Jeezy recently confessed at REVOLT WORLD that his artistry was just a meal ticket to being the serial entrepreneur the public sees today.
As many know, the “I Ain’t Gon Hold Ya” artist has delved into diverse business ventures through the years. Some of his most prominent endeavors are in the spirits industry (Tequila Avión), real estate (J.W.J. Realty), marketing (Agency 99), and publishing. During “The Blackprint” live chat with REVOLT CEO Detavio Samuels at the event, the mogul got candid about the vision he always saw for himself. He revealed the end goal was to be a thriving businessman, not a rapper.
“To me, the college life boxed me in, right? And the entrepreneur life is what I wanted because now I can go outside my comfort zone and become something I’ve never been before because there’s no outline for that. When you’re an entrepreneur, you don’t have to follow the guidelines and that’s the part that I love,” Jeezy told Samuels.
Although the now-businessman felt like wasn’t college material, he stressed the importance of always being a student in the game because knowledge is power. He went on to share that he’s not ashamed to reach out to individuals who are experts in areas he’s interested in pursuing, and broke down how he navigates building new relationships.
“Never stop learning. That’s the most important thing ever…I’m self-educated,” the author said. “I dropped out of school in the fifth grade, right? Got my GED when I was locked up, but I make it a point a couple of hours a day to sit down and just educate myself on things that I wanna do or I wanna become involved in.”
He continued, “And as I’m educating myself, I’m looking at who the players are, right? I’m looking at who the strategists are, and then I’m going to figure out a way to connect with them, right? I don’t care if I DM them, reach out through a friend, whatever…I just need to sit down with them for 30 minutes and ask ‘em seven questions.”
He then revealed that mentorship and partnership are important keys when it comes to being successful. In Jeezy’s journey, JAY-Z was a pivotal resource because he was able to have conversations with the icon that helped him understand the mindset of a business owner.
“JAY-Z was my mentor when I was 15, so by the first time I did a song with him, I was ready to get on his a**, you know what I’m saying? I couldn’t wait, you know what I’m saying?” Jeezy said laughing. “A lot of people didn’t understand, like me and JAY-Z had a real man relationship, we didn’t talk about music. I watched his business moves ‘cause I’m trying to figure out how do you sustain this without losing who you are to the culture, and that’s what I cared about. So, those are the types of questions that I asked JAY-Z when I got on a jet with him by myself or somewhere that we could just talk. I didn’t want to ask him, ‘How do you make platinum records?’ I think I could handle that.”
Jeezy’s talks with Hov and other businesspeople helped him stay afloat and broaden his perspective. To maintain his lifestyle and reaching new heights, the enterpriser always engages with people in the room who are at the head of the table, so the one he is building will be and remain well-rounded.
“Once you get any taste of success, you have to sustain that s**t, right? And you have to continue to grow and continue to build relationships, and how do you do that? By continuing to get the knowledge ‘cause one thing about it is if you sit down with somebody that can give you information and you ask the right questions [to], they’re going to take to you and they’re going to pour into you.
“And that’s why I say [I am] a person who refused to be boxed in because I never wanted to do music. I knew that, that was the liaison between me and what I was trying to get to…because music was my talent, but business has always been my passion. It’s always been my passion right? And I knew I wasn’t going to be able to walk from the block or right here [in Atlanta]…and then go straight into a boardroom. It wasn’t going to happen,” he added.
“The only way I was going to do that was to continue to move up the ranks by obtaining knowledge and understanding what I was doing. So, when I’m going in these rooms and I’d be sitting down having these seven questions, I done already studied this person. Sometimes people can be your mentor without you even knowing them.”
Jeezy also spoke about planting seeds decades ago. What society sees now are just the fruits of his labor. He emphasized why entrepreneurs need to always stay ready on their journey because a missed opportunity was something he couldn’t afford to let happen since he knew his purpose.
“You just gotta be ready and gotta be on point ‘cause when it starts to shift, if you not ready you gonna miss that boat, right? And there was nothing in me that was going to let me miss that boat because I knew that if I can pull this off, I had so much more to bring to my culture than just music.”
He continued with a smile, “And this all came from an idea, a dream, and a grind. Imagine that s**t. That’s entrepreneurship right there if I’ve ever seen it.”
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