Jay-Z: from housing projects to hopping on private jets


Over the years, I have steadily become a staunch fan of Jay-Z’s. For the simple reason that he is a talented Writer, lyricist and storyteller. Through his work, he’s able to tag one along for trips through his childhood, struggles, triumphs and offer a glimpse of how he has made strides in business.

Let’s pore over his lyrics and form a correlation between his humble beginnings and reaching global stardom — turning himself into a powerful cultural phenomenon.

“Please believe that! Somehow, someway, we gotta make it up out the hood some day”

The ‘hood’ that you want to, for a lack of a better word, escape, might be the dire financial situation in which you find yourself. Or, it just might be the job you’re stuck in and want to change because it’s slowly gnawing at your soul.

Jigga wanted to leave the housing projects because they were not built for people to thrive. How they’re designed is to oppress their inhabitants.

What is your most pressing issue in your life. Also, what do you want to do with your life? Then start doing that! (You don’t have forever on earth!)

“With a little ambition, just what we could become here

Can you see the vast possibilities around you?

Jay-Z did. Even in a seemingly hopeless space like the neighbourhood, Marcy, Brooklyn, in which he grew up.

Here’s a tip: start embracing constraints! You don’t need an avalanche of resources to get started. Don’t make the fatal mistake others make, which is to complain about a lack of resources when what they really lack is imagination and creativity to use the little they currently have at their disposal to attract much more.

With just a little ambition, you can become a legend!

“Niggas in the same spot, me I’m dodging rain drops”

Are you truly alive or do you merely exist?

Hova loves forward movement.

And so should you! When you are going through stressful events such as having to make big decisions, agonising over sourcing resources for your project and constantly thinking about how you can add value and have impact on the world — you are dodging rain drops.

You are alive! Always seek rain drops. Detest standing still!

“World can’t hold me, too much ambition. Always knew it’d be like this when I was in the kitchen”

If there’s any favour I’ll desperately ask from you, it is simply this: Gather some confidence about your future.

What’s astounding is that on his first album, there are songs where he declares that he is the greatest ever! He didn’t wait for other people’s accolades to believe in himself. That’s the nature of Hip Hop (and to some degree, the culture inculcated in and promoted by the Americans). Those people know nothing else more than that they’re the best. Every guy who steps up the mic talks about how he is the greatest to ever do it.

Show yourself more respect by having faith that your recipe will come out magnificently. Never wait to get out of the kitchen to know and believe that.

“Navigation on tryna find my next thrill”

I’d advise against falling in love with your past, whether good or bad.

Jay has often shown the hunger to do more than he’s done in the past. Instead of dwelling on it.

The past might be a place of reference, but it definitely isn’t one for residence.

Turn on your navigation!

“… I don’t know why they worry about my pockets, meanwhile I had Oprah chillin’ in the projects”

I hate petty issues! I hope you do, too, because they whisk precious time away and sap one’s energy.

Jay-Z doesn’t concern himself with things that do not add value to his personal growth or his bank balance.

So, discard the urge to pore over unnecessary things. Concern yourself with making history and doing the unthinkable!

“Yeah, I’m out that Brooklyn, now I’m down in Tribeca / Right next to De Niro, but I’ll be hood forever”

Take it from me, I really want you to succeed — however success looks like to you. Attain that.

Shawn Corey Carter knows that whatever gold and silver he accumulates, at heart, he’s still going to be a boy from Brooklyn.

As you are charting your thing, figure out which values and I suppose, ‘things’, you value over money and all that glitters.

Ultimately, by all means, aim to have wealth, but also aim to have all the things money cannot buy.