“Call Jay up to close the deal!”

That’s a line pop star Rihanna sang in her 2012 hit single, “‘Pour it Up (All I See is Dollar Signs),” hinting how she calls on her longtime mentor, Jay-Z—the mega music mogul who signed the singer to his music/entertainment label, Roc Nation—to negotiate and finalize contract deals in her favor.

But Rihanna isn’t the only high profile entertainer benefiting from Jay-Z’s knack for “closing deals.” According to the New York Post, the star rapper-turned-business shark recently negotiated a multi-million-dollar endorsement deal with Pepsi on behalf of New York Yankees star second baseman Robinson Cano.

It’s the first major endorsement deal Cano has signed since firing his former sports agent, Scott Boras, back in April to join Jay-Z’s newly formed sports agency, Roc Nation Sports. The endorsement deal places Cano as the new face of Pepsi for Major League Baseball. Cano stared in a Pepsi commercial campaign that aired for the first time during the 2013 MLB All Star game on July 16. Cano is now the biggest celebrity endorsing Pepsi, next to Jay-Z’s wife, Beyonce, who has her own Pepsi commercials currently airing on TV.

Cano’s new Pepsi deal silences naysayers, who criticized the baseball star for leaving Boras, who is considered one of the best sports agents in the business.

Many pundits doubted Jay-Z would be able to successfully negotiate deals on behalf of athletes saying he had no experience in sports. But the famed music artist had plenty of confidence otherwise.

Jay-Z referenced his signing of Cano in a track on his latest album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, which released on the Fourth of July holiday. In a song titled “Crown,”

Jay-Z recites: “Scott Boras, you’re over, baby. Robinson Cano, you coming with me!”

In the same song, he rapped a line saying: “it’s a new day, hit up KD,” mentioning how he recently signed Oklahoma City Thunder star forward and Maryland native Kevin Durant to his Roc Nation Sports agency.

Other athletes signed to Roc Nation Sports include New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith and WNBA guard Skylar Diggins.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor