When I was a senior in college, my Strategic Management class did a whole unit on Russell Simmons. This was right around the time he was appearing on the cover of Business Week magazine, which we were all forced to subscribe to, as “the CEO of Hip-Hop.”
According to my professor, this crazed Mormon fuck who kinda looked like Milton in Office Space, Russell Simmons is what’s known as a serial entrepreneur in that he starts up companies, builds up their brand values, and then sells them at a premium.
The thing is though, I’m not really sure Russell Simmons is the business guru he’d have you believe. All of that CEO of Hip-Hop mumbo jumbo was coming out right around the same time he sold Phat Farm, which remains his main coup to date other than Def Jam.
I’m not saying he’s an idiot or anything, but the story was getting into all of these other ventures he was invovled in – his magazine, his energy drink, his Superman III-esque debit card scheme and what have you – and I’ve yet to hear of him selling any of them.
Interestingly enough, the headquarters of the company he sold Phat Farm to was located right around the corner from where I grew up. I would have to drive past it every day on the way back and forth to my job at K-Mart, and it would serve as a constant reminder of how little I had done with my life.
So I suppose either way ol’ Rush had the last laugh.
Speaking of K-Mart, the big news today is that Jay-Z is selling Roc-A-Wear to Iconix Brand Group, the same company that owns Candies, Joe Boxer, Ocean Pacific, and so on and so forth – all of which we used to sell at my old job.
Basically, the way it worked was that these clothes had about the same level of overall quality as any old Kathy Ireland bullshit you’d normally find at K-Mart, but with the logo of a brand that was popular 15 years prior stitched onto it.
As such, K-Mart could claim to carry name brand merchandise, and it was brilliant because it’s not like the kind of people who buy their clothes from motherfucking K-Mart would know the difference one way or the other.
Will this be the case with Roc-A-Wear as well? If I had to guess, I’d say yeah. Already, I’m not aware of anywhere other than Marshalls and TJ Maxx that even sold Roc-A-Wear in the first place, though it’s not like I frequent a lot of hip-hop clothing stores.
If there’s a bright side, it’s that supposedly Jay-Z stands to net $204 million from the sale, which is quite a bit of money, even if the bulk of the company is really owned by some secret cabal of uber wealthy Jews, which I’m pretty sure is the case.
At any rate, I’m sure Jay-Z’s take-home from this deal will be a lot more than than the $20 miillion Damon Dash got for his share a couple of years ago, let alone my take-home from XXL as well as my numerous other jobs combined.