Get the key ideas from

JAY-Z

Made in America

By Michael Eric Dyson
13-minute read
Audio available
JAY-Z by Michael Eric Dyson

JAY-Z: Made in America (2019) explores the enormous political and artistic contributions of one of the most influential hip-hop artists of our time. JAY-Z is the only rapper to become a billionaire. His career spans three decades and 17 platinum albums. However, he is much more than just a mega earner. These blinks reveal that he is also an adventurous, experimental artist and a principled activist, using his considerable influence to fight against social inequality. 

  • Fans of JAY-Z who want to deepen their knowledge of their idol 
  • Memoir lovers who want to learn about the remarkable trajectory of a musical entrepreneur who turned his life around
  • Poetry lovers who want to read about one of the most unconventional poets of our time

Michael Eric Dyson is a widely respected public intellectual and the author of the New York Times best sellers Tears We Cannot Stop and What Truth Sounds Like. He is also an opinion writer for the New York Times and is a contributing editor at the New Republic and ESPN’s The Undefeated. Dyson holds the distinguished position of University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, where he teaches an acclaimed course on JAY-Z’s life and work. 

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

JAY-Z

Made in America

By Michael Eric Dyson
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
JAY-Z by Michael Eric Dyson
Synopsis

JAY-Z: Made in America (2019) explores the enormous political and artistic contributions of one of the most influential hip-hop artists of our time. JAY-Z is the only rapper to become a billionaire. His career spans three decades and 17 platinum albums. However, he is much more than just a mega earner. These blinks reveal that he is also an adventurous, experimental artist and a principled activist, using his considerable influence to fight against social inequality. 

Key idea 1 of 8

Through his enormous talent and determination, JAY-Z managed to transform himself from a blight hustler to a bright hustler. 

What exactly is a hustler? Hustling can be seen as intrinsically American, a key attribute of anyone trying to secure that longed-for American dream. Hustling is being proactive, strategizing, working toward achieving your ambitions. 

However, there are different kinds of hustling. Blight hustling takes place in the context of desperation. African Americans have a long history of blight hustling, which started in the time of slavery. As slaves, African Americans were denied basic human rights and economic opportunities. This meant that they were forced to live and work on the margins of society. The systematic oppression of African Americans during slavery and beyond had far-reaching consequences that can still be seen today in the high levels of poverty in African American communities.

JAY-Z experienced poverty first-hand. He grew up with a single mom who struggled to support a household of four children on one income. To make money and get ahead, JAY-Z became a blight hustler, dealing crack cocaine on street corners. Many of his peers who were dealing at the same time ended up in jail.

However, JAY-Z escaped that fate thanks to his obsession with music. He tapped into his enormous musical talent to create his first album. He then determinedly tried to secure a deal with a record company. When he couldn’t find anyone who would support him, he founded his own company and released his first album by himself.

JAY-Z had turned into a bright hustler – someone who uses his tenacity and drive in a creative way to effect positive change. As JAY-Z has become more and more successful, he has been able to pull off ever brighter and more magnificent hustles, transforming himself into a music mogul, social activist, and philanthropist. 

However, JAY-Z never forgot what it was like to come from the very difficult circumstances of the blight hustler. He repeatedly mentions it in his songs and keeps up strong connections to the communities from which he came. 

When he became established as a rapper, JAY-Z took emerging rappers like Drake and Lil Wayne under his wing. He became a mentor to them, making space for them, too, to become masters of bright hustle – using their creativity to forge successful careers for themselves.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.