[July 4, 2012] Last Wednesday night RapGenius.com hosted a launch event at their Williamsburg, Brooklyn headquarters to celebrate the paperback release of Zack O’Malley Greenburg’s “Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office” focusing on the life and rhymes of Shawn Carter. The attendees included unsigned artists, journalists, publishers, and industry tastemakers all on hand to hear the journalist speak about his experience of chasing down all of Jigga’s friends and foes in order to get a balanced book to the masses.
This is the third printing of “Empire State of Mind” which was originally released in hardcover on March 17, 2011. Greenburg has done creative press for the book in the last year including a visit to Georgetown University to speak to students in Professor Michael Eric Dyson’s course that is labeled “The Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z.” His collaboration with RapGenius.com is a unique promotional tool as the Web site is a leader in breaking down the meaning behind some of your favorite rap songs through fan submissions, expert analysis, and artist feedback.
“On our site, we explain hip-hop lyrics,” said Dan Berger, marketing director for RapGenius.com which was co-founded by Tom Lehman and Ilan Zechory in 2009. “We have the lyrics on the site and you click on a line that you may not know and a little pop-up shows up that has either a written explanation or a related image. The newest thing we have is something called verified artist where the artist themselves explain their own lyrics.”
At the event Greenburg also added his own explanation on Jay’s endorsement of the Hublot watch company in his “Otis” track with Kanye West. This exclusive information is a new addition to the paperback version of his book. Fans that follow RapGenius.com and select “Otis” will see Greenburg’s online commentary that was submitted live at the event.
“In one of the extra chapters of the paperback edition, he has this whole part about how Jay-Z shouts out Hublot watches,“ added Berger. “But Zack shows that he had a business relationship with Hublot and that’s why he shouted out Hublot, not just because he thought it was cool. So that was an interesting thing for him to reveal and that was revealed at the party. Before Zack’s explanation we did have commentary on the line but it wasn’t as good.”
To see Greenburg’s live explanation of Jay-Z’s Hublot line from “Otis” click here. “Empire State of Mind” was released on June 26 and you can get more information on the book by going to www.jayzbook.com.