Everyone knows Shawn “Jay Z” Carter is smart, talented, and wildly successful, his Roc Nation empire continually expanding: the new sports agency, a fragrance launch this month, a luxury-goods partnership with Barneys. What’s fascinating is the way a drug dealer turned rapper turned mogul and family man became the cultural force he is today—by claiming his past, and all it taught him. With unprecedented access, Lisa Robinson gets Jay talking about the rumors and the reality.
“Petro Wodkins turned into the shady luxury consultant Petr Fomin, dressed up accordingly, created a fake web site, business cards and a cell phone, even hired a couple of assistants. After setting up meetings with the art dealers he proposed a very lucrative deal. Five to ten million dollars investment in art, the catch was that the buyer was President Rahmon, one of the worst dictators in the world, oppressing Tajikistan for over 20 years. Tajikistan is one of poorest countries in central Asia, one of the most corrupt countries in the world. The question was if the art dealers were willing to sell art to the dictator, agreeing to be be paid from off-shore accounts, leaving no traces to the dictator and help ship the art in a very discreet way.”
Unless you’re more of a player than we think you are, that new hundred-dollar bill coming this fall won’t wind up in your pocket very often. But it may be America’s most popular export, the most coveted bill in the world. And the story of the new hundred — still made by hand with ancient tools — is the story of American money itself.
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