Jay-Z and ad executive Steve Stoute will end months of speculation today by confirming that they will partner up to head Translation Consultation and Brand Imaging. Rumors have been circulating throughout the industry since Stoute sold the company to advertising giant Interpublic last October. Once Jay-Z decided to leave his post as the president of Def Jam, rumors that the rapper/entrepreneur would join Stoute only grew.
"He left his day job at Def Jam; he has to do something," Stoute told the New York Times, in reference to his new business partner. Although the partnership seems like a natural fit now, with both Stoute and Jay-Z owning the majority stake of the company and serving as co-chairmen, many wouldn't have predicted the pairing a few years ago.
Stoute helped guide the career of Nas for the better part of the 90's, and Jay-Z's former Roc-a-Fella partner Damon Dash accused Stoute of taking subtle jabs at Jay-Z on several occasions. All that is now apparently irrelevant, as the two are expected to announce the Interpublic venture later today. Over the last five years, Stoute and Jay-Z have separately brokered deals with McDonald's, Budweiser, Belvedere Vodka and Reebok.
"If we sit in a room," says Jay-Z, "and offer our ideas of how to reach consumers, how to speak to them-and this is not a cocky statement-put us up against anything, and we'll win our fair share of battles."