Rivera — a former friend and business partner of The Notorious B.I.G. who also signed and released albums from Cam’ron, Lil Kim and Charli Baltimore in the ’90s — opened up about the fateful incident in an interview with VladTV.
Hov was accused of stabbing Rivera in December ’99 at Q-Tip’sAmplified album release party at New York City’s since-closed Kit Kat Club.
The attack was believed to have stemmed from allegations that the Untertainment Records boss had leaked Jigga’s eagerly anticipated fourth LP Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter weeks before its official release.
The Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder turned himself into police the following day and was facing up to 15 years in jail on charges of felony assault in the second degree if found guilty at trial.
After initially pleading not guilty and denying any wrongdoing, he later pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in October 2001 and was sentenced to three years’ probation.
According to Lance Rivera, however, JAY-Z was not responsible for stabbing him that night.
“What happened that night… I showed up to [the party] to support [Q-Tip]. Jay, a bunch of us is in there. I ended up getting surrounded by a bunch of people. It was probably 10 knives that I knew of, and I ended up getting stabbed at the Kit Kat Club,” he told DJ Vlad.
When asked point blank if Jay was the one who stabbed him, he replied with a laugh: “No. JAY-Z was not the guy that actually stabbed me that night.”
Rivera explained that the Brooklyn rapper had confronted him in the nightclub and told him he “broke [his] heart,” before he was hit over the head with a champagne bottle and subsequently stabbed. He didn’t, however, reveal who he believes was behind the attack.
“Me and JAY-Z had a conversation right before I got hit in the head with a champagne bottle,” he recalled. “It was a brief conversation and I was looking at him like, ‘What are you talking about? You know you fucking the money up right now.’
“He just kept saying, ‘You broke my heart. You broke my heart.’ And I’m like, ‘What are you talking about? You’re buggin’ right now, bro. You getting ready to fuck up everything.'”
Rivera went on to express confusion at the narrative that JAY-Z stabbed him, calling the rap mogul a “nice guy,” and confirmed that he was stabbed once in the shoulder — not multiple times in the stomach and back, as was widely reported.
The former label owner also brought up Nas’ claim on “Ether” that Hov took the fall for the attack (“And your man stabbed Un and made you take the blame”), questioning why few people at the time believed him.
“I don’t know where people got JAY-Z stabbed me from because if anybody knows JAY-Z, JAY-Z’s a nice guy,” Un said. “He’s an artist, he’s a poet, he’s gifted and it’s never been his history. If JAY-Z had stabbed me, y’all wouldn’t have got The Black Album because through my whole history, I’m an eye-for-an-eye type of guy.
“The reality to it is Nas — and I don’t know why didn’t nobody believe him — on ‘Ether’ he talked about the incident. He let people know like, ‘Yo, your man stabbed Un and you took the blame for it.’
“Unfortunately, [JAY-Z] was caught up in the power struggle. It was all about the power to get rid of Dame Dash and take JAY-Z to the next level without Dame.”
JAY-Z addressed the incident himself in his 2010 book Decoded and while he didn’t admit to stabbing Lance Rivera, he did speak about “blacking out with anger” while confronting the music executive in the club that night.
“One night I went to Q-Tip’s solo album release party and at some point in the night, I ran into the guy everyone’s been telling me is behind the bootleg. So I approached him,” Jay wrote. “When I told him what I suspected, to my surprise, he got real loud with me right there in the middle of the club. It was strange.
“We separated and I went over to the bar. I was sitting there like, ‘No the fuck this n-gga did not…’ I was talking to people, but I was really talking to myself out loud, just in a state of shock. Before I even realized what I was doing, I headed back over to him, but this time I was blacking out with anger.”
He added: “The next thing I knew, all hell had broken loose in the club. That night the guy went straight to the police and I was indicted […] There was no reason to put my life on the line, and the lives of everyone who depends on me, because of a momentary loss of control […] I vowed to never allow myself to be in a situation like that again.”