The Jay-Z Brand Decoder

Prolific, cryptic, and intellectual, Jay-Z is a rap icon whose brand goes well beyond the music

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Hip-hop has more than a few playaz in the 35 percent tax bracket. Lil Wayne's not-so-little bank account holds an estimated $85 million. 50 Cent, with a net value of $250 million, has the distinction of being worth 500 million times the amount in his name. But of these musicians/businessmen (they've all done an endorsement deal or two, and can certainly sell music)–only one has leapfrogged the demographic boundaries of rap to become, in one cross-cultural, multi-categorical swoop, a living brand.

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