When Forbes put out its list of the 400 richest people in 2010, one of the cover men could boast of business partnerships with Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Budweiser and Hewlett-Packard among others. His business ventures also include a sports team, a sports bar, sports wear, and it sports a cosmetic line. Such is the empire of rapper Jay-Z who at an estimated worth of $450 million is too poor for the Forbes list where the minimum fortune should be at least a billion. Lest anyone believe that the fortunes of rap stars come from, uh, rapping, it’s time for a reality check. Their musical notoriety is often the first step to a diversified business portfolio to the point where some actually “retire” from music making to pursue business.
Jay-Z is among a gaggle of people, mostly men, who started out with music aspirations but actually parlayed their musical name into business empires. On his way to topping the earnings chart, Jay-Z unseated Diddy who also has a clothing line, a restaurant and a vodka line among others. He isn’t known for his academic accomplishments but in light of his successful ventures, he now wants to start his very own business school. Russell Simmons started out promoting concerts but later ventured into a clothing line and even an energy drink. Rapper 50 Cent doesn’t own a candy shop but he sells clothing, video games, flavored water and the like. Whether it’s Ludacris or T-Pain or Akon, their beats might lead to dancing feet but it’s their fragrances, clothing lines, athletic shoes and ringtones that put them on high earnings lists. And to think, they’re not Wharton grads.
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