News: Jay-Z Discusses Life-Changing Decision , "I Would Have Been In Jail For 12 Years"

Thursday, Dec 9, 2010 5:51PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Hip-Hop mogul Jay-Z discussed a life-changing decision he made in the mid-1990's which helped him avoid serving over a decade behind bars.

Talking with renowned television personality Charlie Rose to promote his new Decoded book, Jay said he gave up drugs for the rap game.

"My first album didn't come out 'til I was 26, so for so long I ignored that talent," Jay explained. "It took a bit of luck. The people I was with daily -- a personal friend of mine went to jail for 12 years. And me and him would be together every single day. So I know that same fate was awaiting me. We would have got picked up the same day. If I wasn't pursuing music I would have been in jail for 12 years." ("Charlie Rose")

Jay's new Decoded book reveals Hov ran into police during his youth.

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." (New York Post)

Another piece from the book revealed Notorious B.I.G. encouraged Jay to appreciate smoking marijuana.

Biggie made a cameo appearance in the 1996 video for "Ain't no N - - - a," which Jay-Z was filming with Foxy Brown in Miami just when he started to break. Jay-Z says he looked down on smoking pot as counterproductive, and only did so on vacation. "I could count the number of times I'd smoked trees," he writes. But when Big asked him to smoke, he said to himself, "Relax, you're not on the streets anymore." So he smoked, and got stoned out of his mind just before the video started shooting. Laughing at his formerly sober friend, Biggie leaned in and whispered in Jay-Z's ear: "I got ya." It took Jay-Z 20 minutes in his room to gather his wits. Later he told his friend: "Never again my n - - - a." (New York Post)

The book appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers list last month.

Jay-Z is no stranger to sitting high on the charts when it comes to his music career, which makes the Brooklyn rapper's No. 3 debut on 'The New York Times' Best Sellers list an expected achievement. The Roc Nation head honcho's memoir 'Decoded' landed on the Hardcover Nonfiction edition of the newspaper's Best Sellers list for the week of December 5. Coming in at the top of the list are George W. Bush's 'Decision Points' and Lauren Hillenbrand's 'Unbroken.' (The Boom Box)

Check out a recent Jay-Z interview below:

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