The Lance Rivera Incident
“Vol. 3 . . . Life and Times of S. Carter” more than a month before the release date of the album. When he asked who was behind the leak, everyone kept repeating the same name: Rivera. When Jay-Z saw him at rapper Q-Tip’s album release party at the Kit Kat Klub, he confronted him. Rivera “got real loud with me right there in the middle of the club,” Jay-Z writes, “It was strange. We separated and I went over to the bar . . . I was . . . in a state of shock . . . I headed back over to him, but this time I was blacking out with anger.” After this, chaos ensued in the club, “That night the guy went straight to the police and I was charged with assault.” He says he decided to plead guilty after watching Puff Daddy’s trial on weapons violations that same year. Puffy was acquitted, and Jay-Z says he feared the state would be harder on him after failing to convict his friend. “The hilarious thing,” he writes, “if any of this can be considered funny, is that the Rocawear bubble coat I was wearing when they paraded me in front of the cameras started flying off the shelves the last three weeks before Christmas.”
Getting High with Biggie
“Biggie made a cameo appearance in the 1996 video for “Ain’t no Nigga,” 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 nigga.”
“A friend of President Obama’s helped set up a meeting with Jay-Z in 2008, he says. The two talked for hours. “I wish I could remember a specific moment when it hit me that this guy was special. But it wasn’t like that,” he writes. “It was the fact that he sought me out and then asked question after question about music, about where I’m from, about what people in my circle — the wider circle that reaches . . . all the way back to Marcy — were thinking about politically.” When Beyoncé sang at the inauguration, he writes, he watched from the audience instead of backstage so he could “feel the energy of everyday people. It was unbelievable to see us — me, Beyoncé, Puff, and other people I’ve known for so long — sharing in this rite of passage.”
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