"Time's most influential was impressive/'Specially since I wasn't in the artist section/Had me with the builders and the titans, had me right with Rupert Murdoch/Billionaire boys and some dudes you never heard of” - Jay Z on Hot 97 "Grammy Family Freestyle” (2006)
It’s one thing to have money, and Jay’s got it in boatloads, but the true giants of history know how to wield that intangible force—influence—as their greatest weapon. An effective politician must be able to move the crowd, inspire people with competing interests to get behind his initiatives.
And when it comes to worldwide clout, just check the credentials: Jay made Time’s “100 Most Influential” list, not once, but twice. Or maybe you don’t buy into lists created by the corporate machine. Fair enough. You can simply look to the cultural lexicon around you to witness Jigga’s impact, small or large.
He popularized the button-up over the throwback jersey; Ace of Spades over Cristal. He added “Basquiat” to the vernacular of project kids and hustlers, and launched NYC back into the global limelight with “Empire State of Mind.” He even managed to make 30-year-olds feel 20, and marriage seem cool in a rap culture that celebrates misogyny and promiscuity (anyone else notice how many rappers are suddenly taking their vows now that Jay and Bey reign supreme?).
Jay Z is a brand, nay, a force. His tastes influence generations. His business moves inspire. His words carry weight. He already has our ear and our hearts—just imagine what he could do with that influence as mayor of NYC.