Jay-Z was recently named TIME Magazine’s most influential person. An unheard of honor for a Rap artist and a giant leap forward for hip-hop in general. Global Grind’s CEO and close personal friend of Hov, Russell Simmons, penned a heart felt Thank you letter to Jay. Excerpts from the letter are below, follow the link at the end to read the letter in it’s entirety.
Jay’s influence has expanded over the years. From the early days, his quest to be the “King of New York,” led him to lyrically wax his verses of poetry against some of the greatest of his era.
Not only did he conquer the throne, he conquered the castle and got one incredible queen along the way (who made his 16 bars sound even hotter). As he matured, his influence went beyond the beats in his headphones into a much broader cultural space. From Roc-A-Wear to Ace of Spades to the 40/40 Club to the Brooklyn Nets, Jay mastered his ability to pave streets and sidewalks for his generation to walk upon, ultimately leading to the most innovative and creative demographic the history of this country has ever seen….
Jay-Z has influenced an entire generation to be more compassionate, more tolerant and more generous. When Jay went to Cuba with Beyonce, he had the whole world talking about it, even the White House! He was able to expose the hypocrisy of American foreign policy just by showing up on the island….
He knows that there is nothing greater that fame or celebrity can bring him except the ability to give back. At a certain point you become so rich, that nothing else matters than helping others. You realize that giving is much greater than getting. You can only drive your fancy car around the block so many times and realize that it drives around the block like every other car you drove, on four wheels. You can only put so many seats and expensive chairs in your house before you realize that you find yourself sitting in the same one every time you come home, because you can only sit in one seat at a time. All of these things, Jay-Z has learned throughout his career. All of these things, Jay-Z has understood will make him a better man, a better husband, a better father and a better artist. His influence will last beyond the days I am here on earth, for that I am sure. It is remarkable to witness his ability to shift the culture of the world in a very positive direction.