So Ambitious: 5 JAY-Z Lyrical Lessons for Bosses


By Eliza David

Pause. Think about your favorite celeb bosses.

Who in Tinseltown has set epic goals, created strides in their own lane, and paved the way for you & others? Oprah Winfrey, Tina Fey, Tyra Banks, Kimora Lee Simmons – these are a few of my faves. These women have a brand all their own and work it for everything. I sit in awe of their words, fashion, and overall boss appeal. When it comes to men, however, no male celeb has fueled my hustle more than a man born Shawn Corey Carter.

We know him by several aliases: Jigga, Jiggaman, Hov, El Presidente.  Or, simply put, Jay Z.

The legendary rapper and hip hop mogul, who turns 47 on December 4th, is probably not the first celeb who comes to mind when you think the word ‘girlboss’. The irony? He’s married to one of the most prolific girlbosses of all time – Beyoncé. A career spanning over two decades, Jigga’s bravado about his past ruled his lyrics in the Nineties. With the turn of the century, Jay Z’s influential words focused more on the business side of his multi-tiered career.

This boss has it covered: rapper, artist, investor, philanthropist, author, and business guru. The Grammy Award-winning entrepreneur has used one of the many tools in his talent arsenal to spout some great life lessons: hip hop. Here’s a sampling of Jay Z’s library of lyrics whose meanings ring true for all boss chicks:

‘We don’t believe you/You need more people.’ Takeover, 2001

Creating lasting partnerships in your chosen field is important. A boss with a healthy team at her side can move mountains. But if your tribe isn’t up to snuff, those mountains can become obstacles. Don’t be afraid to make your business partners, associates, and employees show their worth to you. Making your team members vouch for their character is a boss rule that cannot be overlooked. The best members on your squad will take opportunities of improvement to make themselves better for you. You deserve to ask the very best of your team and they should deliver.

‘When the grass is cut/The snakes will show.’ Blueprint 2, 2002

What happens when someone on your team doesn’t deliver? Sifting out the bad apples in your clique is beneficial not only for your brand, but for your well-being. There’s nothing worse in business than finding out that someone you trusted betrayed you. Keep your grass cut, as Jigga says, and keep your eyes and ears open.

‘I will not lose for even in defeat/There’s a valuable lesson learned so that evens it up for me.” Blueprint 2, 2002

Part of success is failure. Can’t beat fate sometimes, no matter how prepared you may be for the venture. What makes mistakes worthwhile is the ability to find the silver lining and use it to patch yourself up. One of the greatest tricks of the trade is to turn your loss into a lesson.

‘I’m so far ahead of my time/I’m ‘bout to start another life.’ Hovi Baby, 2003

One thing we can all attest to is that the times, they are a’changin’. If your product or service is going to survive the fast-paced marketplace, you must be a boss lady who thinks ahead. The most successful women in power have one thing in common: a glimpse into the future. It’s good to have a flexible outlook, but having a concise plan for your brand as it moves forward is smart business.   

‘But I’m different/I can’t base what I’m gonna be off of what everybody isn’t.’ So Ambitious, 2009

Whether you’re the CEO of your household, of a corporation – or both! – the best advice is to remain true to yourself. Any time one of my goals is doubted, it gives me more strength to get out and crush it. I remind myself that everyone isn’t built the same. No two girlbosses are alike, so figure out what is about you that makes your hustle stand out from the rest.

Add some Jay to your motivational playlists for a boost in your mood and in your hustle!

Eliza is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap.  To apply to become a Contributing Writer, click HERE.

{featured image via Vanity Fair}