Guest Star: "Jay-Z's Always Told Me He's My Number One Fan"
Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 4:15PM
[With the upcoming release of Jay-Z's Decoded book, the rap mogul's close friend and co-author shares how she befriended Jay before his leap to stardom.]
I met Jay-Z over the phone. I had written a review of [his 1996 debut] Reasonable Doubt. It was a double review for The Village Voice and they didn't think Jay-Z was big enough to get his own review so they made me write a double review and that double review was called "Ice, Ice, Baby" and it was for Nas' It Was Written and Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt.
In that article, I reviewed Reasonable Doubt and how it talked about hustling as someone from Detroit. He was being interviewed by a colleague of mine and I happened to call my colleague, I didn't even know he was interviewing Jay-Z and he was like, "I'm here with Jay right now, I'll call you right back" and I guess he must have said my name and Jay was like, "I like that dude. That dude wrote a really good piece." He thought I was a guy who had written a review of Reasonable Doubt and he got on the phone and I was like, "Hey, I'm not a guy." I just wanted to tell him that I was from Detroit and if there's one thing I know, it's drug dealers.
So we became friends after that in 1996, after our earliest encounter. It was always about my writing. He's always told me he's my number one fan in terms of writing and it's a compliment because I think he's the best rapper alive. But we always talked about collaborating on something. And over the years, I've done different things for him, written certain things like statements about Columbine or whatever he needed done as a friend.
I helped write the Black Book when he thought he was retiring and it was a big collaboration. I'm not mad at him for not putting that out, I think as his friend over the past 14 years, he has really proved to be what he says he is -- private. I don't think he could have released an auto-biography where he didn't talk about his life and he's just not going to do that and I respect him so much for that. So there's that.
And then when he told me he wasn't going to put out the Black Book, he said he did want to do this Decoded book. It took a couple years to marinate on exactly what this was going to be as he lived his life and as I lived mine and then we got together and knocked this out in a year.
dream hampton is a renowned writer and filmmaker born in Detroit, Michigan. Over the past 20 years, she has made a name for herself by writing for publications like VIBE and The Source while filming/producing projects such as the VH1's Behind the Music on The Notorious B.I.G. As of late, hampton has collaborated with Jay-Z to detail the stories behind the rapper's most intricate rhymes. Decoded is slated to release on November 16th.