During an hour-long conversation with Steve Forbes, Jay-Z and multi-billionaire, Warren Buffett compared their approaches to wealth-building and various other topics. An interesting name emerged during Jay’s portion of the conversation when asked how much luck played a part in his success. The onetime writer for the sarcastic song “Lucky Me” credited an overseas trip with former mentor-turned-rival as presenting him with an opportunity.
“A guy by the name of Jaz, who I started out with real early, got the opportunity to go to London and record his album,” Jay-Z said of the Marcy Projects native’s album, Word To The Jaz. Jay-Z noted that prior to that opportunity, he was “involved in street things,” the Brooklyn native said, “I went along with him, and we stayed for two months. During that two months there was a sting operation, and they took my friend away for 13 years. The only reason I wasn’t there is because I was away doing this business stuff.”
During the conversation, Jay-Z also discussed his time as Def Jam’s President.
“I wanted to bring the entire culture into it so I could do other things,” said Jay of his bigger plans for the position. “I wanted to set up a fund so I could buy a television station or a club that we could develop these artists in. There was all these things I wanted to do, and at the time I don’t think they could really get their mind around it. I just felt like I would be a waste there.” Jay-Z served as President of the historic Rap label between early 2005 and December of 2007.
Speaking about changing technologies, Jay-Z also spoke about realizing the Internet’s affects on the music industry. At a time when he was trying to pull The Blueprint 3 away from Def Jam Records, Jay explained how the album’s potential leak affected its value. “I had flown in from Hawaii after doing some recording. I had my iPod in my jogging pants, but all the music I had just recorded was missing. So I had to walk into the [Def Jam Records] office the next day and buy an album back that might leak the next day. So every day I would wake up and check the Internet places where it might leak.”