“Show them how to move in a room full of vultures/Industry is shady, it needs to be taken over.” - Jay Z on “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” (2001)

It can’t be taught. It can’t be bought, sold, or even measured. It’s the inner guide that steers us clear of danger, or steers us towards the right opportunity. It helps us decipher right from wrong, truth from lies, friend from foe. Instinct. All of us have it, but politicians need it for survival. And Jay Z is a natural born politico. A quick look at Jay’s career reveals evidence of his shark-like instincts.

Exhibit A: His carefully curated exposure. By cherry picking which media and social outlets he will partake in, Jay has maintained an air of allure that few other celebrities can match. While your favorite rapper is tweeting about his morning bowel movement, Jigga is laying low, never saying too much; giving us just enough to keep us interested, but not enough to make him feel like a peer. Genius.

Exhibit B: His music. If there is one thing that frustrates true hip-hop heads to no end, it’s that Hov always treads the line between art and commercialism, never veering too far off center. We know what he’s capable of lyrically, but if it doesn’t make dollars, then it doesn’t make sense to the King of Rap. Plainly put, Jigga makes hits. And while this instinct for the paper guarantees we won’t be witnessing the true scope of his lyrical prowess anytime soon, it has still led to a track record few can replicate.

Exhibit C: Discretion. To have had a career that has spanned two decades, an awe-inspiring feat in itself, Jay has been the center of few public scandals. And when he has come under fire in the media, as in the case of the Barney’s or Cuba trip fiascoes, he’s been successful at putting out the flames quickly, or even profiting from the publicity by putting his response on wax. Hustlers call it maneuvering, politicians call it spin—whatever you call it, Jay does it well.