September 23rd, 2010
04:49 PM ET
You might think that music mogul Jay-Z and legendary investor Warren Buffett have nothing in common, much less anything to talk about, but it turns out that's not true. Forbes orchestrated a meeting between the two men as part of the first Forbes 400 Summit, and exposed the secrets to their very different rises to success.
Sitting down with Steve Forbes in Buffett’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, the rapper with more No. 1 albums than Elvis and the business brains behind Berkshire Hathaway shared some eye-opening tales, including Jay-Z's request to buy his last album back from his old label, Def Jam.
Jay-Z revealed that his last album, “The Blueprint 3,” which included the multi-platinum single “Empire State of Mind,” wasn’t originally set for release on his current Roc Nation imprint.
“The year I went over to create Roc Nation with Live Nation, I still had one album left to make with Def Jam. L.A. Reid, the chairman of Def Jam at the time, did a great thing for me. He allowed me to walk in and have the conversation with [chairman of parent company Universal Music Group] Doug Morris,” Jay said.
“I had to walk into Doug’s office the next day and buy an album back that might leak the next day…But it was worth it, you know. I was heading in a different direction and needed that freedom. It was a great decision for the company. They got some money. And a great decision for me.”
At 80-years-old, Buffett is exactly twice the age of Jay-Z, but their generation gap is dwarfed by their mutual respect for each other’s drive. In fact, Buffett says that the younger crowd should take cues from Beyonce’s hubby.
“Jay is teaching in a lot bigger classroom than I’ll ever teach in,” Buffett said. “They’re going to learn from somebody. For a young person growing up he’s the guy to learn from.”
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