Jay Z Covers Vanity Fair
Jay Z covers the November issue of Vanity Fair, looking dapper in a white tux jacket.
The Hova, 43, pulls back the curtain on his life in the Brooklyn projects, during which he sold drugs to survive. He claims it was inescapable, since crack was on every corner and in every hallway.
He didn't hide what he was doing from his mother and she was well aware of it. But they didn't discuss it.
"We were living in a tough situation, but my mother managed; she juggled," the rapper, mogul and father of Blue Ivy recalled. "Sometimes we'd pay the light bill, sometimes we paid the phone, sometimes the gas went off. We weren't starving -- we were eating, we were okay."
However, there were cultural pressures and issues. He continued, "But it was things like you didn't want to be embarrassed when you went to school; you didn't want to have dirty sneakers or wear the same clothes over again."
His memory about crack is vivid.
"You could smell it in the hallways, that putrid smell; I can't explain it, but it's still in my mind when I think about it," he remembered about the drugs. He never used – only sold.
It wasn't until later and that he was out of the drug trade that he regretted his actions. "I started looking at the community on the whole, but in the beginning, no," he said about regret. "I was thinking about surviving. I was thinking about improving my situation. I was thinking about buying clothes."
His past indiscretions were not for naught. It actually helped him in his current pursuits as a businessman and a productive member of society. "To be in a drug deal, you need to know what you can spend, what you need to re-up," he admitted. "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."
The Hov also revealed that his biggest fan is baby Blue.
"She loves all the songs," he said about 'Magna Carta Holy Grail.' "She plays a song and she goes, ‘More, Daddy, more . . . Daddy song.’ She’s my biggest fan. If no one bought the Magna Carta, 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.”
He addressed the rumors that Beyonce didn't carry Blue in her belly, saying that he dismissed it at first. He then said, "I mean, we’ve got a really charmed life, so how can we complain? But when you think about it, we’re still human beings. "
He won't reveal his net worth, saying, "I’m not motivated by that. . . . I don’t sit around with my friends and talk about money, ever. On a record, that’s different."