“(Label) Owners hate me, I’m raising the status quo up.
I’m over charging niggas for what they did to the cold crush
Pay us like you owe us for all the years that you hoed us.
We can, but money talks, so talk mo’ bucks” — Jay Z, Izzo (H.O.V.A.) The Blueprint
No matter the arena, Jay Z is never shy about his agenda. To quote his fallen Brooklyn brethren, the Notorious B.I.G., when in a business meeting, ‘gimmie the loot,‘ is the mantra on Shawn Carter’s mind. When he founded Roc Nation sports earlier this year, in partnership with well known talent agency CAA, experts and critics scoffed at the idea that Jay Z could successfully cross lanes into the world of sports representation. Aligning his influence with his beloved borough of Brooklyn’s new arena and team was one thing. Negotiating deals for players was another.
Today, Jay Z helped his first Roc Nation Sports signee, former Yankees second basemen Robinson Cano, sign a ten-year, $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners, the third highest paying contract in baseball history. This after Cano & Co. swung for the fences in negotiations with the Yankees with what would have been the highest paying baseball contract ever, asking for $300 million for 10 years. When New York wouldn’t budge, other teams, including the crosstown rival Mets, came into the picture. We can ponder if the Met meetings were more about posturing than actual interest from both sides, but what’s no longer in question is whether Mr. Carter can get it done for his clients.
Over the next few days, or months, or maybe even years, you’ll hear all the jawing about what Cano gave up. The chance to be the Yankee captain once Derek Jeter calls it a career. Baseball immortality as the next Yankee legend.
Jigga’s bottom line is to teach the players in his camp to care about the bottom line. Moving in a room full of vultures means thinking like an owner and putting capitol over everything else. Seattle won’t present the same type of exposure that New York City can, but what city does? Critics may assume that leaving the Yank’s hinders Cano’s endorsement deals, a major draw of signing with Roc Nation. However, according to Forbes magazine, Cano may have just had a $70 million come up. And there’s no guaranteeing that he would have seen that much in endorsement deal money no matter what city he plays in.
Jay Z and Cano won today, but the true accomplishment of this deal is that it reassures NFL stars Victor Cruz and Geno Smith, WNBA rookie Skylar Diggins and Roc Nation Sports’ top gun, NBA superstar Kevin Durant that their leaps of faith to join Jigga’s new venture was the right move. Once again, Jay is ten steps ahead.