Got 99 Problems, but a Book Ain't One: Jay-Z's Roc Nation and Random House to Launch 'Roc Lit 101'

Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter speaks onstage during the launch of The Reform Alliance on January 23, 2019, in New York City.
Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter speaks onstage during the launch of The Reform Alliance on January 23, 2019, in New York City.
Photo: Nicholas Hunt (Getty Images)

If the ongoing pandemic has reignited your passion for reading (or simply deepened it), say no more, Fam. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter has already Decoded his lyrics in book form, but now, the company he founded will add to its (and his) multimedia entertainment empire, announcing a new publishing partnership with Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, to launch an imprint called “Roc Lit 101.”


Per a release sent to The Root:

The venture is an imprint devoted to publishing books at the dynamic intersection of entertainment and genre-defying literature, including exhilarating, innovative work from some of the biggest artists and most imaginative and incisive writers of our time on a wide range of subjects such as music, sports, pop culture, activism, and art. This new imprint will be overseen by Chris Jackson, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of One World books, an imprint of Random House, and Jana Fleishman, EVP of Roc Nation.

“Our aspiration for the imprint is to create books that draw from the best of pop culture—its most imaginative and talented storytellers, innovators, and literary chroniclers—to create beautifully written and produced works that will entertain and enthrall readers, but also illuminate critical issues,” said Jackson, who was recently awarded the Center for Fiction’s Medal for Editorial Excellence in a statement. “But the partnership isn’t just about the books,” he added, “it’s also about audiences: we want to find new voices and new stories, but also new readers.”

To that end, the collaboration will reportedly launch in Summer 2021 with a pair of releases: Till the End, CC Sabathia’s “raw, compelling memoir of baseball, family, fame, addiction, and recovery, written with Chris Smith”; and veteran music journalist Danyel Smith’s Shine Bright, “a brilliant weave of memoir, criticism, and biography that tells the story of Black women in music as the foundational story of American pop.” Also teased is “creative work across a wide variety of interests,” as future releases will reportedly include:

...fantastical illustrated fiction from world-creating artists like Lil Uzi Vert; personal narratives that take on the biggest issues of the day like Meek Mill’s story of criminal justice and survival; illuminating and pulse-pounding coming-of-age memoirs from brilliant storytellers like Fat Joe and Yo Gotti; illustrated books and cookbooks; books for children and books that defy genre altogether.

“The goal of Roc Lit 101 is to provide a creative outlet for acclaimed wordsmiths and artists to share their visions with new audiences,” says Roc Nation EVP Fleishman. “There are so many untold stories and we consider it a true privilege to be able to amplify diverse voices while exploring the uncharted worlds that are about to open to us.”

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?