Yesterday The Atlantic ran an excerpt from a book on Jay-Z that shows the rapper in some rather unflattering light. Now that article is nowhere to be found (here’s a reposting of it). The author, Zack O’Malley Greenburg, writes that Jay is receiving millions per year for endorsing a sparkling wine called Armand de Brignac.
The problem is that everyone affiliated with the wine – as well as Jay-Z – denies any business ties. If this doesn’t seem like a big deal, check the mathematics:
The production cost per bottle of Armand de Brignac is about $13; the wholesale price is $225. The maximum output is 60,000 bottles per year. If Jay-Z splits the $212-per-bottle profit evenly with Cattier and Sovereign, a back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests his annual take would be a little over $4 million. One of my sources confirmed that number, and added that Jay-Z may have received equity in Sovereign Brands worth about $50 million. All for dropping a few lyrical references and featuring Armand de Brignac in a couple of videos.
As you can see, if authorities ever confirm the ties between Jay-Z and Armand, they will definitely try to knock the hustle. Which leads FishbowlNY to wonder: Did Jay have his people pressure The Atlantic to pull the piece?
As of now, the link to The Atlantic is still dead. The only evidence is a tweet from the magazine yesterday afternoon, saying the piece would reappear after “further edits.” We did find two major typos in the article – whole quotes are repeated twice – but if that’s all it was, you’d think the piece would be back up quickly.
We’ve reached out to both The Atlantic and Greenburg about this, and we’ll keep you posted.
It’s 6 PM and we still haven’t received comment from The Atlantic or Greenburg, but we did notice Greenburg tweeted two hours ago “conversations ongoing, will update as soon as I have more news.” Obviously something is up, so we’re going to keep digging.
[3/24] FishbowlNY heard from Greenburg – who referred us to someone at Penguin, the publisher of his book – late last night. We also heard from The Atlantic early this morning. Both told us we can expect answers soon – so we’ll be posting something new at about noon today. Stay tuned. Link with comments from Penguin.