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Jay-Z’s next big hit might be in the branded cannabis business

A photo of Jay-Z next to a photo of a man standing in front of cannabis plants
At left, a 2019 photo of Jay-Z. At right, one of the photos posted online Friday teasing his newest venture in the cannabis space — a soon-to-launch brand called Monogram.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times; Monogram)

Rapper, music mogul and entrepreneur Shawn Carter, better known to the world as Jay-Z (and perhaps even better known as Beyoncé's husband), is bringing his move into cannabis into focus with today’s launch of a website and Instagram account that tease the launch of a brand called Monogram.

The landing page at monogramcompany.com includes artsy black-and-white images of an indoor cannabis grow, a click-to-play “Sounds From the Grow Room” soundtrack and the outsized slogan “Refining standards, redefining growth.” The text below that reads:

“Monogram marks a new chapter in cannabis defined by dignity, care and consistency. It is a collective effort to bring you the best and a humble pursuit to discover what the best truly means.

Progress is endless.”

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Each 12-ounce can contains 5 mg of THC, 176 years of name recognition and no alcohol.

That — and the fact that when Monogram-branded marijuana does launch it will be available across California — is about all reps for the San Jose-based vertically integrated cannabis company Caliva will confirm. In July 2019 Caliva announced it entered into a multiyear partnership with Jay-Z that gave him the title of chief brand strategist and a role shaping (in the parlance of the announcement) “Caliva’s creative direction, product roadmap strategy and overall brand positioning.”

Jay-Z, who turned down the Super Bowl gig last season, and his sports and entertainment company, Roc Nation, have signed a deal with the NFL to consult on live music and activism.

We’ll get a clearer picture of what that all means when additional details about Monogram emerge, but in the 15 months since joining forces with Carter, Caliva has launched a career training and mentorship program focusing on diversity and fair hiring practices in the cannabis industry. It’s also announced a collaboration with Chrysalis and Success Centers — two nonprofits that focus on helping homeless and low-income individuals become self-sufficient — with the goal of hiring some of the program’s participants as employees.

With Monogram, Jay-Z joins a growing list of music industry notables on the legal weed train, including Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Carlos Santana and David Crosby, the last of whom is booting up a brand called Mighty Croz.


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