Hip-hop kingpin Jay Z will be featured on the cover of the November issue of Vanity Fair as part of an in-depth interview he did with the magazine. The rapper/entrepreneur discussed a wide range of topics, including his days growing up in Brooklyn and dealing drugs, his relationship with Beyoncé, and his daughter Blue Ivy's reaction to his latest album, among many other things.
Jay gave an insightful look into his past, specifically his entanglement in drug culture and his family's struggle to make ends meet. Growing up, he dealt drugs to make money, and drug use was a daily reality in his neighborhood. Even his own mother accepted it: "All the mothers knew," he says. "It sounds like ‘How could you let your son...’ but I’m telling you, it was normal.”
As Jay recalls, there was no way to avoid drugs, especially crack cocaine. “Crack was everywhere—it was inescapable," he remarks. "You could smell it in the hallways, that putrid smell; I can’t explain it, but it’s still in my mind when I think about it.” Jay sold crack but never used it himself. He states that his motivation for entering the drug trade was purely financial: "I was thinking about surviving. I was thinking about improving my situation. I was thinking about buying clothes.”
Jay made his decision in light of the challenges his family faced. He grew up without a father in an impoverished housing project in Brooklyn, and his mother struggled to make ends meet all throughout his childhood. "Sometimes we’d pay the light bill, sometimes we paid the phone, sometimes the gas went off," he recalls.
Although it was certainly a difficult time in his life, Jay feels that his experience as a drug dealer will actually help him as a sports agent, his latest entrepreneurial venture. "I know about budgets," he states, adding, "to be in a drug deal, you need to know what you can spend." He's now a licensed NBA and MLB sports agent through his company Roc Nation Sports.
Nowadays, he's hailed as one of the most financially successful hip-hop artists and businessmen in the country: in April, Forbes estimated his value at nearly $500 million. Although he claims to know exactly how much money he has, down to the last cent, Jay states that money is not a motivation for him. “I’m not motivated by that... I don’t sit around with my friends and talk about money, ever. On a record, that’s different.”
Jay opened up about his personal life as well, speaking about dating Beyoncé and parenting their eighteen-month-old daughter, Blue Ivy. In 2001, when he and Bey first started dating, he remembers having to pull out all the stops to win her attention. "You got to dazzle... wine and dine," he says. Beyoncé was playing hard to get, and gave the seasoned rapper a run for his money. "She’s a charming Southern girl, you know, she’s not impressed," says Jay. Now that they're together and married, though, things have changed. According to Jay, Beyoncé has turned from a Southern belle into a "gangsta" hip-hop diva.
Although his latest chart-topping album Magna Carta Holy Grail has been successful worldwide, Jay is most excited about one fan in particular: his daughter. Blue Ivy, it seems, is a big fan of Magna Carta, and ever since her dad first played it for her, she's been asking for more. "The fact that she loves it so much, it gives me the greatest joy... she’s genuine, she’s honest, because she doesn’t know it makes me happy. She just wants to hear it.”
Making platinum albums, starting new businesses, and raising a baby daughter--it's all just another day in the life of Jay Z.
Via: Vanity Fair