Interview With Jay-Z's Financial Biographer: Rap Genius Editor SnoopZoggyZogg

Zack O'Malley Greenburg is in charge of calculating rappers' wealth at Forbes Magazine. Instead of fucking with money-grubbing swine like the sheisty ass Warren Buffett, Zack analyzes hip-hop OG’s who are actually making a difference..

Warren Buffett is too shady for ZOMG

Zack is also a Rap Genius editor — check out his explanations as SnoopZoggyZogg

His book — Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office — is a MUST-read for anyone interested in coming up in the game (click here to order your copy..) — the book is on the required reading list for Rap Genius editors..

INTERVIEW:

RG: ZoggyZogg, you’re a boss fam — how did you penetrate into the drug kingpins of NYC to research your Jay-Z book?

ZOMG: One dude who was hard to track down was Jay-Z’s drug mentor, DeHaven.. I ended up contacting him on fb! He was all like: “how the hell did you find me?”

I showed him I’m a hustler though so he invited me to kick it when he came to NYC: “I'mma be in Marcy, wanna meet in Brooklyn?” (DeHaven lives in Atlanta now)

Scene was MIDDLE OF WINTER — DALLAS BBQ in deep Brooklyn.. DeHaven plus 3 huge dudes.. he was true fam.. really open, forthcoming. Tough looking guy, done some serious time.. the most poignant part was that he still seemed hurt by Jay-Z’s betrayal.. a little miffed/wounded.. you could see on his face that he had eternal love for Jay, he still misses his friend. He used to tell people that Jay was his biological brother.

RG: Did you learn any good crack hustles from him?

ZOMG: DeHaven schooled me in “Crack 101” — we discussed the economics of the Crack Trade in the 80s, moving the bricks from JFK, to Brooklyn, to Washington Heights — and then the burgeoning export business down South to Maryland and D.C. (supply/demand..)

DeHaven don’t play no games..

RG: Was Jay-Z a baller as a kid?

ZOMG: Sources tell me that Jay-Z “had a shot, but wasn’t a ballplayer” — he was like Kurt Rambis, would do a lot of studying before he’d make a move.. DeHaven played basketball for Trenton but dropped out to sell crack..

RG: What was Jay-Z’s reputation in Trenton as a drug kingpin?

ZOMG: Everybody knew he was about business — no shorts, meaning he was getting all the money. If the product was $10, you couldn’t get it for $9 — a lot of people said he was a stingy-ass dealer..

Both DeHaven (and other drug connects) say Jay-Z borrows hustling stories from their lives in his raps..

RG: Anybody from Jay-Z’s past that was difficult to get ahold of?

ZOMG: I had to call Damon Dash fifteen times before he finally stopped hanging up on my and agreed to chat..

RG: Loved your recent interview with Birdman.. how did that come about?

ZOMG: Birdman’s a cool cat — he disputes the Forbes valuations of him that I put together (Donald Trump does too..) — I met him at 106 and Park. Forbes put him at $100 million valuation but he claims it’s much more..

RG: Did your valuation inspire his song 100 Million?

ZOMG: When did that come out? February? I think it was just before.. the problem is that Cash Money Records is not a liquid asset.. what if the revenue stream dries up?? But I used the same valuation techniques that we use for our billionaires list: Cash Money Records is a legit 9-figure asset..

RG: You sure the valuation has no relation to the song?

ZOMG: Funny thing about that song is Birdman swears he’s worth more than that.. I valued Cash Money on comprable sales of Def Jam, industry insiders — same approach used for the billionaires list. Birdman even gave me a peek at his books.. Birdman’s business manager who reps NBA players, Erykah Badu, etc. was quite forthcoming.

Birdman’s definition of “business casual attire”..

RG: I remember you once telling me about Akon being a pimpish fellow — one of the richest rappers out there..

ZOMG: Akon was very cagey about his wives — he’s madd evasive about age questions, how many wives he has.. He told me he’s a “day older than he was yesterday” or something like that. When I asked him about his multiple wives, he said: “I love to love”..

My “Akon’s recession-proof tunes” article inspired Akon to write a hook about my Forbes Cash Kings series — hooks are madd easy for him — I’m tryna get Birdman to spit on it (you can hear Akon’s hook in the article)

RG: Maybe we could kick a freestyle over it?

ZOMG: I’m down..

RG: What is the #1 thing that young aspiring ballers can learn from Jay-Z?

ZOMG: Jay-Z asks the right questions of the right people and pays attention to the answers. He’s got a nose for money, like DeHaven said “you can’t get a dime bag for $9 off Jay-Z, prolly will try to make you pay $15 for it..” Jay has a nose for where money is going. Look at the timing of his cashouts: sold some of Rockawear at the peak, signed a Roc Nation deal at the peak. Microsoft paid him $1 million just for the association — Jay-Z is like the Oprah of hip-hop, he’s a cash magnet.

Check out ZOMG’s book on Jay-Z’s finances — best way to learn economics is through hip-hop..