Jay Z isn’t a businessman, he’s a business, man.
Since starting out in Brooklyn’s Marcy Houses as a child, the 43-year-old rapper has always been a hustler, earning an estimated $500 million over the course of his career, despite his humble beginnings.
In a new interview with Vanity Fair, the rapper explains how his early days as a drug dealer helped shape him into the man he is today.
“I know about budgets. I was a drug dealer,” he says. “To be in a drug deal, you need to know what you can spend, what you need to re-up. Or if you want to start some sort of barbershop or car wash—those were the businesses back then. Things you can get in easily to get out of [that] life. At some point, you have to have an exit strategy, because your window is very small; you’re going to get locked up or you’re going to die.”
While Jay first made a pact with himself to get out of the drug game, he’s similarly struggled with leaving the music industry once and for all, a threat he’s made for many years now.
“I know I said I wouldn’t be doing it when I was 30,” he explains, “so that’s how I know I love it. Thirty years old was my cutoff, but I’m still here, 43 years old.”
Despite his not-so-toddler-friendly lyrics, he’s already found new motivation to stay in the game in the form of his youngest fan, daughter Blue Ivy.
“I don’t play my music around the house. But this album was new, so we played it. And she loves all the songs. She plays a song and she goes, ‘More, Daddy, more . . . Daddy song.’ She’s my biggest fan. If no one bought the Magna Carta [album], the fact that she loves it so much, it gives me the greatest joy. And that’s not like a cliché. I’m really serious. Just to see her—‘Daddy song, more, Daddy.’ She’s genuine, she’s honest, because she doesn’t know it makes me happy. She just wants to hear it.”
Source: Vanity Fair