Shawn Corey Carter is one of the most influential billionaires you have probably never heard of. But, his professional moniker, Jay-Z, invokes much more than being a man with a lot of cash, cigars, and music. Since his 1996 hip-hop debut, Jay-Z has navigated an atmospheric rise through the music charts. But, he also found a multi-million dollar clothing brand, a popular sports bar chain, and a burgeoning media empire with its sight on global domination.
Shawn Carter has managed all this in less than 25 years. And he has done so in a way that is characteristic of the rapper’s dynasty-minded persona. He did it with a straight face and a good cigar.
Billionaires, cigars, and music go hand in hand. So despite strict Manhattan smoking bans, it’s not unusual to see an image of Jay-Z behind a veil of thick cigar smoke.
Considering how he likes to get things done, it was only a matter of time until he decided to try his hand at the cigar business.
Cigars and Music: The Cohiba Comador
In 2014, Jay-Z partnered with the massive, Virginia-based General Cigar Company. The partnership aimed to release a new cigar beneath the pre-existing Cohiba brand. The result was the Cohiba Comador. The Cohiba Comador is a large but mild-smoking cigar made primarily of Connecticut-grown wrapper and aged, constructed, and packaged in the Dominican Republic.
It was known for its significant price point and the fancy cedar-lined humidor. The Comador was woody and spicy. Yet, neither of those are words that the American Gangster himself would use to describe it. Dan Carr, president of General Cigar when the Comador was released, offered a few words to Forbes about Jay-Z’s love for his cigars.
“He’s not a guy that tells you it’s got hints of chocolate … That’s not him. … He told us, straight up, he knows what he likes, and he knows it when he sees it.”
The Cohiba Comador was discontinued only a short time after its release. But the wannabe music mogul can likely find one at an online retailer somewhere. The truth is, if you really want to smoke like Jay-Z, you’d be better off going with a Cuban Montecristo. After all, it is reportedly the most common stick in his repertoire.
Jay-Z: Cigars are “A Gift You Give Yourself”
When you’re worth over a billion dollars and your spot on Billboard’s Top 100 Musicians Of All Time is secure, you can give yourself a gift whenever you please. This might explain the high-dollar nature of Jay-Z’s various brands.
Still, there is something about maintaining a proper mindset that makes smoking and enjoying cigars and music that much more special.
“I don’t know the lingo—like ‘It’s got an oaky flavor,’ stuff like that. It’s just based on what I like. No one schooled me in cigars like no one schooled me in how to buy art or drink wine… A cigar is like a gift you give yourself. I smoke at times when I’m relaxing or celebrating.”
— Jay-Z, in an interview with Cigar Aficionado regarding fine cigar mindset
No surprise here, but we imagine he must do a lot of both.