Built a republic that still stands
Cf. the pledge of allegiance: “…and to the republic, for which it stands…”
While he is no longer involved in the drug trade, it was the foundation upon which Jay eventually built his vast business empire (note: not a republic).
He could also be playing off of the word ‘nana’ as an abbreviation for ‘banana’ — put the two together and you get Banana Republic, which has two plausible contexts:
- As a term for a country/entity that has primary production as its main economic strength (like agriculture e.g. bananas) and is ruled by a corrupt oligarchy/plutocracy. This draws the most direct parallels with Jay’s drug dealing past.
- As a reference to Banana Republic, an upbrand subsidiary of the Gap
ALSO: he may be referencing his own Rocawear/RocNation which is still going strong, even though Jay-Z has abandoned the “street” look for couture
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