Where I’m From: Chronicling the Career of Rap’s Biggest Superstar

Recounting a story that everyone knows to promote a collection of music that everyone already has can be tricky, to say the least.

But when we were tasked to create a promotional website for Jay-Z’s inaugural greatest hits album- The Hits Collection, Volume 1- the last thing we wanted to do is create another status-quo promotional website: tour dates… track lists… album art… review blurbs— yawn.

Rather than succumb to the industry-standard, we opted for a more creative, story-driven approach, chronicling the life and times of Shawn Carter using his music as a narrative device.  The result: an online museum retrospective of Jay-Z’s career.

Our approach neatly slices Jay’s career into four distinct, navigable “eras,” each introduced by a short video vignette and iconic lyrical snippet.  Visitors explore Jay-Z’s musical life through milestones, music videos, photos and discography.

Jay_Z Eras

But the defining feature, the pièce de résistance, is the unique incorporation of the voices of the fans into the storytelling experience via seamless Twitter integration.

In the 14, years since Reasonable Doubt was released, Jay-Z’s wittiness, sharpness, and ability to articulate the “beautiful struggle” of urban life has fueled his success and earned him the respect of fans and lyricists alike. To highlight the passion behind his music, visitors to each era are encouraged to share memorable lyrics and moments that define what Jay-Z and his music mean to them.  The result is a cascade of fan passion that leverages the Twitter platform to push the excitement beyond the site itself.


The fan contributions are shared along the bottom of each section as a series of equalizer bars, pulsating to the beat of the background music.  Rolling over reveals the fan submitted quotes and memories, rounding out the Jay-Z story.

Thanks to the entire team at AgencyNet for the groupthink, late hours, and cultural insights that propelled this from ideation, to wireframe, to live-and-direct. Thanks to our client Def Jam Recordings for breaking the mold and moving to break the poisonous cycle of generic album promotions.

On to the next one!

Visit the site at: www.jayzhitscollection.com