Jay-Z: From Marcy to Madison Avenue

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Jay-Z has been shilling brand names in songs and commercials for his entire life. But now that he's retired from Def Jam, he's decided he might as well make a career of it. The Times this morning reports that the rapper-mogul formerly known as Shawn Carter is partnering in a new ad agency, Translation Advertising. An offshoot of Translation Consultation and Brand Imaging, overseen by Interpublic, the agency will help mainstream advertisers like Hewlett-Packard and McDonald's be cooler about dealing with the consumers the Times alternatingly calls "minority," "multicultural," and "urban." “There are people who don’t understand the culture,” Hova told the Times, referring to a cell phone commercial “that shows guys break dancing in the phone store … not something we do." The work, Hova told the Times, is “part of the natural growth” of his career. Now, if only Fergie and Gwen Stefani would transition already.

A New Venture for Jay-Z, on Madison Avenue [NYT]