Jay-Z recently sat down with the New York Post where he discussed going from a drug dealer to one of the biggest music stars in the world, check it out below.
“Authority was turned upside down,” he writes. Kids his age began selling crack to pay their mothers’ electric bills. They were armed with automatic weapons. Jay-Z started hustling crack at 13, and eventually would have his own crew in Trenton, NJ, and later in Maryland. He was still writing rhymes, but he made his living slinging crack. And he would spend the rest of his life writing about the more than 13 years he spent dealing drugs.
* His First Arrest
Jay-Z’s first arrest came at age 16. He was dealing in Trenton, because his friend “Hill” had a supplier there. Hill had enrolled in the local high school, and one day when Jay-Z went to meet him, he got caught with crack in his pockets on the campus. Since he had no prior arrests, the police let him go, but they confiscated his supply. In order to make up the cash to the supplier, Jay-Z had to go back to Marcy and deal crack 60 hours straight — three days in a row, he writes. He kept awake by “eating cookies and writing rhymes on the back of brown paper bags.”
Even though he was still dealing drugs, whenever Jay-Z came back to New York he met with his friend Jaz, another rhymer, and the two would lock themselves in a room “with a pen, a pad, and some Apple Jacks and Haagen Dazs.” Jaz got a record deal with EMI in 1989, and Jay-Z took note when the record company dropped his friend after his single flopped. “I thought to myself, ‘This business sucks.’ No honor, no integrity; it was disgusting. In some ways it was worse than the streets.” Jay-Z learned from that experience and started his own label, Roc-a-fella, in 1994, with Damon Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke.
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