Jay-Z the Next Weed Icon

Liz Filmer
06 Dec 2022

Shawn Corey Carter, or JAY-Z as he is better known, was born in New York City on Dec. 4, 1969. From modest origins — growing up in Marcy Projects in Brooklyn — to becoming the first hip-hop artist to make a billion-dollar fortune, JAY-Z has become a God in the music industry and an admiringly prosperous investor across many other fields, including art, alcohol, real estate, fashion and most recently, cannabis.

Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter's high-end cannabis brand, Monogram, launched in 2021 with a four-strain line of craft, indoor-grown cannabis flower and joints. Monogram's product line includes flower, prerolled joints and a premium hand-rolled joint that costs $50. In 2019, Jay joined California cannabis company, Caliva as its chief brand strategist, where he developed Monogram. 

The Monogram H.Q. is a 100,000-square-foot facility in San Jose with an onsite dispensary, where 11,000 pounds of cannabis are produced yearly. The Culture & Cultivation Ambassador for Monogram is DeAndre 'De' Watson. He flies to San Jose from Los Angeles once weekly for quality control and acts as Jay's man on the ground.

Rather than using science or spreadsheets, Watson goes by feel and experience, pressing that the $50 weed cigars, known as the "O.G. Handroll", the signature Monogram product, are all rolled individually by hand, despite the production nightmare this causes at scale. The Monogram facility controls production from the grow room to packaging and final sales.

Monogram's slickly-produced promo videos feature artists like Jadakiss, Tinashe and N.O.R.E. sharing wild stories about their love for weed. Hype Williams directed their first ad campaign. It is a flamboyant edit of white socialites recast with today's Black glitterati, positioning cannabis as an inherent part of Black excellence and "the good life." Investors in Monogram include Rihanna, DJ Khaled, Meek Mill and Yo Gotti.
More than 10,000 businesses have launched since California legalized weed in 2016. The California weed industry is estimated to be worth $4 billion by 2025 with New York projected at $7 billion that same year.  it's easy with figures like that why Jay-Z wants a piece of it.


Liz Filmer