Photo Courtesy of Billboard.com

With Jay-Z’s early release of “Magna Carta…Holy Grail” through Samsung, the rapper-cum-business mogul has yet again broken the music industry mold having sold a million copies of his album before even releasing it. The secret to his success is no secret at all. He wears his values on his Roca-branded sleeve, understanding that in order to excel at business, he has to connect with people on an authentic, human level.

As he said in an interview with idiomag.com in 2009:

My brands are an extension of me. They’re close to me. It’s not like running GM, where there’s no emotional connection. The clothes are an extension of me. The music is an extension of me. All my businesses are part of the culture, so I have to stay true to whatever I’m feeling at the time, whatever direction I’m heading in. And hopefully everyone follows.

Jay-Z Resonates.  His current “Magna Carta” album speaks to what’s important to him: grappling with fatherhood (“JAY Z Blue”), questioning religion (“Heaven”), and, of course, riding the rollercoaster of career success (“Tom Ford” and “Holy Grail”). His fans can relate to the challenges he faces or at least be inspired by how he tackles them – that’s what motivates people to follow him on his journey.  He’s found the Holy Grail of Marketing: humanizing his brand.

Having taken this values-driven business model to heart, Jay-Z has built a $475 million-strong empire for himself. 99 problems, but marketing ain’t one.