Tuesday, Oct 25, 2011 12:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Jay-Z’s hip-hop of distraction
The hip-hop superstar hypes a Brooklyn, N.Y., sports arena that failed to deliver on its jobs pledge
By Norman Oder
You can’t hustle a hustler, right? So Shawn Carter, aka hip-hop superstar Jay-Z, surely doesn’t mind fronting for two other world-class hustlers: Bruce Ratner, Brooklyn, N.Y’s most powerful developer, and New Jersey (to Brooklyn) Nets majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia’s second-richest man. The three men are partners in promoting the new Barclays Center sports arena now under construction in Brooklyn, the first building in the massive, controversial Atlantic Yards project.
While Brooklyn-born Carter owns a tiny fraction of the team, he’s become the face of the franchise, the Teflon-coated superstar employed by his partners to distract attention from the hardball politics, sweetheart deals and private profits behind the arena and the rest of the 16-tower project.
As Jay-Z, Carter will get to open the arena next fall with a string of concerts. ”Get All Access to Jay-Z,” proclaim widespread advertisements, pushing a ticket package that offers team home games and the right to purchase seats to other arena events. He’s even said to have a hand in designing the team uniforms and some of the luxury suites. These all help Carter take the Jay-Z brand to the proverbial next level. As he’s rapped, “I’m a business, man.”