I’ve been following JAY-Z’s music career since his second album In My Lifetime: Volume 1 and since then I’ve been a huge fan of both his music and his business career. Like me he’s Brooklyn born and we both like to switch things up. He’s been called everything from Shawn Carter, to Jay-Z, to HOVA…and he keeps evolving. While some of his fans can appreciate his evolution throughout the years, some are still struggling to keep up with his growth. He’s gone from being an ex-dope boy to being a part owner in the Brooklyn Nets and having a financial stake in the arena they play in.
He said it best in his verse off the record 3 Kings with Rick Ross and Dr. Dre,“ex-d-boy used to park my Bimmer. Now look at me I can park in my own arena.” He’s rapped about the odds of not coming out of his neighborhood past the age of 18 in the track Where I’m From to having a culture wide call-to-action for men to change their image in the track Change Clothes, off The Fade To Black Album. He’s grown up a lot and in his recent 13th studio album, entitled 4:44, the tracks titled Legacy and The Story of OJ speak to a particular subject that I’ve always been passionate about.
“I bought some artwork for 1 million
2 years later, that $h!t worth 2 million
Few years later, that $h!t worth 8 million
I can’t wait to give this $h!t to my children”
The thing about having discussions about this topic is the discomfort people feel. The topic of passing on wealth and the knowledge of building wealth, is a complicated discussion filled with feelings of ambiguity. Some people don’t feel it’s their responsibility to help anyone advance. Some people don’t like the idea of having to share anything they’ve worked hard for…whether it be knowledge or money. Then there are the individuals who are afraid that those that inherit wealth, will waste what’s been left to them without any real appreciation to it’s value. Inheritances can create surprising changes in relationships and shift perceptions – that those who have had something left to them are more privileged than others.
I understand. I get it. But in the black culture, we don’t talk about passing on legacy enough…
JAY-Z’s recent 13th studio album, entitled 4:44, has two tracks that make it a point to drive home the importance of leaving both inheritance and legacy for our children. For me the tracks Legacy and Story of OJ, give musical life about the transfer of wealth and future generations possessing wealth building assets; topics not often discussed within the African American culture.
Some of the most insightful conversations I’ve had about the topic of “inheritance” often take place with 50 to 70 year old established caucasian males. There’s something about receiving financial advice from a segment of society who are living financially free, on their own terms, aren’t slaves to working harder, but yet they continue to maintain a quality of life year by year. In my journey I’ve observed that this segment of society tend to have an interest in making sure their children, surrounding family members and immediate social circle are guided into a position of financial strength by learning frequently about managing their money and emerging themselves in constant financial education.
Let me say first that wealth is not everything nor is it my foundational principle of why I work hard. There are other essential values that need to be passed on to future generations such as integrity, respect, honor and responsibility. Qualities that still need to exist even more when wealth is wielded by the hands of the inheritor. However, it has been proven throughout the centuries that with wealth, access to better educational opportunities, better quality life and the pursuit of purpose is achieved much easier.
Change needs to come for the African American community when it comes to the topic of inheritance, family legacy and the pursuit of bettering the generations to come. What are we leaving behind for our communities, families and children?