up or you’re going to die.”

Nowadays, he looks back on those days with a sense of regret.  But at the time, he was looking to make money. “Not until later, when I realized the effects on the community.  I started looking at the community on the whole, but in the beginning no.

“I was thinking about surviving. I was thinking about improving my situation. I was thinking about buying clothes.”

Moving on to more adorable matters.

Jay-Z talked about his daughter, Blue Ivy’s taste in music, and how it strikes the right balance between mommy and daddy’s tunes.

“She does like her mother’s music—she watches [Beyoncé’s concerts] on the computer every night,” Jay-Z said.  “But my album came out and I don’t know if Blue ever heard any of my music prior to this album—she’s only 18 months old and I don’t play my music around the house. But this album was new, so we played it. And she loves all the songs. She plays a song and she goes, ‘More, Daddy, more . . . Daddy song.’ She’s my biggest fan. If no one bought the Magna Carta [album], the fact that she loves it so much, it gives me the greatest joy. And that’s not like a cliché.”

“I’m really serious. Just to see her—‘Daddy song, more, Daddy.’ She’s genuine, she’s honest, because she doesn’t know it makes me happy. She just wants to hear it.”

Cover photo shot by Mario Testino.