Excerpts from Jay-Z‘s upcoming Decoded book have leaked online and discuss the rapper’s past life, including his first arrest and relationship with the late Notorious B.I.G.
Based on one of the extractions, Jay was still a teenager when he experienced his first major run-in with the law.
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 revealed that 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 list of Jay-Z songs to be analyzed in Decoded was recently revealed online.
Public Service Announcement American Dreamin’ Early This Morning Coming of Age Coming of Age (Da Sequel) D’Evils 99 Problems Ignorant Shit Most Kings Success Renegade Can I Live? Fallin’ Big Pimpin’ Streets Is Watching Operation Corporate Takeover Moment of Clarity Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise) My 1st Song Young Gifted and Black Hell Yeah (Pimp The System) Beware (Jay-Z Remix) Blue Magic This Life Forever Meet The Parents Where I’m From Minority Report Dynasty (Intro) My President Is Black Regrets This Can’t Be Life Soon You’ll Understand Beach Chair Lucifer December 4th History (Decoded)
Recently, Jay explained the back story to his 2003 song “Public Service Announcement.”
Jay said he personally chose each of the songs featured in “Decoded” for several reasons, and “PSA” made the tome because of its unique origin. Bars from the second verse of the Just Blaze-helmed track were penned after a journalist interpreted the symbolism she picked out in one of Jay’s outfits. However, Hov thought the scribe’s analysis of his look was a bit of a reach. (2 Dope Boyz)
Jay-Z’s Decoded is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, November 16th.
Check out Jay-Z breaking down his “Most Kingz” record below: