It’s been over a year and a half since Jay Z acquired TIDAL, and despite their deluded exclusives-based marketing strategy, it’s become clear that his venture into streaming wasn’t as successful as he dreamed. Nonetheless, the veteran rapper businessman is stepping up to bat in the entertainment industry big leagues once more. According to THR, Jay Z has inked a deal with film production studio The Weinstein Company to bring an undisclosed number of film and television projects to screens of all sizes over the next two years.
Hov isn’t new to Hollywood—his silver-screen credits include the production of Chris Rock’s Top Five and Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby—but his new deal will be much larger in scope. Jay reportedly has multiple projects already in the pipeline, and the statements released by his team and TWC imply a relationship where Jay retains a healthy amount of control. Although we don’t know what he’s cooking up yet, his highly-anticipated upcoming HBO miniseries about Emmett Till may be indicative of Jay’s cinematographic inclinations.
"Jay's ability to influence entertainment and pop culture has gone well beyond music for many years. He approaches every aspect of his career with both determination and effortlessness, making him one of the leading power players in entertainment history. We already have some exceptional projects in the works and are excited to see what more is to come." - TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein
Let’s not let our hopes soar too high, though. At 46 years old, it’s no secret that Shawn Carter doesn’t hold the same reputational clout with the youth that once elevated him to multi-millionaire status. His contemporary creative attempts have been hit or miss, his wife keeps his business alive, and his new-school musical offspring in Kanye West and J. Cole sit comfortably on his old throne. While Jay’s celebrity will guarantee his presence in news cycles for years to come, this new opportunity could mean either the start of a dignified post-music career as a film executive or a fruitless and short chapter at the tail-end of his autobiography.
We know that Apple isn’t buying TIDAL, as previously rumored, meaning that Jay’s departure from the streaming wars can no longer be confidently speculated. But he may be wise to shift his time and attention to film: Hollywood’s approximately $50 billion market is much larger than the $3 billion in revenue currently generated by music streaming, and his familiarity with the industry lends him a good shot at success.
Tempting as it may be to expect more hip-hop-related content like Donald Glover’s brilliant showAtlanta or 2015’s Dope to grace our screens, we might not want to hold our breath—Jay may have a decent film production track record, but all music-related credits have revolved around documentaries (often his own).
Still, in an era where political conscientiousness and rap-influenced culture reign supreme, two of Hov’s specialties, this could be a chance for Jay Z to shine once again, this time in a new arena.
We’ll have to wait and see what Jigga cooks up, but until then, enjoy the Lemonade.
By Kareem, who adamantly avoids using proper punctuation on his Twitter.
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