Thursday, November 18, 2010


"I can't tell if he's really upset or it's just a way to get him some exposure. If it's real, he's taking it the wrong way...I just said the truth..." - Jay Z shared how he really felt after being attacked by the performer MC Hammer to the Sydney Morning Herald.

During this interview, it was also shared that Jay-Z has written an autobiography, which remains in a vault. In his owns words, the rapper says, "Decoded is more about explaining rap and poetry..."The other one (his autobiography) was too revealing for me . . . it said too much" - and that's the real reason why the autobiography has been placed in a vault.

Story Continues...


  1. JAY-Z is not sure if MC Hammer is serious. Last month, on a Kanye West track, the world's most influential rapper proffered a typical boast referring to his enviable financial status. The punchline referenced Hammer's inability to manage his finances.

    The rapper-turned-preacher went viral, tweeting his displeasure before releasing an absurd YouTube video suggesting Jay-Z is — wait for it — a sinner.

    "It's more of a misunderstanding," Jay-Z says. "I can't tell if he's really upset or it's just a way to get him some exposure. If it's real, he's taking it the wrong way."

    A pause, before a stroke of dismissive nonchalance.

    "I just said the truth."

  2. Next month, Shawn Carter turns 41. He is rap's godfather and authoritative tastemaker — a winning mix of pop-cultural prestige and commercial supremacy.

    He has enjoyed more Billboard album No.1s than anybody bar the Beatles, selling 45 million records.

    Last year, he boasted in a musical love-letter to New York that he was the new Sinatra. Twelve months on, the case for Empire State of Mind unseating New York, New York as that city's unofficial anthem is solid. ("Sinatra's New York was a brilliant song," he says matter-of-factly. "We needed a strong anthem for our time, what we were going through. Empire became it.")

    This month, he released a greatest-hits album.

  3. "It was a contractual obligation," he concedes. "But I held it off until I had a chance to get it in my hands and really do something special."

    It's a package that belies its protagonist's underprivileged roots.

    Jay grew up in the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn. How he escaped and the ramifications for his family are largely what define and drive him. Shawn was just 11 when his father abandoned the family, never to return. As a teenager, he began selling crack and other drugs. He shot his brother in the shoulder (he lived) for stealing a ring, as detailed on the track You Must Love Me, from his second album.

    He was in his 20s before he left the streets to focus on hip-hop. Unable to convince a major label to release his first album, he co-founded Roc-A-Fella Records to get it into stores.

  4. Today, in an L-shaped corner office on the 39th (and highest) floor of a skyscraper near Times Square, he presides over a commercial empire worth almost $500 million.

    There's a stake in an NBA team, a sports-bar chain, an NYC bistro, Rocawear clothing and a beauty line. Not to mention Roc Nation, his music publishing, artist management and touring company.

    Oh, and he is married to Beyonce, with whom he shares a spacious Soho penthouse.

    In conversation, Jay-Z is surprisingly soft-spoken. His answers are concise and thoughtful. And the man they call King Hova and Jigga is often described as "panic averse".

  5. "Yeah, that's how my entire family is," he says. "It's confidence in being secure in who you are."

    Confidence, and talent, ensured he escaped life on the streets.

    "One in three black men in America are in jail," he says. "If you're in a room with 10 of your friends, one in three are going at some point. I witnessed that. A friend of mine went to jail for 12 years. I could have been right next to him."

    Hip-hop, he says, has saved a generation.

    "It changed the art, gave us a job or something to do," he says. "That career not only helped us, it helped our families and helped us employ people. Hip-hop has done a lot for racial relations. It enters into your home without preaching to you. Racism is taught at home and it's very difficult to teach racism when your child is listening to hip-hop and hearing these poets and relating to their voice."

  6. That hip-hop is synonymous with the gangster lifestyle is not down to a yearning for a life of crime but rather, he says, affection for the underdog.

    "[African-Americans] are like immigrants in our own country," he says. "We're in these government houses and pushed to the side. What we relate to is somebody who can make it in America against all odds ... America's forgotten using whatever means to make their voice heard."

    It's why entrepreneurialism is an indelible component of hip-hop's ethos. There is no Jay-Z or Diddy in rock.

    "It's because we're fighting almost for survival," he says. "It's another level of ambition. Just because you have a record deal doesn't mean you won't ever go back. We've seen many go back. You're always fighting for that not to happen."

    When reminded that Forbes magazine put him on the cover of its "400 Richest Americans" issue, Jay beams.

  7. "It was a tremendous accomplishment from where I come from. For me, it's opening another door and showing people there's more to aspire to."

    Jay-Z was 26 when his debut album Reasonable Doubt was released. It received strong reviews but it wasn't until four years later when Vol. 2 ... Hard Knock Life and the monster, Annie-sampling hit Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem), that he broke through.

    Did he really believe the boasts in his early songs would come true?

    "A little bit. You have to visualise your success. It's no different to a ballpark and a kid in the park ... But [Vol. 2] was a life-changing experience. Both albums were from struggle but the melody was bigger on 2. The sentiment was still the same inside the songs."

    After a run of six No.1 albums, in 2003 he announced he would retire from rapping and take the job as president of Def Jam Records.

  8. "I thought it was my next calling," he says. "That I had to ascend to the executive ranks to show hip-hop that there can be players and coaches ... I stepped back to find a passion for it again." He signed Rihanna and Ne-Yo but became frustrated with the machinations of the modern major label.

    His comeback album Kingdom Come flopped by his lofty standards and it was not until last year's The Blueprint 3 that he was able to fully redeem himself.

    "Kingdom was important. It helped me get to Blueprint 3. It'sthe same record, except Blueprint 3 had better melodies. It took [basketball superstar] Michael Jordan time when he came back from retirement ..."

    Perhaps the most significant aspect of his musical reinvigoration is his embrace of the festival. Since his career-defining Glastonbury set, where he walked on stage strumming Wonderwall to thumb his nose at Noel Gallagher — who was critical of the rapper being scheduled as headline act of the traditionally guitar-driven event — Jay has headlined Coachella and Bonnaroo.

  9. "At Glastonbury we were coming over the hill in the bus and I just saw countries of tents," he says. "I'd never seen anything like it; this massive amount of people. It was just for a second ... I thought, 'This had better go right'. Just for a second. But it was fine. It was about performing well, it wasn't about rock or rap."

    He now thrives in the festival environment.

    "I've almost felt like a new artist," he says. "Playing in front of a lot of people who don't have your albums but know your name — it's a great feeling." And similar, we suggest, to the feeling he may get on his upcoming Australian tour with U2.

    After that, there's an album with Kanye West.

    "We really got into it this past weekend; hopefully, we'll finish it up in one more session."

    There's also a new book, Decoded. Tellingly, this is not the autobiography he completed several years ago, which remains in a vault.

  10. "Decoded is more about explaining rap and poetry," he says. "The other one was too revealing for me . . . it said too much."

    Jay-Z plays Melbourne's Etihad Stadium with U2 on December 1 and 3. The Hits Collection, Vol. 1 is out now.

    The ultimate Jay-Z playlist

    ■You Must Love Me (1997) — Details shooting of his own brother for stealing a ring.
    ■Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) (1999) — Sampling the stage musical Annie, earns his first (and most surreal) pop hit. A classic.
    ■Can I Get a ... (1999) — Post-Beyonce you'd never hear Jay rapping so bluntly about his sexual prowess or, for that matter, allow Ja Rule to rap on his track.
    ■Big Pimpin' (1999) — Speaking of which, this Timbaland production positively swaggered.
    ■I Just Wanna Love You (Give It 2 Me) (2000) — Jay's key Neptunes collaboration. Superb.
    ■Izzo (H.O.V.A.) (2000) — Inexplicably his first Australian pop hit. Irresistible.
    ■Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)/Never Change (2001) — Produced by Kanye West from the first Blueprint album, these tracks offer his own blueprint for success and dogma for life.
    ■99 Problems (2003) — Superb Rick Rubin collab/statement of intent that positively rumbles.
    ■Moment of Clarity (2003) — Jay's favourite track from his "retirement" album.
    ■Frontin' (2003) — Returns the favour to the Neptunes on this sublime single.
    ■Crazy in Love (2003) — "History in the making!" he rightly declares during this classic pop song/coming-out party for him and Beyonce.
    ■Show Me What You Got (2005) — The comeback single.
    ■Diamonds from Sierra Leone (remix) (2005)— "I got it from here 'Ye'," Jay asserts, before dusting off a chestnut: "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man!"
    ■Umbrella (2007) — The ultimate tastemaking hit — 2007's biggest song featured a most authoritative intro rap from RiRi's mentor.
    ■Roc Boy (And the winner is ...) (2007) — Vintage Hova. A litany of thanks delivered over crackling horns. "This is black superhero music," he announces, in case you wondered.
    ■Off That (2009) — Helpfully describes what, according to Jay, is "off". On the list: rims, oversized clothes and "anything you about to discover".
    ■Empire State of Mind (2009) — An instant classic and no less than candidate for unofficial theme song to the greatest city in the world.
    ■Monster (2010) — Ye's new album has Hova joining a cast of thousands and kicks off with this giant, appropriately titled joint.

  11. ^^^Was all this GARBAGE necessary? This ignorant Camel set people back 450 years with this BS. Rap has DESTROYED a community of men that used to love women, promoted misogyny, being on the down low; selling drugs; being ignorant and uneducated; and commiting to a life of crime rather than a family.

    It has promoted broken homes; coonery; capitalism; overspending; generational debt amongst the poorest of the poor; glorified prison culture and the disrespect of BLACK women; promoted the sex trade; promoted the trend of NON-MARRIAGE between black men and women; promoted promiscuity and insecurity in young black girls; and there are a thousand more atrocities!

    GAY-Z needs to sit his ignorant ass down somewhere. That disgusting statistic of 1 in 3 black men being in jail is COMPLETE bullshit! That is what someone somewhere wants us to believe. I have 20,000+ Morehouse Brothers that disprove this awful statistic. If only I could talk to this ignorant man and his vapid beard for 15 minutes! Oh the things I'd say...

  12. To the Moderator,

    I'm sorry to go on a rant like that, but this shyt is seriously getting out of control. When will Black people wake up and see the BS that is being sold to them and their children? The #1 consumers of Rap are 18-25 year old WHITE suburban males! So, how is this BS:

    "Hip-hop has done a lot for racial relations. It enters into your home without preaching to you. Racism is taught at home and it's very difficult to teach racism when your child is listening to hip-hop and hearing these poets and relating to their voice."

    remotely true? If anything, Rap is the REASON these same white children think they can talk to their Black Middle and Upper Middle Class counterparts in unG-dly ways using the "N" word and "Nah I'm sayin'". I have personally had to tell at least 2 dozen of them not to speak to me in that way during my 26 years of life! And this is BEFORE I get on the ignorant ass Black men that listen to his BS music and internalize this garbage.

    Its thanks to "Jiggaman" (more like Ninjaman), that me and my friends cannot walk down the street without being harassed by someone whose ego has been put on steroids cause they've been listening to TOO MUCH Jay-Z. Y'all KNOW exactly what I am talking about too! This is also the reason that countless well-to-do Black males are out there stunnin' like they are some damned thugs when they KNOW they come from a GD gated community!

  13. Jay-Z has joined the list of book covers which displays crytic displays.

    "Famous Crytic Title Page"

    "The Cryptomenysis and Cryptography of Gustavus Selenus in nine books, to which is added a clear explanation of the System of Steganography of John Trithemius, Abbot of Spanheim and Herbipolis, a man of admirable genius. Interspersed with worthy inventions of the Author and others, 1624." The author of this volume was believed to be Augustus, Duke of Brunswick. The symbols and emblems ornamenting the title page, however, are conclusive evidence that the fine hand of the Rosicrucians was behind its publication. At the bottom of the picture is a nobleman (Bacon?) placing his hat on another man's head. In the oval at the top of the plate, it is possible that the lights are beacons, or a play upon the name Bacon. In the two side panels are striking and subtle "Shakespearian" allusions. On the left is a nobleman (possibly Bacon) handing a paper to another man of mean appearance who carries in his hand a spear. At the right, the man who previously carried the spear is shown in the costume of an actor, wearing spurs and blowing a horn. The allusion to the actor blowing his horn and the figure carrying the spear suggest much, especially as spear is the last syllable of the name "Shakespeare."

  14. Miss Andi K girl!!!!! PREACH ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I agree with you 100%!

  15. After Gay-Z has been knocked down, locked up, raped, beaten, bullied, cleaned up, followed his leader, lead his followers - now it's time for him to speak to those black males who can't get out of the hood because their parents spent the families income getting high off of a drug that Gay-Z sold them. So now, if the other family members isn't strong enough to hold the lost children down, these children will be forced to sell drugs which will land them in jail or on a cold pavement with chalk around their body or caution tape around a crime scene that they just committed.