What Would Jay-Z Do? A Book Review

Author Quinn Bryant has a new book out asking the question, what would Jay-Z do?

Well… what would he do?

If you are a hip-hop head who works in this business, this is probably a question that you have asked yourself. Jay-Z is the most influential artist in our culture. He is a billionaire who has helped propel hip-hop to the mainstream. 

From the moment he burst onto the scene in the late 90s, Jay told us who he was… A Hustler, baby. And over his nearly 30 year career, he has been sure to “Stick to the Script.”

Jay-Z’s hustler mentality has been criticized harshly over the past week after the rapper/businessman announced his new partnership with RocNation and the NFL. 

During the press conference, Jay-Z stated that, “We all know the issue now. OK, next. What are we moving (on to) next? …And I’m not minimizing that part of it because that has to happen, that’s a necessary part of the process. But now that we all know what’s going on, what are we going to do? How are we going to stop it? Because the kneeling was not about a job, it was about injustice.”

While new details have since emerged about Jay-Z’s impending ownership share in a yet unnamed NFL team, the deal has created a backlash the likes of which Jay-Z has never seen.

Still, one does not have to look far to find Jay-Z’s capitalistic roots. He put it in his music which has always been about the acquisition of more and more money. 

Although the lyrics remain motivational, there are also a lot of questions about how much capitalism will ever benefit African Americans. 

Fred Hampton, Jr. may have said it best: “We don’t think you fight fire with fire best ; we think you fight fire with water best. We’re going to fight racism not with racism, but we’re going to fight with solidarity. We say we’re not going to fight capitalism with black capitalism, but we’re going to fight it with socialism.”

Regardless of your opinion of Jay-Z as of August 2019, and if you are anything like me, that opinion may have greatly changed, there is still no denying the lyrics that propelled Jay-Z to GOAT status.

In her first, and self-published book, What Would Jay-Z Do writer Quinn Bryant has scoured through some of her favorite Jay-Z lyrics and paired them with her own thoughts and meditations. 

The result is an interesting book that is meant to be read daily and inspire the reader.

What Would Jay-Z is ambitious. The most striking thing about the book is the fact that it is designed to look somewhat like a Bible. The first edition of the book is faux leather bound with gold trimmed pages. 

The product is a bit unnerving in that it furthers the idea of the rapper as god-like.

Bryant used largely newer Jay-Z songs. There are dozens of references that come from Watch the Throne, 4:44, and Magna Carta Holy Grail. This use of so many newer Jay songs reflects the author’s youth.

In addition to lyrics from albums, the book also references quotes from interviews with Jay like this one from The New York Times Style Magazine Sept., 2017 “without people, being rich would be very boring.” Bryant then writes about how “good lives consist of good people,” she posits that while one is making money, they should be sure to be making great relationships.

What Would Jay-Z Do is an interesting and valiant effort. I am sure that fans of the rapper would be quick to add it to their hip-hop book collection. 

I, however, gifted the book to a younger nephew who could maybe benefit more from these words than an old school head like myself. Because, I’ve seen what Jay-Z would do and I’m not sure his advice is still for me to take.

Find the book and merchandise at WhatWouldJay-ZDo.com