Entrepreneur
by Pharrell Williams (featuring Jay-Z)

Album: released as a single (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • Pharrell Williams and Jay-Z team up on this track to encourage the Black community to start their own enterprises and support Black businesses. They've both led the way: Pharrell has ventures in art, jewelry, media and clothing, notably his Billionaire Boys Club line of streetwear. Jay-Z is a billionaire thanks to his stakes in Roc Nation sports and entertainment, Tidal, and various nightclubs. He ramped up his business game in 2006 after the managing director of Cristal champagne, which Jay touted in his songs, said he didn't like the brand associated with the "bling lifestyle." Jay later bought the Armand de Brignac champagne company, adding it to his impressive portfolio.
  • Jay and Pharrell do more than just give a pep talk in this song; they also address the challenges Black entrepreneurs face and examine why. Much of the blame rests in a prison system that disproportionately incarcerates Black men, and a media that draws attention elsewhere. Pharrell sums it up in these lines:

    A system imprisoning young boys
    Distract with white noise
    The brainwashed become hype boys


    Speaking with Time magazine, he said: "As someone of color, there's a lot of systemic disadvantages and purposeful blockages. How can you get a fire started, or even the hope of an ember to start a fire, when you're starting at disadvantages with regards to health care, education, and representation?"
  • This song was released on August 21, 2020, in conjunction with a Time magazine series called "The New American Revolution," which explores the role racism has played in the American economy. As part of the series, Pharrell wrote a piece called "America's Past and Present Are Racist. We Deserve a Black Future."
  • This is a Neptunes production, with Pharrell teaming up with his partner Chad Hugo on the track.
  • Jay-Z calls out some specific companies in his rap, including Coca-Cola (which he calls "crip-a-Cola") and Twitter, pointing out that "Black Twitter" is controlled by a white man, Jack Dorsey. The solution is to act with ownership in mind, which he knows isn't easy. He offers this advice:

    If you can't buy the building at least stock the shelf
    Then keep on stacking till you stocking for yourself
  • Pharrell takes the voice of the oppressor when he riffs on a line from the TLC classic "Waterfalls":

    Don't go chasing waterfalls
    Please stick to the drip that you're used to
  • Pharrell posted the sheet music to "Entrepreneur" for free on his website to encourage others to share and rework it, making it essentially and open-source song.

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