Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 4th

"Shawn Carter was born December 4th
Weighing in at 10 pounds 8 ounces
He was the last of my 4 children
The only one who didn't give me any pain when I gave birth to him
And that's how i knew that he was a special child"

We all find our inspiration and motivation at different times and places throughout our lives. For the most part I believe most of us can say that their first sense of inspiration comes from their parents. I mean, it holds true for me. Everything I do is for my mom and dad and to eventually support them down the road, just as how they have been supporting me since Day 1. As we get older though we start coming into our own and we begin to learn about important figures in History that we can relate too. This personal connection causes a spark within us that if they can do it you can, or it can be just taking something from their persona and beliefs that you can apply to propel yourself to where you want to be. The name of my movement says it all in who my idol is: Jay-Z. It is natural for people to be curious and research the success stories of popular figures that have made an impact in todays world. Everybody knows the story of Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan and Bill Gates. We know that each individual had to overcome major adversity to get where they are today, and even though MLK Jr. and Steve Jobs do not walk this Earth anymore it doesn't mean their impact on society don't. 

For Christmas last year one of my presents was Jay-Z's book Decoded, and it was awesome reading taking in his insight such as how he processes information and goes on about his business. It is more interesting when certain people like Jobs and Jay become so successful without graduating college. It goes back to my movement that school doesn't necessarily guarantee success, but that success stems from some sort of education; and it doesn't necessarily have to come from our school system even though I do support it. Jay's education came from the streets and his life experiences as a drug dealer. I don't recommend to start selling drugs and believing you will turn out like Jay, because drugs didn't make Jay, Jay made Jay. Reading articles and watching interviews about his life, I have noticed many people have a problem that we praise a figure that sold crack to people, essentially slowly killing them and what not. But when you live in the Marcy projects it becomes an issue of survival of the fittest. And lets be honest, to get to the top you have to step on people and do things people might question, but at the end of the day the majority will do whatever they need to do to become successful. For Jay it was drugs, but he was  looking at the bigger picture and it is interesting that music wasn't his initial goal. He always loved music, which came from his parents, but if you compare him to todays rappers he started his career really late. He would listen to his parents records and begin singing to them, and eventually he began writing lyrics about his dealer life and the struggle.

Saving up money and on the hustle, he began visiting record shops and dropping of his music while keeping the streets in the back of his mind. Soon enough he started creating a buzz throughout New York, but still no record label came knocking on his door for a deal. So for Jay, the logical thing was to create his own label, Roc-A-Fella Records, with Damon Dash and Kareem Biggs in 1995. A year later Jay dropped one of the best albums in hip hop history, which is my favorite album of all time: Reasonable Doubt.

And ever since that album Jay-Z has been in the limelight in the music industry and now is considered one of the greatest of all time. For me I think he is The G.O.A.T., and even though there is no way to decide who is, Jay has my vote. With 11 solo albums, a handful of collaborative projects and unlimited amount of hits, I think Jay-Z is the most consistent rapper in history. When your name is at the top of the list and relevant for over 20 years in the music industry you know you are doing something right. The thing I admire is that he never gets complacent which must be hard when your worth almost half a Billion dollars. He definitely is the ultimate "Rags to Riches" story, and I am not saying I'm like him, but I definitely can relate to his mindset. And for me it is about studying his business moves and how he thinks and applying those things to my life. I have a mind of my own, but as we get older we are influenced by others and for me Jay is my biggest influence outside of my family. It started as me being a fan of his music and than it evolved to me being curious about his background and how he got to where he is today, which actually lead me to  begin reading and watching interviews; even watching a couple documentaries about him. For not finishing High School he is intelligent and has become one of the most influential people not just in music, but politics, sports and anthropology. 

Even though he owns clubs, a record label, clothing line and has a share of an NBA team he  never forgets to acknowledge where he came from. And if you are not a Jay-Z fan, this is something everybody can admire, because even though it might be a bad history we always have to remember where we come from. Some might give more credit than other, but I truly believe we are who we are based on where and how we were raised. As I push my "Can I Live?" movement I always work hard to keep that in mind because my perception of life is based on my "success and struggle, joy and pain" that occurred in the past. Today we celebrate Jay-Z's birthday not just as an artist, but as the General of the movement I am pushing and how we should approach life. Life isn't easy and sometimes it takes us longer than what we expect to finally be where we want to be, but the most important thing is to get there and LIVE!! Whether you work on Wall Street or the mall, Life is a hustle so don't let the haters "Knock your Hustle" and keep doing what you are doing.

Check out the cool documentary below about Jay-Z's journey to perform 8 shows at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn!!




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