Jay-Z Makes TIME’s ‘Influential’ List, NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg Co-signs

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Jay-Z embodies the “Empire State of Mind,” according to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who praised the rapper in an essay for TIME’s annual 100 most influential list.

Bloomberg’s mayoral perspective shines through in the piece, which starts off saying, “Jay-Z embodies so much of what makes New York New York.” He goes on to explain how the rapper’s NYC-bred spirit has helped him overcome hardships and find successes his career.

“A kid from a tough neighborhood who grows up in public housing, overcomes lots of bad influences on the street, never lets go of his dream, makes it to the top — and then keeps going, pursuing new outlets for his creativity and ambition.”

Jigga’s achievements have certainly kept him busy in his career, with a company, partnership, management deal or other business ventures in many industries.

“When no one would sign him to a record contract, he created his own label and built a music empire — before going on to design clothing lines, open sports bars and, most recently, represent professional athletes,” writes Bloomberg. “He’s an artist-entrepreneur who stands at the center of culture and commerce in 21st century America, and his influence stretches across races, religions and regions.”

Jay’s latest music endeavors include producing the upcoming Great Gatsby soundtrack, putting on the second-annual Made in America festival and a new partnership with Universal Music Group, not to mention that he found time to vacation in Cuba and release a new song last week.

Bloomberg calls Jay’s “American Dream” a product of his New York upbringing.

“He’s never forgotten his roots…In nearly everything he’s tried, he’s found success. (He even put a ring on Beyoncé.) And in doing so, he’s proved that the American Dream is alive and well.”

While Jay-Z was the only artist to take on TIME’s “Titan” category (next to Justin Bieber‘s manager Scooter Braun), Bey made the “Icons” list alongside Justin Timberlake (introduced by Stevie Wonder) and Michelle Obama. Christina Aguilera‘s spot in the “Artists” category was dedicated by Celine Dion, with newcomers Frank Ocean (backed up by John Legend) and Miguel rounding out the list. The TIME 100 includes influential people from the artistic, political, business, athletic and scientific worlds, and hits stands April 19th.

 - Nee-Sa Lossing,

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