In the upcoming October issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, hip-hop impresario Jay-Z opens up to to Oprah Winfrey about his rise from teen drug dealer to superstar to being Mr. Beyoncé.
On dealing drugs at 13:
Jay-Z: It was natural…
Oprah: Because drug dealers were your role models. There wasn’t a teacher or lawyer or nurse of doctor or and accountant in the neighborhood?
J: Well, we were living in Marcy by then, so no. And if anyone did become something like that, they moved out. They never came back to share the wisdom of how they made it. If anyone made it, you never knew it. That’s why I’ve always said that if I become successful, I’d come back here, grab somebody, and show him how it can be done.
On being shot at:
O: Weren’t you shot at three times—within six feet—and you lived to talk about it?
J: That was divine intervention. Divine intervention, and nobody knew how to shoot.
O: What happened in each situation?
J: It was one situation, three shots.
O: So he had a bad shot?
J: Well, no one really practices shooting a TEC-9 machine gun, right? And when you’re a kid with little bony arms—no wonder nobody could aim.
On the use of the N word:
O: Do you believe that using the N word is necessary?
J: Nothing is necessary. It’s just become part of the way we communicate. My generation hasn’t had the same experience with that word that generations of people before us had. We weren’t so close to the pain. So in our way, we disarmed the word. We took the fire pin out of the grenade.
On his wedding to Beyoncé:
O: Can I ask how in the world you kept your wedding a secret?
J: Late planning!
O: How many people knew?
J: Very few. The sad part is that we offended some. But people who love you understand. Because at the end of the day, it’s your day.
For additional information on the October issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, including the books on Jay-Z’s bookshelf visit: www.oprah.com/jayz