An award–winning rap phenomenon for more than twenty years, he has sold a hundred million albums, and picked up so many Grammys he doesn’t know where to put them. Jay–Z could quite honestly have approached his mature years by stepping back from it all, taking a break and a one–way ticket to Mustique. But there were still things he wanted to say and to do, especially in the company of his wife, the queen of RnB, Beyoncé, to hold on to first place on the world pop scene, with his cool, impassioned maestria and a raft of hits. Add to this, his fashion switches that are as flashy as they are effective, taking in baggies, caps worn backwards and an entire range of king–size T–shirts and baseball jerseys, diamond–studded caps, hefty gold chains around his neck and transgenic sneakers on his feet.
In July 2018, unnanounced, the winning duo brought out a jaw–dropping clip made in secret one night in the prestigious galleries of the Louvre, under the surprised gaze of the Mona Lisa, who, for the first time, must have thought they were more famous than she was. She even stopped smiling for a while. While Beyoncé sashayed around in a satin quilt, he stood back, calm and collected, with his hands in his pockets, knowingly, with an air of benign authority, in an immaculate two–piece suit [ which he would wear on stage at the Stade de France ] rather like the mystical Gatsby. Jay–Z stands as an heir to Presley, Lennon and Bowie. It is a well–established fact that the great style movements are born on stage, and an artist who wants to last can’t just make do with the trends of the day. They must invent their own, sense future trends, launch the next ones, and anticipate those after that. Jay–Z has given up sportswear and streetwear, and revisited timeless classics with a new personal twist: a jacket worn barechested, a woollen cap on his head, with a Norman clock as a shirtfront. All it takes is a plain white suit for chic to come back to life. And literally jump off the cover of this issue.