JAY-Z recently increased his net worth by 40 percent to $1.4 billion after joining Square’s board of directors and selling a majority TIDAL stake to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, but the man himself says celebrity status alone isn’t enough to run an empire worth billions.
During an interview with South China Morning Post, the Hip Hop mogul was humble about his success and gave credit to Dorsey and Philippe Schaus, the CEO of LVMH who bought a 50 percent stake in his Armand de Brignac champagne.
“I’m very fortunate,” he said. “Jack Dorsey, who created Twitter, Square and Cash App, and Philippe [Schaus] and the guys who created LVMH – you couldn’t ask for better partners; they’re the top of the top. [Things] usually align like that when people do really great things. You could get into partnerships and people short-change the business for different reasons. These guys don’t cut corners, they try to get it right. It’s about respect.”
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Hov’s champagne — also known as Ace of Spades — was founded in 2006 and sold over 500,000 bottles in 2019.
“We ran this brand from the office with eight or nine people, a really small, scrappy group,” Jay explained. “We became very successful and we’ve always looked at LVMH as the pinnacle of what we represent, a group that creates things based on their love of luxury, of getting the details perfectly correct. If I’m going to be in a partnership, especially with a brand that’s so successful, it has to enhance the brand, it can’t hinder it.”
He continued, “This isn’t a celebrity brand, it’s a luxury brand. It’s a brand to be taken seriously and it’s not a rapper’s brand. [There was an element of] fighting against that, the weight of your own celebrity. While celebrity is not all bad, in that it can bring a new customer to something they otherwise [wouldn’t have experienced], it has to be – like everything else in the world – balanced.”
Speaking on Hip Hop and champagne’s colliding worlds, Hov compared the crossover to the genre’s relationship with graffiti.
“Just like with Hip Hop and graffiti, for example, we took it outside the art galleries, and people were upset, but we were expressing ourselves,” he said. “We’ve seen it time and time again, that when two worlds respect each other and what each individual or group brings to the table, it can be a beautiful thing.
“There are things that we’ve done that are not typically by the books. And you can look at that in two ways – you can look down on it, or you can say, ‘Wait, that’s interesting.’”
Elsewhere, Jay and Dorsey’s plans also include establishing a Bitcoin development fund worth around $23 million.