The phrase “one and done,” so synonymous with the National Collegiate Athletic Association/ National Basketball Association pipeline, is a once a year, celebrated, life-changing occurrence. For one of the most influential sports agents doing it, through Roc Nation Sports, had he stayed the course of that philosophy, pop culture as we know it today would have been drastically altered. Artist/sports management, fashion, film, real estate, restaurateur, investor and philanthropist are some of the titles he holds simultaneously, and he has done quite well. Confirming and contradicting his assertion, “I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man.” If the projections hold true, billionaire status is in the foreseeable future. Thus is the life and times of Shawn Carter Volume 2, uh-huh.
Volume 1 of Carter’s life and times was dominated by his alter ego, Jay Z. Who would have imagined that entrée into such successful ventures would come by way of well-crafted slices of life, replete with vivid characters, plots and conﬂicts, developed and presented through the mind’s eye of a master of ceremonies? Yeah, we know the flow is sick and the beats bang, but that mastery of the word is very real. We saw glimpses in cameo features with Big Daddy Kane, Big L, The Jaz, Original Flavor and Sauce Money, but nothing prepared the streets for what was to come with the debut album, “Reasonable Doubt.” The urban legend is that the album was to serve as his debut and swan song. The streets however wouldn’t let that happen. He spoke to and for the cats who were faced with seemingly insurmountable odds and grand aspirations. But they only had drive and ambition to bring their goals to fruition. Ironically Sunday, June 25, marks the 21st anniversary of that album, and the raw potential he displayed on that opus has come to fruition and not just the streets recognize it. June 15, 2017, at the Songwriters Hall of Fame 48th annual Induction and Awards Dinner, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter had his name immortalized among the best to ever put pen to paper. Real life impeded Carter from attending the New York Marriott Hotel, but his longtime friend and music publisher, Warner/Chappell CEO Jon Platt, put things in perspective.
“I’ve only known one other songwriter whose songwriting has launched so many companies and created careers for so many other people—hundreds of people—and that man was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame tonight as a songwriter: [Motown Records founder] Mr. Berry Gordy. Mr. Gordy, I wish you could have seen how Jay’s eyes lit up when I told him you were both being inducted on the same night. It was really special. And to all the inductees tonight, Jay salutes your achievements as well.”
Joining Carter and Gordy were Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Robert Lamm and James Pankow of the group Chicago and Max Martin. Special presentations were made to Alan Menken, with the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award; Ed Sheeran, with the Hal David Starlight Award; Pitbull, with the first-ever Global Ambassador Award; and Caroline Bienstock, with the Abe Oleman Publisher Award.